John 7:1-13

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 21, 2010

7:1-9 Unbelievable Brothers


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

:1 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him.

:1 After these things – Jesus had been in the northern area of Galilee and would continue to be in Galilee. We just studied how Jesus fed five thousand people and walked on the water.

Those events (John 6) took place during the time of the Passover, around March or April. This chapter will take place about 6 months later.

:1 Jesus walked – Jesus had drawn huge crowds. But when He began to say some difficult things, the crowds began to dwindle. Some might have thought about quitting, but Jesus didn’t quit. He continued His ministry. He continued to “walk” in Galilee.

:1 in Judea – The last time Jesus had been in the southern area of Judea, He had healed the man at the pool of Bethesda who had been paralyzed for 38 years. He had done this miracle on the Sabbath. When Jesus was questioned about doing such a horrible thing as healing a man on the Sabbath day, Jesus had essentially made Himself equal with God, who does not stop working on the Sabbath day.

(Jn 5:18 NKJV) 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.

Jesus will not be afraid of dying when the time is right. But for now, He is being careful. His time to die is not for another six months.

:2 Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.

:2 Tabernaclesskenopegia – “pitching a tent”

This was one of the three main “feasts” at which God commanded all Israelite men to appear before the Lord. In other words, they were supposed to take a holiday, travel to Jerusalem, and worship the Lord.

The other two feasts were Passover and Pentecost (Deut. 16:16).
(Dt 16:16 NKJV) —16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.

The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated around October/November, and would last an entire week. It coincided with the end of the harvest season when the heavy work was done for the year. The people build “booths” (Sukkot) out of leafy branches, set them up in their backyard or on their roof, and camp out with the family. It was a time of “rejoicing” and celebration.

It was meant to remember those forty years in the wilderness when the people lived in tents alongside God’s “Tabernacle”. The people lived with God’s glory right in their midst, with God “camping” with them.

In a sense it too was a picture of Jesus. John wrote,
(Jn 1:14 NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The word “dwelt” is literally “pitched His tent”. Jesus is God in human flesh. John said he “dwelt” among us.

:3 His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing.

:4 For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”

:5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

:3 that Your disciples may see

One suggestion is that the brothers are encouraging Jesus to win back some of those disciples who had left Him in the last chapter when He started saying some difficult things like “eating His flesh” (John 6:66).

Another suggestion is that the brothers are telling Jesus that if He really wants people to recognize Him as the Messiah, then He better be doing more miracles in Jerusalem, where the center of religion was. He will have to win over the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem if He expects to be proclaimed Messiah.

:4 secretkruptos – hidden, concealed, secret

:4 known openly parrhesia – freedom in speaking; free and fearless confidence, boldness; the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity

:4 showphaneroo – to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown

:4 show Yourself

Jesus had a reputation for not wanting to draw attention to Himself.

We saw last week in John 6 that Jesus said difficult things that caused the crowd to get smaller, not larger.
After healing people, Jesus would often instruct them not to tell anyone about it, like the time when He actually raised a little girl from the dead:
(Lk 8:56 NKJV) And her parents were astonished, but He charged them to tell no one what had happened.


Worldly Fame

This is the mindset of Jesus’ brothers who did not yet believe in Him.
They held the world’s view that life is all about “fame”.
Now, it seems everybody wants to be famous. Everybody thinks they have talent. Play American Idol clips
Some people want the spotlight, even if they don’t deserve it.
Alice's cake
Alice was asked to bake a cake for the church ladies’ group bake sale. It slipped her mind until the last minute. She quickly baked a cake, but when she took it from the oven, the center had dropped flat. She said, “Oh dear, there’s no time to bake another cake.” In a panic, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake. Alice found it in the bathroom, a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and covered it with icing. The finished product looked beautiful, so she rushed it to the church. Alice then gave her daughter some money and instructions to be at the sale the minute it opened, to buy that cake (whatever the cost) and bring it home. When the daughter arrived at the sale, Alice’s attractive cake had already been sold. Alice was beside herself. A couple of days later Alice was invited to a friend’s home where the ladies group was playing bridge. After the game a fancy lunch was served, and to top it off, the cake in question was presented for dessert. Alice saw the cake, she started to get off her chair to rush into the kitchen to tell her hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, one of the other ladies said, “What a beautiful cake!” Alice sat back in her chair with total relief when she heard the hostess say proudly, “Thank you, I baked it myself.”
As far as I can remember, being a celebrity has never helped me make a good picture, ... or command the obedience of my daughter, or impress my wife. It doesn’t even seem to help keep fleas off our dog, and if being a celebrity won’t give one an advantage over a couple fleas, then I guess there can’t be that much in being a celebrity after all.
Walt Disney, Leadership, Vol. 8, no. 2.
When interviewed four years ago after a disappointing finish in his first two Olympic races, world-class skier Bode Miller said: “Fame is like a poison. I don’t care for it. I used to have a better life when I was a nobody.”
"Fame Is Like a Poison, Says American Skiing Ace Miller," (2-16-06); submitted by Sam O'Neal, St. Charles, Illinois
I wonder if this wasn’t part of the problem with Nadab and Abihu. This week in reading through Leviticus we read the story of the two sons of Aaron…
When the fire came from heaven and consumed the sacrifice on the altar of the Tabernacle, all the people’s attention was on God.
(Le 9:24 NKJV) …When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
Nadab and Abihu responded by picking up their incense tools and offering “profane fire” or “strange fire” (KJV), something that God didn’t ask for. I wonder if this wasn’t just a bit like stepping into the spotlight that had just been shining on God and God alone.
The next fire to come from heaven didn’t burn up a sacrifice, but burned up Nadab and Abihu.
(Le 10:3 NKJV) And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’”

