Summary: Opposition to Jesus. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: John chapter 7 verse 1-24.
• A secondary school faced a unique problem.
• A number of female pupils were going into the toilets and putting on lipstick.
• But wearing lipstick was not the biggest problem;
• After all if the Teacher noticed they would simply say, “Wipe it off!”
• The big problem was when the girls applied the lipstick;
• They would then press their lips to the mirrors leaving behind dozens of little lip prints.
• I guess they thought it was kind of cute,
• But as you can imagine it was a nightmare for the caretaker to clean.
• Finally the Head teacher decided something had to be done.
• She called the girls one class at a time to the toilet,
• She explained that the lip prints caused a major problem for the caretaker,
• Who had to clean the mirrors every day.
• To demonstrate how difficult it was to remove the lipstick,
• She asked the caretaker to clean one of the mirrors.
• As the girls watched, the caretaker took out a long-handled brush,
• He then dipped it into the toilet bowl, and then scrubbed the mirror.
• That little demonstration had amazing results.
• Since then there have been no lip prints on any of the mirrors in that school.
• What that Head-teacher was doing for those girls;
• Was a little bit like what Jesus is trying to do for us in this passage.
• He wants us to think beyond the immediate situation;
• He was aware of a much bigger picture and he wants the disciples to grasp that as well.
Six key words divide up the chapter:
(1). DISTANCE (verse 1).
“After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life.”
• After this (the events in chapter 6);
• The events of chapter 7 take place six months later.
• Jesus has deliberately chosen to concentrate his ministry in Galilee (which is in the north).
• He has chosen to avoid Judea (South),
• Because from the moment Jesus healed a crippled man on the Sabbath;
• The religious leaders have been openly persecuting him.
• Missionary & contaminated water.
• Broke in and destroyed his microscope.
• And that persecution was growing in intensity;
• We are told over and over again that the Jewish leaders desired to kill Jesus.
• These influential and powerful leaders were predominantly based in Jerusalem.
• The capitol city based in Judea (south).
• So Jesus wisely stays away from those who are openly opposing him.
• And the easiest way to do that is to live in Galilee (the north).
• The first nine verses of our chapter (vs 1-9) take place in Galilee,
• The quiet, safe, familiar home base of Jesus.
(2). DOUBT (verses 2-5).
“But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, 3Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. 4No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." 5For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”
• Mary the mother of Jesus did not remain a perpetual virgin;
• After Jesus was born we are told that she had other children.
• These children were fathered by Joseph - the step-father of Jesus.
• This meant that Jesus had a number of half-brothers.
• The other gospels fill us in as to who they were (Matt. 13:55-56; Mark 6:1-6);
• Ill: James, Joseph, Simon and Judas and we are told he also had sisters.
What seems incredible to me is that His own family (brothers & sisters) regarded him with scepticism and suspicion:
• Those who had lived with Him all those years;
• Never realised the uniqueness of His person.
• Certainly they knew about His miracles, everybody else did.
• Yet they were still unbelievers.
• It would take the resurrection to convert them.
• Acts chapter 1 verse 14.
• Ironically, the family of Jesus are going up to a religious feast,
• Yet in doing so they are by their disbelief rejecting their own Messiah!
• How easy it is to follow tradition and yet miss essential truth.
• The half-brothers of Jesus do two things;
• First: they challenge Him to go south to Jerusalem for the feast.
• All Jewish men who lived within a twenty-mile radius of Jerusalem;
• Were obligated to participate in this festive event,
• Many more devout Jews from outside the area also attended.
• It was one of the big three Jewish feast to attend