Summary: The message looks at the identity of Jesus as found in John 7. The brothers, the people, the Pharisees and Jesus give us the answer to the question, "Who is Jesus?"
Who is Jesus?
In a 1983 Gallup poll Americans were asked "who do you think Jesus is." 70% of those interviewed said Jesus was not just another man. 42% stated Jesus was God among men. 27% felt Jesus was only human but divinely called. 9% states Jesus was divine because he embodied the best of humanity. Also, 81% of Americans consider themselves to be Christians.
A few years ago a certain pastor was sick on a Sunday morning. That hadn’t happened for a number of years. He tried to hold my head up long enough to watch a little religious television that morning. A local congregation had a program and their special speaker that day was Oliver North. What he caught of the program was interesting to say the least. After the service concluded the local news media interviewed the local preacher. They asked him, “How could you have such a controversial figure speak in your church?” “Listen,” the preacher said, “if controversy were the basis for choosing speakers for our church then Jesus Christ couldn’t speak here.”
The question of who Jesus is was being debated 2000 years ago before he had been arrested, crucified, die on the cross to be resurrected the third day. He continues to be at the center of controversy today.
In a sentence, the focus of this message is, "Who is Jesus?"
"After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near...." v. 1-2
It was the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. It was one of three times all Jewish men were required to attend to Jerusalem. It commemorated the time their forefathers dwelt in tents in the wilderness. On the eighth day of the feast, the great day as it was called, the Jews carried palms and branches around and offered many sacrifices. It was a time of great joy and celebration. This is the time Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem.
"Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." For even his own brothers did not believe in him." v. 3-5
The Brothers v.5
The first to comment on his identity were his brothers. They didn’t believe in Him. They told Him to go the Jerusalem and get a name for himself.
Perhaps they thought that the glory He would receive would then be reflected to them or may be as some have suggested they were merely being sarcastic.
No one can imagine living in the same house as Jesus nor can we imagine the family dynamics. For whatever reason, they did not believe Him to be the Messiah.
The city told us they were going to bury the lines in the front of the first church I pastored. But, they said they would redo anything they damaged in front. They tore up most of the landscaping in front.
Finally came the time to replace what had been destroyed. Trucks filled with granite rock came delivering. The man driving the truck eventually told me what happened each time he delivered another load.
He told me each time he came a little voice said, "Isn’t this a nice church". Load after load he received the same message. About 5-6 weeks after the job was complete he came and told me who he was. That same Sunday he received Christ as Lord.
He went home to tell his wife what had happened and she would not believe him. He had mistreated them for years but he seemed to be different. She knew who he was! How could he be different?
After several weeks of watching his wife came and again, on the first Sunday there she accepted Christ as Lord. It happened to each child until all were involved in the Christ like life.
Many times your family is the last to believe a change in you or know who you really are. They are also the last to see you as you have been.
"Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, “Where is that man?” Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews." v. 11-13
The people were looking for Him. They had heard of the miracles He had done as well as the teaching and preaching. It seems the identity of Jesus was divided among the people. Some of them said, "He is a good man". Others in the crowd said, "He is a deceiver", a liar.