Sometimes Words Trump Deeds

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The honeymoon, if there ever was one, is over. In John 6 we learn that many of those who had been following Jesus, began to move away from him (John 6:66). The miracles couldn’t hold them and His teaching had become too demanding and too offensive.

As we begin John 7, we discover that even in His own family Jesus had little credibility. It appears that his brothers (Mary and Joseph had had children after Jesus’ birth) thought that all this “campaigning” that Jesus did was simply a craving for notoriety. As the date for the Feast of Tabernacles approached, when huge crowds would gather in Jerusalem, his brothers encouraged Him to go.

Jesus’ brothers said to him, ‘You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles 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’” (John 7:3, 4).

We might think that they simply wanted to enhance His ministry by broadening it if it weren’t for John’s next statement: “For even his own brothers did not believe in him” (7:5).

But whatever their motives were—and Jesus knew them well—we might also think that it would be a good idea for Jesus to “make more of Himself,” so that His message would get more exposure. Advertising is the name of the game.

In the end, Jesus did go to Jerusalem (7:14), but He didn’t go to create a spectacle. He went secretly, halfway through the Feast of Tabernacles, and apparently, only turned up in the temple. It is not recorded that He did any miracles at all. But He did deliver His message.

The miracles may have been good “advertising” but the only miracle that would have eternal value was the miracle of new birth. It was believing the message, believing His words, believing in Him, that would save.

Psalm 119:130 reminds us: “The unfolding of your words gives light; it give understanding to the simple.

Last week, I ran into a woman that I knew while I was shopping in the mall. She asked me if there was any way that we could get together to do Bible study. She wanted to get into the Word of God, take it apart, think about it, learn from it. She recognized the truth the psalmist shared—it’s the word that matters. It’s the exposure to truth that changes our lives and encourages our souls to flourish as the Spirit of God takes that Word and weaves it into the fabric of our being.

The importance of this Word is paramount in the Scriptures. Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible at 150 verses, is a prime example of how God feels about what He says.

Time spent basking in those Words, chewing on them, applying them, is never wasted time.

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