Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 7:1-5 (Holman) Jesus traveled in Galilee, since He did not want to travel in Judea because the Jews were trying to kill Him. The Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, so His brothers said to Him, ALeave here and go to Judea so Your disciples can see Your works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he=s seeking public recognition. If you do these things, show Yourself to the world.@ (For not even His brothers believed in Him.)
Jesus= brothers urged Him to go to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles to have His credentials examined by the religious leaders. The brothers were saying if Jesus is Messiah it is time to be crowned, otherwise let=s burst the bubble.
They felt Jesus= works in Galilee were hidden from those who could best judge the worth of His miracles. Any claimant to the title of Messiah would need his credentials approved by the religious leaders in Jerusalem.
Anything done in Galilee, far from the capital, would be Asecret@ as far as the religious leaders were concerned. The brothers believed Jesus= success depended on His receiving applause and praise from people of influence.
Jesus knew better. God=s work is maintained independently of this world=s power.
Offended by evangelist Sam Jones, the press claimed, AWe made you what you are.@ Jones replied, AThen go make another one.@ They couldn=t.
T. DeWitt Talmage was told by his seminary preaching professor he would never find a church to serve as Pastor unless he conformed his preaching style to the expectations of his day. At the beginning of the twentieth century Talmage, who refused to change, was pastor of the USA=s largest church.
Jesus our Lord knew it is not in human hands to make a Christian effective. The power is in God alone.
It was presumption for these brothers to prescribe to Christ. Not believing in Him, they deemed Him unable to guide Himself, much less anyone else. Their motivation was scorn. They were offering Him a dare.
In the face of this challenge, Jesus remained calm, and separated Himself from His brothers. He would go to the feast, but not to accomplish what they set before Him. He went, not seeking anyone=s approval, but as a prophet.
Others did not control Jesus= actions. The Jews were seeking to kill Him, but could do no more. They could only try.
Jesus= death was at His own discretion. He would determine the time, mode, and place of death.
Jesus was, and is, Master and Lord of every situation. He would go to Jerusalem only when the time was right and, once He arrived there, He would do right. All had to be done in God=s time God=s way.
Jesus blessed His family. He showed composure not only in handling over-riding national issues, but also in dealing with His presumptuous brothers. He answered their affront with meekness. No heat of passion marked His voice.
When people are ugly to us, it is often best to act as if we didn=t notice it. Wink at the affront. Jesus stayed calm. We His people should too.
John 7:6-8 Jesus told them, AMy time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. The world cannot hate you, but it does hate Me because I testify about it B that its deeds are evil. Go up to the festival yourselves. I=m not going up to the festival yet, because My time has not yet fully come.@
Jesus told his brothers to go on ahead to the feast. Dutifully attending festivals, the brothers were seeking no higher call in their own purpose for living.
They did not recognize Jesus as Lord, but He sent them to the feast anyway. Even those who go to church with neither right affections nor sincere motives should not be hindered or discouraged from going.
We never know what God might do in a person=s heart while in the assembly. My parents made me go to church. I=m glad I was present when Grady Etheridge preached, and I surrendered to do the Lord=s work.
The brothers were part of the world, mankind organizing itself without reference to God=s purposes, but Jesus had not come to please the world. The brothers could move in the world freely at any time without risk. They sympathized with the world, but Jesus was antagonistic toward the world.
The world still treats Jesus as it did when He walked on earth. AThe world gave Him a cradle, but it was a manger, a throne, but it was a cross; a crown, but it was thorns; a scepter, but it was a reed; homage, but it was mockery and scorn; companions, but they were crucified criminals; a kingdom, but it was a grave@ (Van Doren, Biblical Illustrator).
The perpetual difficulty of the world is how to get rid of Christ. He makes society uncomfortable. The world wants to alienate Jesus because He continually testifies its deeds are evil.
The spirit of the world is materialism, the physical is everything; humanism, people can solve their own problems; practical atheism, God is ignored; selfishness, self is supreme.
Sinners love this non-God kind of thinking, but Jesus explodes the myth. He does not say AYou are almost right,@ but rather AYou are altogether wrong.@
Evil doers hate to have their sins rebuked. It makes them uneasy. They try to fight off their shame by lashing out at the rebuker. Instead of considering possible consequences of their deed, they consider ways to squelch the disturber, even if it is Jesus Himself.
Jesus= mission, by its very nature, had to be unpopular. He judged the world. The world is not rebuked by studious doctrines as much as by Christ=s high standard for believers. People can tolerate opinions if spared their sins.
If we teach abstract doctrines, few are offended. But when we denounce fashionable sins of the day, and call on sinners to repent, they chafe.
Confronted with the demands of Christ, sinners have only two alternatives, do what they like or what Christ likes. If they choose their likes, Christ must be ignored and disobeyed.
Believers are commanded to choose Christ=s way, but too often let themselves be swayed by unbelievers. AWhat will the world say?@ is a sad standard of value for any church or believer. It is sinful for God=s people to be led by the world=s opinion, for it is opposed to God.
It is wrong when on the job a Christian loafs as much as possible because others do it, when in business a believer succumbs to evil because everyone else is doing it, when in school a Christian student cheats because the practice is accepted.
Standing firm is difficult. We find it tempting to accept popular, albeit questionable, practices and creeds. We must ever embrace the truth. We will always be better off to incur the world=s hatred by speaking against its wickedness than to gain its goodwill by sinking with it.