John 7:5 MEANING

John 7:5
(5) For neither did his brethren believe.--Comp. Note on John 7:3. The words do not admit of any other meaning than the obvious one that even His brethren did not at this time believe Him to be the Messiah. That they are found in the very first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles joining with the Apostles, and the women, and Mary, with one accord in prayer (John 7:14), is one of the striking instances of the hardened ground of human hearts passing into the fruitful ground receptive of the seed, as the case of Judas at the close of the last chapter is an instance of the opposite. For the immediate cause of the decisive change, see 1 Corinthians 15:7.

Verse 5. - For not even did his brethren believe in him. The evangelist, writing a generation later, and keenly remembering the attitude the brothers had assumed before the Resurrection, adds, "not even his brothers," who ought to have been the most prominent of his disciples, "did up to this time believe on him," i.e. entrust themselves to him, dispose of their prejudices, change their conceptions, accept his spiritual lead, acknowledge his Divine mission, or know him to be the Holy One of God. They had not come into the position of the twelve. What ideas soever they grasped fell immeasurably short of "eating his flesh and drinking his blood," of coming to him, being given to him and drawn to him by the Father. It was a world Messiah, a theocratic King, a Prophet-Captain, a royal Christ, that they sought and would have been glad to find in him. This treatment of the Lord was another striking parallel to the temptation of Jesus as described by the synoptists, "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me" (see note on ch. 4, and Introduction, VIII. 5). The non-belief of the brothers is in remarkable unison with the widespread unbelief of the people, who were anxious to discern the Christ of their own traditional expectations, and ready to press almost any possible claimant to premature demonstrations. The Pharisees and the people sought some sign from heaven. But while the people demanded it, they expected that he would and might gratify them if he chose. The Pharisees cynically tempted him to proclaim what they believed would prove his irremediable failure (Weiss, 'Life of Christ.,' vol. 3. Eng. trans., pp. 167-188).

7:1-13 The brethren or kinsmen of Jesus were disgusted, when they found there was no prospect of worldly advantages from him. Ungodly men sometimes undertake to counsel those employed in the work of God; but they only advise what appears likely to promote present advantages. The people differed about his doctrine and miracles, while those who favoured him, dared not openly to avow their sentiments. Those who count the preachers of the gospel to be deceivers, speak out, while many who favour them, fear to get reproach by avowing regard for them.For neither did his brethren believe in him. At first they might take to him, and embrace him as the Messiah, and expect he would set up a temporal kingdom; in which they might hope, on account of their relation to him, according to the flesh to enjoy great honours and privileges; but finding that he was not inclined to anything of that nature, and talked in a quite different way, they grew sick of him, and rejected him, as the Messiah; so, little regard is to be had, or confidence placed, in carnal descent from, or alliance to the best of men; as to Abraham, or any other true believer, if they have not the same grace, or the same faith as such have; and which comes not by blood, or natural generation, but by the free favour of God; for it matters not, if men have known Christ, or have been allied to him after the flesh, unless they are new creatures in him; they may be the one, and not the other; even the carnal brethren of Christ, and yet not believers in him; and it is only such who are so in a spiritual sense, that are regarded by him, Matthew 12:49.
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