John 7:1-5, After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For not even His brothers were believing in Him.

At this time in Jesus’ ministry, He was quite popular with the Jewish masses and quite unpopular with the Jewish leadership. His miracles and his teachings declared to the masses, “You are important to God. God cares about you!” That was a message the poor masses had not heard for a long time. There is a lot of difference in the messages, “The reason you suffer is because God opposes you!” and, “God cares about you!”

However, the same miracles and teachings threatened the Jewish leadership. The controlling influence in that leadership became much more political than spiritual. The controlling force seemed much more concerned about maintaining their position instead of pursuing God’s will. When Jesus did something, they were more likely to think about the cost to them rather than the potential of actualizing God’s will.

The situation was so tense and stressful that Jesus had to confine his activities to the region of Galilee. He could no longer be in the area of Jerusalem because in that area there was a known plan to kill him. Having people who want you dead is stressful!

Sibling rivalry can be quite cruel! Few things are as distressful as having people who should know and love you but despise you! Jesus’ brothers seemed to resent Jesus’ popularity. Knowing the desire of some to kill him, they urged him to go to Jerusalem—the most dangerous of all situations for him! They urged him to ‘go public’ for the sake of his disciples! At this time his brothers resented him rather than believed in him. Their recommendation risked his life!

Jesus refused to go with them to a Jewish national feast because it was not time for him to die. He knew the threat involved in his going to Jerusalem and openly defying the Jewish authorities. He knew this was not the way to accomplish God’s purposes.

Do we exist to accomplish God’s purposes or to achieve our own agendas? Do the ways we behave and the attitudes we reflect bring honor to Jesus or cause people to resent Jesus? Do we resent Jesus when he is not in agreement with us, or do we trust him to guide us to God? The actions of faith are quite distinct from the actions of grudging compliance!

Help Jesus be a force for life instead of a force for death!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 20 April 2006

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