I’ve been thinking this week about what gets “glorified” in our lives.

I wonder if Nadab and Abihu thought they could get away with being just a little bit in the spotlight.

When we try to get the attention put on us, it’s more than self-destructive. Nadab and Abihu were burnt to a crisp.

The spotlight needs to be on God, not on us.

:5 did not believepisteuo – to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in

Joseph and Mary had other children. They were “half-brothers” and “half-sisters” of Jesus because they had a different father. Joseph was their biological father. God was Jesus’ biological father.

Mark gives us some of their names:  James, Joses, Judas, and Simon (Mark 6:3)
(Mk 6:1–6 NKJV) —1 Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. 4 But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.

It is strange that some in Jesus’ own family did not initially believe in Him.

Could you imagine growing up with a brother like Jesus? A brother who always did everything perfect? A brother who never said a mean thing to you? A brother who never hurt you? And yet they didn’t believe.
John has already told us that they spent time with Jesus during His ministry (Jn. 2:12). They may have all been present at Jesus’ first miracle when He turned water into wine.
(Jn 2:12 NKJV) After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

We know that eventually at least James and Judas would also become believers.

We think it may have happened around the time of the resurrection. Paul records that the resurrected Jesus appeared to James after He had appeared to the other apostles (1Cor. 15:7)
(1 Co 15:7 NKJV) After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.
Jesus’ family would be in the upper room with the believers at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell on the early church.
(Ac 1:14 NKJV) These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
James would become the pastor of the church in Jerusalem and write the book of James. Judas would write the book of Jude.


Without honor

(Mk 6:4 NKJV) But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”
I think that for most of us the people we are most concerned about coming to Christ are those in our own family.
For some people, family members are the very first ones to notice the change in us and respond by coming with us to Jesus.
For others, family members are the last ones to believe.
For some of us maybe it’s because we have a hard time knowing what to say to our family members.

I wish we would learn better what to say.

For others, we have been completely clear, but it’s just hard for some people to hear these things from someone they watched growing up.

Understand that Jesus knows what this is like.

His family didn’t believe … at first.

It is interesting to note that it wasn’t until after Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead that His brothers believed.
For some of us, we can be the nicest people our family has ever met, and yet our family won’t believe.
I wonder if sometimes it’s not until they see us go through great difficulty and survive, that they might start wondering about this God we follow.

:6 Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.

:6 timekairos – a measure of time; opportunity

:6 has … comepareimi – to be by, be at hand, to have arrived, to be present

:6 readyhetoimos – prepare, ready

(Jn 7:6 The Message) Jesus came back at them, “Don’t crowd me. This isn’t my time. It’s your time—it’s always your time; you have nothing to lose.

:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.

:7 hatemiseo – to hate, pursue with hatred, detest


That annoying light

These brothers are not yet believers. They are still living “in the world”. The world isn’t going to hate them, the world is going to love them.
The world hates the believer
(Jn 15:18–19 NKJV) —18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
One reason the world hates us is when we take a stand against evil.
We can be annoying that way, like headlights in your eyes.
There are going to be times when people need to hear from your mouth “this is wrong”.

This is part of what is involved in being the “salt of the earth”

(Mt 5:13 NKJV) “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

I find it interesting that the people that Jesus had the harshest words for were the people that most thought were the most religious.

(Mt 23:13–15 NKJV) —13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. 15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

If I read my Bible correctly, Jesus seems the most gracious to sinners in need of forgiveness. He seems harshest towards those who are proud, religious, and don’t think they need any help.

Be careful not to confuse “grace” and “love” with being quiet when something is wrong.

That doesn’t mean we have to be rude about it. We don’t have to have people hating us because we are obnoxious.

There are many people in the world who think that we Christians “hate homosexuals”.

We hate the sin. We hate what sin does to people. But we love the people and want them to know the power, love, and grace of Jesus.

What is dangerous for the believer is when we become “people pleasers”

(Jn 12:42–43 NKJV) —42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.


