Summary: It is impossible to be completely neutral about Jesus Christ. Multitudes of people try to be neutral toward him.They would claim that he was a good man, that he did many wonderful things, but that was long ago and far away...
“Confusion and Conflict Regarding Christ”
CLBC February 22, 2004 a.m.
Theme Division over Christ
Passage: John 7: 1 - 52 (Read 7: 25 - 31)
It is impossible to be completely neutral bout Jesus Christ. Multitudes of people try to be neutral toward him. Many really believe that they are neutral toward him. They would claim that he was a good man, that he did many wonderful things, but that was long ago and far away, and it has nothing whatever to do with how I live my life. It certainly doesn’t require me to go to church. “I don’t have to go to church to believe in Jesus.”
But it was the same when Jesus was here on his earth in person. There was confusion and conflict about Jesus. Every time Jesus came to town, he got into trouble. The first time, he cleaned out the temple, and drove the animals and birds, and moneychangers out of what he called, “My Father’s house.” On his next visit to Jerusalem we saw him heal a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. That should have sent joy bells ringing throughout the city but nstead it stirred up murder in the hearts of the religious leaders. At that time, “the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath”..John 5:16.. And “therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was his father, making himself equal with God.”John 5:18
And now, lookout, because he’s coming to town again, and who knows what will happen this time?
It wasn’t that he came to Jerusalem often- for at least six months he had been ministering in Galilee, 80 miles to the north, but in that length of time, their hatred of Jesus had not died down one bit. As we come to John chapter 7, the animosity is still there, affecting everyone in the city. In fact in another 6 months, it will finally result in his crucifixion.
The occasion was the Feast of Tabernacles. This was one of the 3 main Jewish festivals each year, and this was a time of celebration - an 8 day “camp out” in which everyone made and lived in “booths” or shelters of boughs and branches as they looked back to the wilderness wanderings of Israel in the desert. It was held 5 days after the Day of Atonement, when the High Priest took the blood of sacrifice into the Holy of Holies to atone for the sins of the nation for the
year. It was also a harvest festival, held in October to celebrate the gathering in of the crops. So, it was a time of joy and rejoicing. Now let’s see the
1. Confusion about Jesus
a. The reaction of his own brothers - tolerant amusement.
As everyone was getting ready to go to Jerusalem, Jesus’ brothers urged him to go to
Jerusalem too. “Go and show yourself to the people.” It was really political advice. “You want to be somebody? Well, get known!”
Now the real reason show up in verse 5, “For even his brothers did not believe in him.”
There is still debate as to who these brothers were. Some teach that Mary was a virgin all of her life, and therefore these had to be near relatives, or perhaps Joseph’s sons by a former marriage, but there is no need for such confusion. The Bible clearly says that Joseph did not know Mary, that is, did not have sexual relations with her until she brought forth her firstborn son. It is clear that after Jesus was born, other children were born to Joseph and Mary and these half brothers who grew up in the same home with him had never yet come to understand who he was or to believe in him as their Saviour and Lord. But that changed after the crucifixion and resurrection and in Acts 1: 14, we read that the followers of Jesus stayed in the upper room with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.
This simply reminds us that there are lots of people who have grown up in Christian homes, who went to sound Bible believing churches from their earliest days, who attended kids’ clubs, and young teens, and youth group, who went to camp each year - people who have had every spiritual advantage, and yet never really came to trust Christ and they are just as lost as the worst sinner in the land. They are in the community. They can still quote Bible verses. They can
sound very wise about Christianity, and yet their attitude is one of tolerant amusement. A Pastor friend