"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"
Even His Brothers Did Not Believe (John 7:1-9)
2. For a time, even His own brothers (named in Mt 13:55) did not
a. As recorded in Jn 7:5
b. As implied in Mk 3:21
c. As foretold in Psa 69:8
— Though they eventually came to believe in Jesus – Acts 1:14
3. Why did Jesus’ brothers not believe in Him from the very
a. Had they not seen the miracles?
b. Did they not know Him as well as anyone?
[Reasons why they did not believe at first, and the reason they came to
believe at last, can provide some valuable lessons for us today…]
I. WHY THEY DID NOT BELIEVE
A. POSSIBLE REASONS FOR THEIR UNBELIEF…
1. Perhaps they were blinded by familiarity
a. As is often said, "Familiarity breeds contempt"
b. This hindered many who knew Jesus from childhood – Mt 13:54-58
c. A problem common among prophets – Mt 13:57; Jn 4:44
2. Perhaps they were blinded by envy
a. Large crowds had been following Jesus everywhere
b. Making it difficult for His family to speak to Him at times
– Mt 12:46-47
c. Jealousy can be a powerful hindrance to seeing things clearly
3. Perhaps they were blinded by preconceptions
a. Many Jews had wrong conceptions concerning the kingdom –
cf. Jn 6:15
b. His brothers had their ideas as to what He should do – Jn 7:2-4
c. It is easy to reject someone if they do not live up to your
— For one reason or another, Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him
B. A WARNING FOR US TODAY…
1. Do we let familiarity blind us to the truth?
a. Do we reject what a close friend or relative may tell us?
b. Especially since they have their own faults of which we are
— Truth can be communicated by imperfect messengers – cf. Phil 1:15-18
2. Do we let envy get in the way of truth?
a. Are we jealous that we might be wrong and others may be
b. Do we think that by admitting others are right, it somehow
makes them better?
— Truth (and salvation!) is too precious to let envy or
jealousy keep us from it
3. Do we let preconceived notions obstruct a clear evaluation of
a. Refusing to reexamine our cherished beliefs?
b. Rejecting a view or teaching simply because we have never
heard it before?
— Truth requires a willingness to hear, and has nothing to
fear from investigation – Acts 17:11
[Don’t discount the potential impact of familiarity, envy, or
preconceptions. Such blinded the brothers of Jesus so that even His
miracles did not convince them! What finally prompted them to believe
is worthy of note…]
II. HOW THEY CAME TO BELIEVE
A. THE REASON FOR THEIR FAITH…
1. As noted previously, Jesus’ brothers eventually became
a. They were with the apostles after the Ascension – Acts 1:12-14
b. James, the Lord’s brother, became a key figure in the church
at Jerusalem – Acts 12:17; Acts 15:13; Acts 21:18; Gal 2:9
c. James and Judas wrote their respective epistles – Js 1:1; Jude 1
d. According to secular history, James was martyred for his
2. What changed them? The resurrection of Jesus from the dead!
a. Jesus appeared to James – 1 Cor 15:7
b. The others may have seen Him on other occasions – cf. 1 Cor 15:6
3. The significance of Jesus’ resurrection
a. Miracles can be faked
b. Rising from the dead cannot!
— The resurrection shattered any blinders of familiarity, envy,
B. A BLESSING FOR US TODAY…
1. It is understandable that one might find the gospel story
a. A man born of a virgin?
b. A man who was the Son of God?
c. A man who supposedly…
1) Walked on water?
2) Calmed the seas?
3) Fed thousands with five loaves and two fish?
4) Healed the sick and lame, gave sight to the blind, raised
5) Was Himself raised from the dead?
2. Yet there is a good reason to believe the incredible story!
a. That is, the conversion of those like Jesus’ brothers
1) Who at first did not believe (for whatever reason)
2) Who were persuaded by overwhelming empirical evidence
– cf. Acts 1:3; Acts 10:39-41
3) Who never recanted their testimony, despite hardship and
b. What else can explain the transformation of Jesus’ brothers?
1) It was the same thing that transformed the disciples of
2) "If the disciples were totally disappointed and on the
verge of desperate flight because of the very real reason
of the crucifixion, it took another very real reason in
order to transform them from a band of disheartened and
dejected Jews into the most self-confident missionary
society in world history." – Pinchas Lapide, former
Chairman of the Applied Linguistics Department at
Israel’s Bar-Iland University (TIME, May 7, 1979)
3) This Orthodox Jewish scholar concluded that a bodily
resurrection could possibly have been that reason!
— The conversion of His brothers and others who first doubted
should strengthen our faith in Jesus!
1. The unbelief of Jesus’ brothers serves as a warning…
a. How easily one can be blinded by such things as familiarity, envy,
b. How carefully we must give others a fair hearing
2. The unbelief of Jesus’ brothers also serves as a blessing…
a. Their eventual conversion implies overwhelming evidence of Jesus’
b. Since we believe in Jesus through the words of such men, the
foundation of our faith is stronger
With the help of their own example, we can heed the exhortation given by
one of Jesus’ brothers:
"But you, beloved, BUILDING YOURSELVES UP ON YOUR MOST HOLY FAITH,
praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God,
looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."