Daily Good News – Jesus and the Popularity Stakes
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May 16, 2015 1081
“Even his own brothers did not believe in him” (John 7:5).
Jesus’ brothers had encouraged him to “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works 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.” This was a time when things were going badly for Jesus. The chief priests want to get him out of the way. Many disciples left him and his brothers tried to give him some family advice. They felt that if he followed the deserting disciples to Judea and did some more miracles, perhaps those disciples would return to Jesus as their leader.
We understand from John’s account, that his brothers clearly knew that Jesus was special, for they encouraged him to show his wonderful miracles to everyone. They may be forgiven for not seeing the unseen because Jesus’ divinity wasn’t fully revealed until his resurrection from the dead. Perhaps they hoped that this might encourage Jesus to lead an uprising against the Romans. But they missed the point. Jesus doesn’t want a group of followers who are with him because of the miracles, the popularity and the fame.
Jesus’ sole mission is to reveal God his Father to a world in desperate need – a world that doesn’t even recognise its need. Jesus wasn’t – and still isn’t – about numbers. His aim wasn’t to have people following him for their own purposes. Then, as now, he wants to accept the people who come to him for the right reasons, acknowledging their need and accepting him as their saving God.