Why did Jesus presumably not attend the Passover in Jerusalem when he fed the 5,000?

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
It appears at least to me Jesus was in Galilee during the Passover when he fed the 5,000. Would he not have been in violation of the law in not attending the Passover in Jerusalem, as was required of all Jewish men?
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
John: 6:4
4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little." 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, 9 "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?" 10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. - John 6:4-10
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Is there any particular reason to believe that Jesus did not attend the Passover just because the Bible doesn't mention it?
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
Is there any particular reason to believe that Jesus did not attend the Passover just because the Bible doesn't mention it?
I guess that’s part of my question - which is why I stated presumably...

The fact though John’s Gospel states the Passover was at hand... would indicate to me it was during this feast when Jesus is a 3 day journey away feeding the crowd.

I partly am wondering about this because I recently heard a sermon later in John in which the pastor submitted that Jesus attended the feast of Booths out of obedience to the law... so I’m wondering why he didn’t attend the Passover then.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Freshman
It was about Passover. It was soon. John probably mentioned it because Jesus DID go, after he fed the 5000.
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
It was about Passover. It was soon. John probably mentioned it because Jesus DID go, after he fed the 5000.
How do you infer that? Reading John chapter 6 would seem to imply he did not go anytime soon after this... and chapter 7 starts by stating he would not go to Judea... until the Feast of Booths.
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
The Greek word used, εγγυς, means "near", not "present". That this was the word chosen indicates that it was not yet the passover. Compare other uses of εγγυς where it is used to denote the preparatory period before a feast.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Freshman
How do you infer that? Reading John chapter 6 would seem to imply he did not go anytime soon after this... and chapter 7 starts by stating he would not go to Judea... until the Feast of Booths.
Because Jesus observed the Feasts. Just because one writer omits mention is not proof he didn’t go. Why would John mention that it was about the time of Passover if it has not relevance to the story, unless you think the revelance is to specifically tell us that he didn’t go, which John doesn’t actually do. For what it’s worth, Calvin doesn’t think John 7 is immediately consecutive to John 6.
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
Because Jesus observed the Feasts. Just because one writer omits mention is not proof he didn’t go. Why would John mention that it was about the time of Passover if it has not relevance to the story, unless you think the revelance is to specifically tell us that he didn’t go, which John doesn’t actually do. For what it’s worth, Calvin doesn’t think John 7 is immediately consecutive to John 6.
When I read John 6-7, I do not get the sense Jesus attended this particular Passover in Jerusalem. Immediately following the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus journeys into Capernaum and later went about in Galilee. John then specifically states "He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him." Then Jesus' brothers urge him to attend the Feast of Booths - almost seeming to imply he had avoided the prior Pentecost and Passover. Why would they be urging him to attend the Feast if Jesus has been habitually attending all the feasts?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The feast of Booths is in the seventh month, and the feast of Unleavened Bread is in the first month; so, there's a six month gap between events in Jn.6 and Jn.7.

There is nothing in the text of Jn.7:1-3 that implies anything like a necessary or probable omission of Christ's attendance at the Passover mentioned in Jn.6. The answer to "why" his brothers were urging him to go to the feast is quite literally stated in vv.3-4. Jesus fame was growing outside of Jerusalem where he spent most of his time. He not being habitually in the metropolis and center of publicity was preventing him achieving "breakout" status, and especially his not performing his miracles there.

Either his brothers were mocking him, or they were thinking about hitching their wagons to his popularity. Plus, if we attend the notices at the end of ch.6, it might appear to some observers of Jesus' ministry that he had recently "peaked" in Galilee; and if he wanted to catch a second wind, Jerusalem was the place to do it.

But Jesus enemies (HQ Jerusalem) were also following his ministry, and they would also know he had alienated a chunk of his Galilean base. It would be a reasonable COA if they would make a strong effort to undermine him should he turn toward Judea now. Remember, they are thinking as if Jesus thinks like they do: that he might be looking to parlay his charismatic attraction into a political/religious power play.

So Jesus' brothers and the scribes/Pharisees think alike, namely that Jerusalem is the place where Jesus needs to be at this point, before his movement runs out of gas and he can't ride the wave as far as it could take him. Jesus knows, however, that 1) he doesn't want to relocate his base to Jerusalem, because his is not that kind of movement; and 2) he is aware of the the plots of his enemies. Thus, he doesn't go openly to Jerusalem in the seventh month (as his brother's suggested), though he does go in secret.

There is no real reason to suppose he did not attend the Passover (1st month earlier), whether openly or in secret (as later on). There's plenty of reason to suppose he did attend, since we are led to believe he showed himself reasonably deferential to the national customs--unless they were traditions that nullified the law or took its place. Jesus was not one to needlessly offend potential converts.

One other possibility presents itself, namely the Mosaic provision (Num.9) for keeping Passover in the 2nd month, rather than the first. It seems there was some "leeway" granted the legal demand that all Jewish males attend three annual feasts, if providentially hindered. None were supposed to miss those, but the only feast with a "makeup" was Passover. Well, perhaps Jesus (if somehow he thought it was his Father's will not to go in the 1st month) went to the alternate.

Adding speculation to speculation seems pointless. There's much probability Jesus attended the Passover mentioned in Jn.6, and did so "on time." But there's one more item to note in all this. Jesus does not work for Moses; Moses works for Jesus, Heb.3:5. Jesus was not technically obliged to the feasts, because he was the fulfillment of those feasts. They pointed to him, and he did not need them to learn about himself. He was GREATER than the feasts, just as he was GREATER than the Sabbath, and Lord of it. If Jesus did not attend the Passover (as I suppose he did), he was the one Person who did not need that avenue to improve his communion with his Father.

Jesus kept the ceremonies of the Old Covenant because it was eminently prudent for him to do so. There was nothing to be gained by overthrowing custom of the Jews (legitimately from Moses) simply for the sake of putting the old ways down. Jesus was impeccably righteous in morality, and he was careful and wise in the way of religious propriety, keeping what he should as well as undermining the false pieties of the Pharisees. And he was obedient to the present authorities administering the judicials of the Mosaic code.
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
Jesus was not technically obliged to the feasts, because he was the fulfillment of those feasts. They pointed to him, and he did not need them to learn about himself. He was GREATER than the feasts, just as he was GREATER than the Sabbath, and Lord of it. If Jesus did not attend the Passover (as I suppose he did), he was the one Person who did not need that avenue to improve his communion with his Father.
This is sort of the crux I'm getting at. I suppose I am in an extreme minority in thinking the text appears to indicate Jesus did not attend this particular Passover feast. Be that as it may, I have been considering this may have been a way in which Jesus was conveying he was the Passover. The flow (to me) of John 6 and early chapter 7 seems to drive this point.
  1. prior in chapter 5, Jesus asserts his Lordship over the Sabbath, declaring he is working as his father continues to
  2. the Passover was at hand
  3. Jesus feeds the 5,000 in Galilee
  4. Jesus emphasizes he is the true bread of life and his true disciples must eat his flesh and drink his blood
  5. Jesus refuses to travel into Judea (until 6 months later as recorded in John's Gospel)
 
Top