Summary: Chapter 7 is a brief pause in the revelation of who Jesus is. This chapter shows the reactions of various groups to the claims of Jesus.
So far, in the first 6 chapters of the Gospel of John, the author has concentrated on the revealing of Jesus—revealing Him as God, the Son of God, the One who came down out of heaven, and the Bread of Life. Chapter 7 is a brief pause in the revelation of who Jesus is. This chapter shows the reactions of various groups to the claims of Jesus.
The first reaction, that we see tonight, comes from Jesus’ half-brothers. Tonight’s passage teaches US how to deal with mockery, ridicule, sarcasm, and unbelief. We get three facts from Jesus tonight how to deal with someone who makes fun of us being a Christian. Let’s get into the passage.
READ vv. 1-2. Jesus was forced to leave Judea and retreat to Galilee. Why? Because the religionists throughout Judea and Jerusalem wanted to kill Him. The word “waiting” in v. 1 is a continuous action verb in the Greek writings which means they kept on seeking to kill Him.
Just how long Jesus was away from Judea is not known for sure. Ideas range from 6 months to 1 ½ years. On Jesus’ last journey to Jerusalem, (Jn. 6:4) we found Jesus attending the Passover. In Chapter 7 He is seen attending the Feast of Tabernacles. Now there are two lessons we can learn so far.
1. Jesus withdrew from the conflict and danger and threat on His life so that He might continue to minister. He didn’t withdraw from the ministry. I have seen, even in this church, someone will try a new ministry and they get so much rebuttal about it that they say, “That’s it, I will never do that again.” Some churches do that to the pastors. They try to do what God calls them to do, but if it’s different than the frozen chosen are used to, then they give the pastor such a hard time that he has to walk on eggshells to please them. Thus, God’s work doesn’t get done. One pastor in a church not too far from here got so much flack from the deacons that he literally quit the ministry. He went back to teaching in a college. I say, “Whoa unto those who hindered the work of God.”
But Jesus didn’t withdraw from the ministry. He just left Judea for His life. He continued what God wanted Him to do in Galilee. And that brings us to our second lesson.
2. Galilee was not as prominent as Judea. It was an obscure place, considered to be insignificant and unimportant. God chose for His Son to minister there. The lesson for us is that we should never feel embarrassed or less important to be placed in an obscure ministry by the Lord. Minister wherever God places you and do whatever God calls you to do. If a group causes conflict about it, then move to a place where you are accepted, but never quit. Let God deal with those who hindered the work. Jesus didn’t stop. To Him to live was to minister.
READ vv. 3-5. Jesus had 4 half-brothers; James, Joses, Simon, and Judas. He also had some half-sisters who were not named. (Matt. 13:55-56) Their attitude toward Jesus was one of extreme concern and embarrassment. His claim to be the Son of God embarrassed them and led them to think He was beside Himself, or insane.
Back in Mark 3, the rumor of madness caused so much pressure from neighbors and friends that they actually traveled a great distance to find Him and bring Him home.
Of course, Jesus didn’t heed to His family urging Him to stop making these claims. He had to proclaim the truth. He was the Son of God, the very Bread of Life, the only One who could fill and satisfy men, giving them abundant and eternal life.
This had to be a heavy load of embarrassment on the family. So the brothers compensated for their embarrassment by mocking Jesus. Their mockery was that they challenged Him to go up to Jerusalem to the Feast and do His marvelous miracles there. They suggested that He was failing to help and to strengthen the disciples He left there when He withdrew and that if He really wanted to be acclaimed the Messiah, He had to prove Himself in the center of the nation, Jerusalem itself.
The brothers knew the rumors about the leaders seeking to kill Jesus. It wasn’t like they really wanted Jesus to go and jeopardize His life, nor did they think He would. The whole scene was one of mockery and unbelief. They were tolerating Him through sarcasm by teasing Him. They treated Jesus with disrespect and unfortunately this teasing was open for all to see. Note three things.
1. Jesus had to be hurt and cut to the core by His family’s mockery. He had to be deeply hurt by their rejection.