Friday, March 9, 2012

John 7:1-13

In John 7 we get a quick peek at Jesus’ family. After the crowds walked away, Jesus continued to stay in the region of his home. Then the Feast of the Tabernacles came. This was a time when the Jews commemorated God’s faithfulness to His people during their years spent wandering in the wilderness. The people would camp out in tents. Jon Courson calls it the “Jewish equivalent to Family Camp.” :)

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles 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. (John 7:1-5)

It seems here that Jesus’ brothers were almost challenging Him here, for we’re told that they did NOT believe in Him at this point. It was not until after the crucifixion and resurrection that they were actually numbered among the disciples. Jesus’ brother, Jude, would write the book that bears his name, while James was one of the church leaders in Jerusalem and wrote the Book of James. At this point in Jesus’ ministry, however, they did not believe.

Courson speculates about what it must have been like to have Jesus for an older brother. He was the most loving brother ever! Yet, they did not believe! He reminds us that while, we may be the kindest neighbor or friend or parent, there will be many who will reject our message about Christ.

Jesus tells his brothers that they can go on up to the Feast if they want to, but it’s not yet His time. The opposition of the Jewish leaders was strong because of His healing of the lame man on the Sabbath (chapter 5). Nevertheless, He did follow His brothers. While it would have been safer to wait in Galilee, Jesus was here to obey His Father, so He followed them to Judea:

Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, “Where is that man?”

Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”

Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews. (vs. 12-13)

It’s interesting that the crowds had the same response to Jesus as we hear today. “He’s a good teacher. He does nice things - after all He gave us the Golden Rule.” Most of the world today would at least grudgingly acknowledge that. Others, even though they might not say it so bluntly, would have to conclude that He was deceiving or tricking the people. And, surely, if what He was saying about Himself was not true, if He was NOT the Son of God, if people could not attain eternal life through Him, then He would not be a good teacher, but a liar in open rebellion against God. He would be a blasphemer!

Jesus draws these kinds of strong responses. He doesn’t leave you with any other option but to either fully accept Him as LORD, or to completely reject Him. And if you reject Him, you really can’t claim Him to be a “good teacher.” “Good teachers” don’t purposely lead people astray. And if He were just delusional and honestly believed He was the Son of God, but wasn’t, then He would have been crazy, even psychotic! What’s it going to be: liar? lunatic? or LORD?


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