John 7:3 (NASB):

Therefore His brothers said to [Jesus], “Leave here and go into Judaea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which you are doing.”

Are Jesus’s brothers simply referring to His disciples which are in Judea?

  • Why 'disciples which are in Judea', versus it being the place they wanted him to go regardless of where they were at or who they were?
    – user21676
    Jun 8 at 0:57

Apparently, up until this time. if Jesus was in Galilee, he had gone with his family to the feasts. His brothers did not understand why he wasn't going with them. But, the leaders in Jerusalem seeking to arrest him would expect him with his family. Jesus went later to escape detection.

Disciples οἱ μαθηταί essentially meant students. Rabbi meant teacher. Many of the Jews would be in Jerusalem during the feast; thus the bulk of his potential disciples were there to listen to him.

Once Jesus was at the temple, it was difficult for Jesus to be arrested because of the Roman guards that would interview if the people rioted. Those trying to arrest Jesus would seek to arrest him before he got to the temple.

Josephus, a Jewish historian of the first century, records that during feast days Roman soldiers would patrol along that walkway and through the crowds, keeping a sharp eye out for any unrest. He wrote, “a Roman legion went several ways among the cloisters, with their arms, on the Jewish festivals, in order to watch the people, that they might not there attempt to make any innovations.” -- Bailey, K. E. (2008). Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (p. 233). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.


His suggestion could have been more sarcastic than serious, loaded with irony, since they did not believe in him (v.5). In other words, they may have been suggesting that he abandoned the idealism of teaching crowds in secret and risking death.


Here is the explanation given at footnote 2sn appended by NETBible to John 7:3:

Should the advice by Jesus’ brothers, Leave here and go to Judea so your disciples may see your miracles that you are performing, be understood as a suggestion that he should attempt to win back the disciples who had deserted him earlier (6:66)? Perhaps. But it is also possible to take the words as indicating that if Jesus is going to put forward messianic claims (i.e., through miraculous signs) then he should do so in Jerusalem, not in the remote parts of Galilee. Such an understanding seems to fit better with the following verse [7:4]. It would also indicate misunderstanding on the part of Jesus’ brothers of the true nature of his mission – he did not come as the royal Messiah of Jewish apocalyptic expectation, to be enthroned as king at this time.


John 7 New International Version

1 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

καὶ (kai)
Strong's 2532: And, even, also, namely.

Are Jesus’s brothers simply referring to His disciples which are in Judea?

Yes, according to NIV's translation of the word καὶ here.

The context strongly supports this translation. Jesus' brothers were talking about Galilee and Judea. They dared Jesus to show himself to the disciplines in Judea and not just hanging disciples in Galilee.

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