Summary: What can be done to reach those who, through their past, personal experiences, are hardened to the Good News of the Gospel
Saving the Skeptic
John 7:1 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
2 Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand.
3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judæa, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.
The brothers of Jesus.
The Scripture openly states that they were not believers.
Was it casual indifference or was it a true resentment of all that Jesus did and spoke?
To what extent did their unbelief go?
Who were these brothers?
Some teach that Jesus had no brothers.
Some teach that Mary was Joseph’s second wife.
Some teach that Jospeh had children of another woman, thus the “brothers”.
Matthew 13:53 ¶And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.
54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
One can well imagine the perils of being the brother of Jesus Christ.
One can even more imagine the tensions of being linked to this preacher / prophet as he challenged his world.
There is enough without this specter of “divinity” hanging overhead.
Several weeks ago I referenced Mark 3:21
21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
There’s a nut in every family...
These were real frictions.
These were real family issues.
These were real emotions running on high octane.
“What’s Jesus doing now?”
“Where’s Jesus preaching now?”
“Who has Jesus called out now?”
“Who wants to kill Jesus now?”
One can easily see that this was a two way road.
One can even note that Jesus did not help matters out... Jesus may have even added fuel to the fire.
Mark 3:31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
This was a life long struggle within this household.
What could be a more powerful slap in the face to these men, and even to Mary, than for Jesus to state to the crowd, “Here’s who my family REALLY is...”
The brothers became hard & indifferent to Jesus.
Perhaps there was an honest effort to protect the family name.
Perhaps there was an effort to protect Jesus “from Himself”.
Yet deep down, there was most likely some jealousy, some pride and a whole lot of skepticism.
It is worth repeating that the Scriptures make this adamant declaration: His brothers did not believe in him.
In fact it was far more serious than this:
I am convinced that they wanted to see him “eliminated”...
John 7:1 After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.
2 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.
A skeptic is one who is not thoroughly convinced.
Perhaps we can talk about a healthy skepticism...
I don’t believe every email or story I read online. (Not even from preachers)...
Yesterday was the story of the troll caught in the closet.
Sometimes we are so close to certain people / things that we fail to appreciate who and what they really are.
(Peter in the garden. He struck off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest. If he really wanted to be a hero, why not kill Judas, the Betrayer. Malchus was the victim, in all likelihood, because Malchus happened to be the person closest to Peter)
We see people on a daily basis.
We see the good and the bad...