"But when His brethren were gone up, then went He also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, Where is He? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but He deceiveth the people. Howbeit no man spake openly of Him for fear of the Jews."
The Lord is not subject to man's desires; man is subject to God. Even the wicked and the unbelieving are being moved to an ultimate end by God. Jesus Christ was never intimidated by the whims, passions, and threatenings of men. In accordance with the will of God, He abides for a time in Galilee before going up to Jerusalem. The time for His triumphal entry had not yet come; therefore, He goes up in secret. He did not go in secret because He feared man but because it was not yet time for Him to be fully manifested as the Messiah who comes to Jerusalem sitting upon the foal of a donkey (Zech. 9:9); nor was it time for Him to be crucified for the sins of man.
The Lord's good deeds and righteous doctrine caused much stir among the religious crowds. Some acknowledged His good character but others mocked and called Him a deceiver. It is hard to imagine how someone could not believe in the Lord Jesus after being a personal witness of His heavenly doctrine and miracles; however, the human heart is a very deceptive thing. It is desperately wicked according to Jeremiah, and it is never to be trusted.
The text says that no man spoke openly of Him because they were afraid of the Jews. It is easy to allow the world and its wickedness to intimidate us. The "fear of man bringeth a snare" but "whosoever putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe."
None of these things moved the Lord. He went up to Jerusalem when it was time to go. He did not let the unbelief of others dissuade Him in any way. It is an encouragement to see the display of Christ's steady, righteous character. In a world that is in turmoil and torment, the calm, faithful character of the Lord Jesus Christ stands out as a beacon to something far better than what man can offer.