2 Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. 3 His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. 4 For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him.
Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles [booths] was at hand.
The Feast of Tabernacles was one of three pilgrimage festivals. Jews traveled to Jerusalem for this festival. It was a time of thanksgiving for the harvest. For seven days the Jews gathered in booths made of tree branches. This reminded them of the time Israel spent in the desert as nomads. This was a time of God’s provision and His dwelling among the people.
The feast lasted for seven days during the month of Tishri, from approximately the 15th of September to October 21st, with a special assembly on the eighth day (Le 23:33-36). This event marked the end of the annual cycle of religious festivals beginning with Passover and with the Feast of Unleavened Bread six months earlier.
The Feast of Tabernacles will be celebrated in the Millennium in honor of the Messiah’s presence among them (Zech 14:16-19). This feast was often associated with the prophetic hope of Israel.
His brothers therefore said to Him,
The “brothers” here are the biological half-brothers of Jesus: James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude (Mr 6:3). They were not disciples of Jesus but were unbelievers at this time.
“Depart from here and go into Judea,
The brothers deemed the proper time for Jesus to present Himself as the Messiah would be the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem and Judea. Jesus had not been in Jerusalem for about a year.
that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing.
Jesus’ brothers wanted Jesus to show off His miracle-working powers. They suggested that He make a spectacular display to as many as possible. The brothers’ desire was for Jesus to capitalize on a political opportunity.
The “for” explains why Jesus’ brothers viewed His ministry as they did.
no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly.
The brothers thought that, if Jesus was the Messiah, the best time for Him to show His glory would be at a major feast. Their idea was that a festive time would be the best time to get His message across.
If [assumed true] You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”
The brothers of Jesus wanted Him to establish His kingdom and bypass the cross. Their point was, “If you believe you are the Messiah, put it on display.” Jesus’ brothers by their doubt charged Him with inconsistency.
For even His brothers did not believe in Him.
The brothers of Jesus did not believe on Christ until after the resurrection (Ac 1:14). This phrase helps us to understand their mocking remark to Jesus.
Proximity to Jesus does not guarantee genuine belief in Him.
The demand for a public display or a miracle is evidence of lack of faith. This is a fence-sitting approach to Christianity. The purpose of Christianity is not to seek public approbation. The ministry of Christ by its very nature was unpopular. Prestige with the world is a big mistake that many ministries make today.