Here is the Wednesday night sermon for April 9th, 2008. I’m going through the book of John, verse by verse on Wednesday nights.
JOHN PART 27
Disbelief among family members
Last time we finished looking at John 6. We looked at verses 59-71. We saw how that the Jews that Jesus fed in the wilderness had rejected His message.
We are going to look at how Jesus dealt with the disbelief of His family members and see what we can learn from this as well.
Everyone who has been close to me throughout the years have not become followers of Christ. Although I’ve tried to live the life in front of them and share my testimony, never preachy mind you, just sharing my story, I haven’t seen very many come to faith. I can only think of a couple throughout my life. Now I am fortunate when it comes to my parents and sibling, all of us are believers and are active in church and ministry. God has been so gracious to me in that area. But not all of my cousins serve the Lord, friends I went to high school with, and other people I’ve been familiar with over the years. Now should I let that get me down? Does that prove that I’m not a very effective witness?
Let’s bring it down home to you tonight. Does all your family faithfully serve the Lord? How about business associates, friends, and others you may know? How does this make you feel? Like a failure, like you are not doing enough? Sometimes the ones we love the most, often hurt us the most, especially when it comes to us sharing our faith and their rejection of it. We want so bad to see them come to Christ, that it can sometimes just hurt our hearts.
Well, tonight we are going to look at a time that even members of Jesus family didn’t believe in Him, though later some of them did believe in Him. Let’s look at this passage and see what God would say to us.
1. Jesus begins to be careful with His ministry.
John 7:1 ESV – After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.
A. After revealing Himself as the true bread of life that has come down from heaven and that people must partake of His flesh, (abide in Him and receive His death on the cross as the sacrifice for their sins), the crowd abandons Him.
B. Here in our text it says that Jesus went around Galilee to minister, but He was avoiding ministering in Judea because the Jewish leaders were seeking to kill Him.
Was Jesus doing this because He was afraid, I don’t think so. I believe He was doing this because it was a part of God’s plan. It wasn’t God’s timing for Jesus to die at this time. If it would have been, then Jesus would have willingly gone into Judea and laid down His life. How do we know this? Because when the time came and the soldiers came to arrest Jesus about a year later, He didn’t fight but faced His death head on. You see, what Jesus was doing here was protecting His ministry.
C. I think a great lesson can be learned here.
It is easy to say, well, I’m just going out and I’m not going to worry about the response of people, whether I receive persecution or not, I’m going to tell it like it is, whatever may come my way. And if it is God’s will for you do go this route, do it. But it is not always God’s will or even His timing for this to be the case all the time. Sometimes He will tell you to take a step back and be careful, but protect your ministry, to trust Him and go wherever He leads you, whether protection, or through the fire.
2. The unbelief of family members.
John 7:2-5 ESV – Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. (3) So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. (4) For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” (5) For not even his brothers believed in him.
A. This event took place during the Festival of Tabernacles, or Feast of Booths.
This was the longest festival of the Jewish year (it lasted 7 days). This festival followed the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement. People lived in tents or booths for seven days as a celebration of God’s gracious provision for the Israelites in the wilderness. And at the end of this festival is the ceremonial water-drawing (that showed God supplying water from the rock in the wilderness) and Jesus will use this symbol to reveal another aspect about Himself later.
B. It was during this major festival, where many Jews would be present that Jesus’ half-brothers talk to Him about revealing Himself by doing some sort of sign.
They did this, not because they loved Him and believed in Him, because v. 5 says they didn’t believe in Him. In fact, the Greek suggests that Christ’s brothers request was done in a scoffing or mocking fashion. We know from our text that it wasn’t said out of belief, but disbelief (v.5). I personally believe that they wanted to either expose Jesus as a fraud, or have the Jewish leaders arrest Him, or even maybe to force His hand and be declared as some political Messiah, which was Judas’s reasoning as well.
C. I can’t help but think of the story of Joseph, which we find in the book of Genesis.
He was the son that Israel loved greatly, and the brothers being jealous, sold him to slavery. But in the end, salvation from starvation came through Joseph.
In the same way, salvation for Jesus half-brothers is not through keeping the Law and obeying the Pharisees, but through Jesus Christ Himself. And two of Jesus’ brothers – James and Jude – become leaders of the church and write two books in the New Testament.
D. What can we learn from this?
Sometimes our harshest critics and those who often persecute us the most of our following of Christ are those who are so dear to us. And because of their depravity, they will sometimes want to make us fall. I remember a time in High School when I didn’t serve the Lord, there was a girl in our church that I was real good friends with. She came to faith in Christ Jesus. And I told several of our friends, “Watch me as I try to make her fall from her faith.” And sadly, I was able to cause her to stumble. That is a very scary thing to admit, but I’m so glad that God is gracious to me, He truly looked beyond my faults (my depravity) and saw my need.
3. Jesus responds to His brothers.
John 7:6-10 ESV – Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. (7) The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. (8) You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” (9) After saying this, he remained in Galilee. (10) But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.
A. Jesus knew that His time for His death was not yet at this time (v. 6).
He still had work the Father wanted Him to do. Jesus was not going to be moved by His brother’s schedule, nor their trying to persuade Him. Jesus moved by God’s schedule and timing.
Don’t let family and friends rush you concerning the callings, gifts, and ministries of God. Follow God’s schedule and timing, not theirs or your own.
B. If He were to go up to the festival and perform some sort of sign, those present who saw would not accept.
How did Jesus know this? Because so far, they haven’t accepted Him after all the signs He has performed. By performing signs at the feast, it would only serve to get Him arrested and perhaps killed, and it wasn’t God’s timing. He did go to the festival, in secret, not performing any signs, not exposing Himself to go outside of God’s plan. Jesus used good old-fashioned wisdom here.
He also new the main reason that they wouldn’t accept Him, whether performing some sign or not, is because the world hates Him. Why does the world hate Him…because He testifies the truth about the world – their works are evil (v. 7).
C. We need to be wise like Jesus when it comes to sharing our faith and ministry.
We don’t want to expose ourselves to ridicule until it is God’s timing and part of His plan. That is why the number one ingredient in sharing our faith or preaching the gospel, is not the story or even the message itself, but it is prayer, seeking the will and timing and wisdom of the Father. ,The message, prayer, and God’s timing and will, will need to work in perfect harmony together.
How can we apply what we learned from this sermon tonight?
• We must live a life a prayer, seeking God’s will, timing, and schedule concerning everything, especially how and where to share our faith.
• Sometimes we will be ridiculed for our faith, but it must be in God’s timing and schedule, not ours.
• Ask the Lord for everyday wisdom when sharing your faith.
Next time we will start looking at events that take place during this feast of tabernacles.