Saturday, November 26, 2011

CEB and Jesus' secret trip

I don't know if you've ever noticed John 7:3-10.  In 7:8, Jesus tells his brothers that he's not going up to the Feast of Tabernacles.  Then in 7:10, he goes up secretly.  The 1984 NIV actually added the word "yet" to 7:8 to avoid the issue: "I am not yet going up to the feast."  The new NIV, as well as the ESV and other translations, swallow hard and leave "yet" out because it is unlikely.

So here's the CEB: 7:3 "Jesus’ brothers said to him, 'Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.' For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

"Therefore Jesus told them, 'My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.' After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.

"However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret."

There are enough issues that surround this verse to make your head spin.  There's the question of John presenting Jesus.  Is this exactly how it happened?  There's the question of what even John is saying.  Then there's the question of what God expects in terms of truth-telling. Are we too "Victorian" to see what the expectations were in the first century?

Jesus at least seems to shade the truth a little in John's presentation.  True, he does not go to Jerusalem to do what his brothers are making fun of.  He goes up with a different purpose.  At the very least, it isn't George Washington and the cherry tree, a lovely tale invented, you guessed it, in the 1800's... when Victoria was queen of England ;-)  

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