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Early morning QT again, and I thank God.

I quote my post on The Increase:

John 7 records a rather comical example of human psychology for us:

“2Now the Jew’s feast of tabernacles was at hand. 3His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. 4aFor there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. 4bIf thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. 5For neither did his brethren believe in him.” – BibleGateway

I quote from the KJV.

On the one hand, we have Jesus, someone exceptional (the passage refers to his ‘works’, although you could read from even earlier on for context), and whose actions and motivations are apparently unfathomable to those around him. On the other hand, we have the people of Galilee, who are referred to as his ‘brethren’. The tension in their relationship lies in how the Galileans at once feel as though they want to be identified with Jesus, but are at the same time wary of being seen as such, mainly because they do not understand why he goes about his work in the way he does. As the scripture has it, ‘neither did his brethren believe in him.’

Fortunately for us, we have the benefit of belief in him, and with the knowledge that accompanies that belief, upon examination, the Galilean’s response to Jesus is indeed quite amusing.

One of their issues is that they did not quite get why Jesus didn’t want recognition despite his being able to do fantastic work. They responded by telling him, in effect, that he wasn’t going about things in quite the normal way, but that deep down he was the same as they were (verse 4a). If he was going to keep doing what he was doing, he might as well go to Judaea, somewhere Significant, the festive season (v. 2) being a fortuitous reason for him to travel. There was no reason for him to stay in the backwater he was at when there was opportunity, in the form of a good time and place, for him to gain recognition (v. 4b), and also legitimacy.

Because the other issue the Galileans had was a kind of societal inferiority complex, or perhaps a kind of small town mindset. I submit that, to some extent, they already knew who Jesus was. However, they lacked the conviction or the courage to accept him or accept what they knew. They would much rather watch and wait for Jesus to succeed in Judaea before commiting their reputation as a community to him. They didn’t have to support him all out right then, but they could still say, ‘He was from Galilee!’ later. What would you feel if you were in Jesus’ position?

While I do think that most Christians do genuinely accept that Jesus lived, died and was resurrected, accepting the facts of his life alone doesn’t put us in a much better position than the Galileans. Have we really commited to what Jesus has shown us about how to live life and how to live with each other? I guess a more common struggle is whether or not to do what we think we should or act like how we think we should act in social situations. (I think ’social situations’ covers most of our interactions with the world.) That would sometimes involve sticking our necks out, and it’s very easy to think about the risks and payoffs in social terms. On the other hand, conforming to some mean of behaviour is safer and doesn’t threaten anyone. And just in case anyone thinks I have the answer, well, I don’t think there is one, so I contend with it as well.

I guess there’s also the possibility that we don’t really even feel that we know our God well enough in the first place, but then what’s stopping us, really? It’s not as if we don’t know where to start, and, honestly, there’s so much further we can go from there.

I was looking at the passage early one morning, but the follow up was accomplished later, just in case anyone thinks I was able to do this between 5BX and first parade.

Categories: Reflection
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