This Week's Focus Passage

This Week’s Focus Passage: John 7:5 ‘For even his brethren did not believe on Him.’

This Week’s Focus Passage: John 7:5 

‘For even his brethren did not believe on Him.’

    Does this statement above from the writings of John, the evangelist, not throw us into something of a consternation? The first time that we ever read these words informing us that even the brothers of Jesus did not believe on Him, we were able to receive it, only with a certain degree of difficulty? How could that possibly ever be; that the very brethren of our Lord Jesus Christ did not believe what He said; and they had lived with Him, a very good number of years. They ate with Him. They worked with Him. They walked with Him. We reflect upon our own family, and the many that we have been familiar with over the years. Incalculable would be the number of activities in which they joined together with Him and, likely many times also, with Joseph and Mary among them. We are not informed about very much of the growing up years of Jesus, but there is one occasion recorded for us, by Luke in that rather well-known account of the twelve-year-old son of Joseph and Mary, and their annual trek to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. Surely, his brothers would have received some information about that event. It would be very difficult not to imagine that there were many incidences between brothers over the number of years, before and after that singular event; that marvelous, and somewhat mysterious, certainly at least, curious, event, when Jesus was twelve years old, and the time when He began His public ministry, around the age of thirty. 

    We may read, again from Luke’s account, Luke 2:40, just prior to the account of Jesus in the temple, ‘sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them, and asking them questions.’ Yea, just prior to that account where we are told that He was twelve years old, we read in the fortieth verse, And the child grew, and waxed strong, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him. It is seriously difficult to read of this, both physical and spiritual maturity in a lad not yet twelve years of age. ‘Filled with wisdom,’ ‘with the grace of God upon him,’ and yet His brothers did not believe on Him; truly amazing. Moving ahead to Luke 2:52, we are able to receive the information given, by Luke, through God the Holy Spirit, that Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. We are not told what visible signs there may have been which would, perhaps, demonstrate this ‘advance in wisdom and stature.’ Perhaps He could have ‘advanced in wisdom and stature’ without any external evidence that would accompany such. But, surely, His advancing ‘in favor with God and men,’ would be demonstrable, especially any advance in favor of men. 

    We may reflect, in our day, how a ‘rising star’ athlete does quickly become the subject of sports news, and often much local excitement and a keeping up with every game in which he plays. His nascent career is begun in the media, and most certainly, among his family. Perhaps, this would even engender some jealousy from among his siblings, but even in the midst of jealously, there would be a recognition that he is receiving much attention from many outside of the immediate family. And while his brothers and sisters may be jealous of their siblings’ new-found fame, they would not be able to disbelieve that fame, nor what abilities he had that would promote such fame. Or, to put it another way, when they realized that He was actually asking questions of the ‘doctors’ in the temple, we might reasonably expect that they would then ask Him some questions. 

    In the conclusion of the ‘temple narrative,’ after Joseph and Mary had returned to Jerusalem to seek Him, and found Him with the ‘doctors’ in the temple; and returning with Him to their home, we are informed that Mary ‘kept all these sayings in her heart.’ Are we to infer from that, that she did not speak about this history with her other children, the brothers of Jesus? That does not seem very likely; but we don’t know. Further questions which come to our minds; we ask ourselves, about the numerous occasions of real demonstration of Jesus’ ‘gifts’ that took place, it appears, in a chronological frame, certainly prior to the time of our ‘focus verse.’ Such remarkable events as the wedding at Cana of Galilee, where Jesus turned the water into wine. We are informed that, after that miracle, in John 2:11, the following:

This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

  ‘His disciples believed on Him,’ but evidently not His brethren. In John’s continued accounts, after this ‘beginning of signs’ in his second chapter, we may read of subsequent signs, to this ‘beginning.’ His brothers may not have witnessed His baptism, nor seen the Holy Spirit descend, and the voice of God, with His magnificent imprimatur, ‘This is my Son.’ Later, Jesus healed the son of a nobleman [Jn.4:46ff.]. In chapter six, John relates the feeding of the five thousand; Jesus walking on the sea. And still, in chapter seven, we discover that even his brethren did not believe on him. But the end of the matter, turning to our own situation, in 2022; we must confess the multitude in our own families that do not believe on Him. We pray every day for them, that God would make them willing to come to Christ, in the day of His power.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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