“Belief and Unbelief” John 7:1-5

In John 6, Jesus told the crowd that had come searching for Him in Capernaum that the work that God required was to believe in the One whom He had sent. They wanted to know what they had to do to please God, to be blessed by God, to be provided for continually the way that Jesus had provided for them at the feeding of the 5,000. The question was simple, “What do we have to do to get God to do what we want Him to do?” Isn’t that a question we are still asking today? How do we get God to listen, to answer, to move, to heal, to save, to provide? What do we have to do to get God to do what we think He should be doing? Jesus answered their question the same way I think He’s answering ours, “Believe in Him whom God sent”.  Jesus and the crowd had a back and forth where they demanded proof and He revealed His character and their hearts. They wanted Jesus to make them believe, He wanted them to understand that belief was a choice that had to be made, a decision that was required. He was not there to prove Himself by meeting their demands or expectations, He was there to call them to see love, to choose trust and to decide to follow. In the middle of their conversation Jesus declared to the crowd, “you have seen Me and yet you do not believe.” How could He say that to them? Didn’t they believe? They came to hear Him teach, ate His miraculous meal and wanted to make Jesus their king. They believed He was the Messiah, but Jesus said, without any need for interpretation, that they did not believe. They went looking for Him, crossed the sea and found Him in the synagogue. They were working, probably sacrificing to get to Jesus, to hear Jesus, to be with Jesus—but again, He said they didn’t believe. We talk about it often, but we will talk about it again today, biblical belief must mean more than acknowledgement or acceptance, it must go beyond what we think or know and become how we respond, how we trust, how we follow, yield and surrender. This was a crowd of people who had interrupted their lives to get to Jesus, but Jesus said they didn’t believe, so we have to ask, what does it mean to believe? In our text today, John writes about Jesus and His brothers, “For even His brothers did not believe in Him.” As we go through these verses today I hope that we will see that when John says that Jesus’ brothers didn’t believe in Him, it was not that they doubted that He was the Messiah, it was that they didn’t agree with or trust what He was doing as the Messiah, how He was going about fulfilling His purpose or establishing His kingdom. This morning we must define belief and unbelief—if the work of God is to believe, if our calling begins and relies upon believing, if the sin that leads to destruction is unbelief, then we better know what these words mean. I pray today that the Scripture and the Holy Spirit will help us to believe and will lead us to repentance from and forgiveness of our unbelief.

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