The time for the Festival of Shelters was near, so Jesus’ brothers said to him, ‘Leave this place and go to Judea, so that your followers will see the things that you are doing. People don’t hide what they are doing if they want to be well known. Since you are doing these things, let the whole world know about you!’ (Not even his brothers believed in him.) Jesus said to them, ‘The right time for me has not yet come. Any time is right for you. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I keep telling it that its ways are bad.’ (verses 2-7)
Read John 7:1-13
Did Jesus’ brothers know Jesus would get himself killed if he went to Jerusalem? I suspect that is precisely why they were urging him to go. We know their resentment of Jesus ran deep. At his cross it was the disciple John who comforted Mary – her own sons were nowhere to be seen. We can only guess the details of Jesus’ family life, and it probably wasn’t pretty.
You would think God would have ensured his own Son grew up in a devoted and supportive earthly family. God, however, wanted him to experience every human woe. He wanted him to know how you feel when your family is falling apart. He wanted Jesus to know what it’s like to grieve over lost love, to feel the stab of family bitterness and rejection. He didn’t want your saviour to be a stranger to your woes. He wanted him to hear your silent tears in the night – not with a mind that can imagine, but with a heart that can remember. A heart that can give strength and hope.
Lord Jesus, you know the pain of a broken family and a broken heart. Please comfort me in my saddest moments with the nearness of your love. Amen.
by Linda Macqueen, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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