Believing in the Real Jesus
The following quote is taken from Dr. R. C. Sproul’s St. Andrew’s Expository Commentary on the Gospel of John. His comment is based on the disbelief of Jesus’ own brothers as seen here in John 7:1 – 5. “After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. 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.”
“If we could have asked Jesus’ brothers, ‘Do you believe in your brother?’ they would have said: ‘Of course we believe in Him. Why else would we want Him to go to Jerusalem and make Himself known? We want the people to know about Him. We want to see His ministry grow and expand. Just like John the Baptist, we want Him to increase.’ Nevertheless, the Word of God says Jesus’ brothers were unbelievers. That is why we have to ask ourselves, ‘Is the Jesus we believe in the real Jesus?’
We disappoint Jesus when we expect things of Him that are not part of His agenda. We become like His unbelieving brothers, who looked to Him only for what they could get, for worldly power and worldly success. We are confronted today with the prosperity gospel, the ‘name it and claim it’ faith, which preaches that we may come to Jesus with any expectation and, like magic, Jesus will meet it. No, the only thing I can guarantee He’ll give you is forgiveness, reconciliation with the Father, and eternal life. I can’t imagine what else we could ask from Him.
I think doctrine, truth, and biblical ethics are vitally important. But Christianity is all about Jesus. We have to understand the real Jesus, the Jesus whom we know through the pages of Scripture. Whatever ideas of Jesus you may have, if they don’t correspond to the biblical portrait of Jesus we are discovering as we progress through John, I urge you to put them aside and believe on the Jesus who comes to us in His Word. We need the real Jesus.” (End of quote)
Jesus’ own brothers had a misconception as to their own messianic expectations and who Jesus “should be.” Perhaps one of the most critically important passages in the New Testament is found in Matthew 16:13 – 17:
“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.’” (Emphasis in bold – my own)
Who do we say that Jesus is? Rather than presume or guess, we must find out from His Word with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.