Martin Luther:  If you perhaps look for praise and would sulk or quit what you are doing if you did not get it—if you are of that stripe, dear friend—then take yourself by the ears, and if you do this in the right way, you will find a beautiful pair of big, long, shaggy donkey ears. Affliction is the best book in my library.

Martin Luther, "Martin Luther--The Early Years," Christian History, no. 34.

:8 You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.”


God’s timing

In the book of Numbers there is an incident where God asked the Israelites to send spies into the Promised Land and report back to the people to give them an honest report of what was up ahead of them.
God didn’t want the people to be ignorant of both the benefits as well as the dangers that were up ahead of them. God wanted them to go in to the Promised Land with their eyes “wide open”.
When the people heard about the giants that lived in the Promised Land, they weren’t willing to trust that God would help them, and they decided they wouldn’t go into the land.
When God told them that their lack of faith was going to result in their wandering in the wilderness for forty years, they changed their mind and tried to go in, but this time without God.
They failed miserably. It was too late.
There are some things in life where this is a brief “window” of opportunity, and you must take that opportunity.

Bill Cable – accepting the Lord two weeks before being killed in a hit and run accident.

Noah apparently took 120 years to build the ark, during which the Scripture calls him a “preacher of righteousness” (2Pe 2:5), yet there came a day when the ark was loaded, God shut the door, and it was too late to respond to the call to repentance.
May God help us to respond while there is still time.
Life is so fragile, so short. One day you are here at church, and the next day you may dead.
Do you need to turn your life around?  Do you need to trust Jesus?  Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Use the open windows before you.
Sometimes you need to “go” when God says “go”.
Sometimes you need to “stay” until God says “go”.
Jesus was being led by God. He would go to this feast, but just not with His brothers.

:9 When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee.

7:10-13 Back to Jerusalem

:10 But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

:10 openly … secret – These are the same words that Jesus’ brother used back in verse 4. Jesus is doing just the opposite of what they were telling Him to do.

openlyphaneros – manifestly; plainly, clearly; openly

secretkruptos – hidden, concealed, secret

Why is Jesus going to Jerusalem when it’s dangerous? Why is Jesus going to Jerusalem even though it’s not His time to die?

Because He is obeying God – God commanded Jewish men to go to Jerusalem three times a year.

But just because He is going doesn’t mean He has to be reckless. So He’s going in secret.

:11 Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?”

The last time Jesus had been in Jerusalem (Jn 5:1) was when He had healed the lame man at Bethesda. It was during one of these “feasts”.

(Jn 5:1 NKJV) After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Apparently the Jewish leaders were expecting Jesus to show up again.

:12 And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.”

:12 complaininggoggusmos – a murmur, murmuring, muttering

:12 goodagathos – of good constitution or nature; pleasant, agreeable, joyful; excellent, distinguished; upright, honorable

:12 deceivesplanao – lead aside from the right way; to lead away from the truth, to lead into error

(Jn 7:12 The Message) …But others said, “Not so. He’s selling snake oil.”

:13 However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

:13 openly parrhesia – freedom in speaking; free and fearless confidence, boldness; the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity

:13 fear of the Jews – Later on, we will see that the Jewish religious leaders will make a decree that anyone who said that Jesus was the Messiah would be removed from their local synagogue.

A man who was born blind (John 9) will be healed by Jesus. Because he told people that Jesus had healed him, he would be “cast out” of the synagogue.

Attending the synagogue was so important to people. Being “cast out” was not a fun thing.

It meant that all your social ties would cease.
It meant that all your friends would disappear.
In a way, it was kind of like being cut off from God!

To this day, it’s a very difficult thing for an Orthodox Jew to come to Jesus, because their family will disown them, they will go through a ceremony and proclaim you a “non-son”.


Who is Jesus?

There’s a lot riding on your answer. Paul wrote,
(Ro 10:9 NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

If you have the right answer, that Jesus is the Lord, you will be saved.

It’s also important that you are open with your answer. Jesus said,
(Mt 10:32–33 NKJV) —32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
Auxensius was a great commander under the Emperor Lycinius. Lycinius came one day into a courtyard of his palace where there was a great pool, and some vines growing about it, with the image of the god Bacchus set up among the vines. The emperor commanded Auxensius to draw his sword, cut off a bunch of grapes, and offer it at the feet of Bacchus, acknowledging him to be a god. Auxenisius answered, “I am a Christian; I will not do it.” “What! Not do it at my command?” said the emperor; “then you must resign your commission.” “With all my heart, sir,” said the Christian soldier, and taking off his armor, left glad that he was able to withstand the temptation.
Sometimes it’s difficult to open up about your belief in Jesus.  It takes some of us a little longer to open up than it does others.
But at some point you need to let people know where you stand, that you are a believer.
The people you’re hiding it from are the very people who need to know.
Have you been a “closet Christian” too long?