Sometimes when I read about the life of Jesus, it is easy to read the story and events of his life without allowing any feeling or emotion to enter my mind. In some ways, it is as though I think Jesus was above feelings and could live life without them. Of course, that is wrong. Jesus got tired, experienced pain, grief, emotion, etc.
One example where there probably was great feeling even though it is not explicitly mentioned is found in John 7. If you recall, in John 6, many of those who were following Jesus left because Jesus proved not be the kind of Messiah they wanted. They were looking for a deliverer from Roman domination, not a suffering Savior.
Here in chapter 7, we see Jesus desiring to head to Jerusalem to celebrate one of the Jewish festivals called the Feast of Booths. Prior to his departure, his brothers give him some advice. Notice what they said in 7:3-5,
“So his brothers said to him, ‘Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.’ For not even his brothers believed in him.”
Two things that hit me in this section. The first is the fact that his brothers had not believed in him. His family had said “no” to his claim to being the Messiah. That hurts in ways that all of us can relate to in some degree if we have experienced personal rejection by those we love. Even though this is true, we do not see Jesus expressing his feeling nor does John say anything about how that made Jesus feel even though we can assume that he must have felt disappointment and even hurt to some degree.
The second thing that hits me about this is the two verses before the section I just quoted. John makes it clear that Jesus was not going around in Judea (which includes Jerusalem) because the Jews were seeking to kill him!
So, not only do his brothers not believe in him, but they also were willing to encourage Jesus to pursue a course of action that could have him killed. Wow! That is hard to get my mind around. Their rejection of Jesus included that they were willing to let him experience persecution and death at the hands of the Jews! That truth must have been very painful for Jesus to experience.
In the midst of these great disappointments and realizations about his brothers, Jesus continued with his ministry. He modeled living by faith and not by feeling.What I admire about Jesus here is that he did not let his feelings determine his obedience. He brought his feelings into obedience. He chose to do the right thing even though he may have “felt” differently.
Father, once again Jesus models life for me. Help me to choose faith and not yield to my feelings when I know they are not in harmony with your will. Help me to “faith it till I feel it.”
Following Jesus with you,