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The Unbelief of Christ's Brethren

The Unbelief of Christ's Brethren

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY JOB ORTON


John vii. 5.

For neither did his brethren believe in him.
BY JOB ORTON


John vii. 5.

For neither did his brethren believe in him.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 18, 2013
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THE UBELIEF OF CHRIST'S BRETHREBY JOB ORTOJohn vii. 5. For neither did his brethren believe in him. It was foretold by the prophet Isaiah, that the Messiah should be " despised and rejected of men." And when we consider the many evidences he gave of his divine commission, and the gracious errand on which he came, it is very surprisino- that any of those, who were acquainted with his doctrine and miracles, should reject him ; especially that his brethren should do it. This circumstance, which the evangelist mentions in the text, is so extraordinary, that it deserves to be considered : and it affords so much instruction, that it demands your serious regard. We are told (v. 2) that the Jewish feast of taber- nacles was at hand ; one of the feasts at which all the males were required to go to Jerusalem. Our Lord's brethren there- fore said unto him, " Depart hence from Galilee and go into Judea, that thy disciples there may see the works that thou doest : for there is no man that doeth any thing of this kind in secret, while he himself seeketh to be known openly." " If thou doest these things," that is, by a divine connnission, " show thyself to the world ;" to the Jews, and especially to the oreat 44 ORTO S PRACTICAL WORKS. men assembled at Jerusalem from this and the neighbouring countries. And the reason why they said this was, because
 
" they did not believe in him." They did not believe that he was the Messiah; or at least such a Messiah as the prophets foretold. They had no right apprehension of the design of his teaching and miracles. They did not follow him as his dis- ciples. Or if they professed any particular regard to him as a teacher, it was for worldly ends. By " brethren" we are here (as in many other places of the evangelists) to understand his cousins or near kinsmen. For it doth not appear that the Vir- gin Mary had any other child but Christ. It seems he had many cousins : some of the apostles were of that number. But there is a distinction made between his " brethren" and his " disciples" by St. John; " He went down to Capernaum, he and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples," John ii. 1 2 ; which intimates, that some of his brethren were not then his disciples and stated attendants. And these were the per- sons who gave him this advice, and concerning whom the text is spoken. — I shall, I. Show how strange it was that they did not believe. II. How it may be accounted for — and then consider what instructive lessons we may draw from this circumstance. I am, 1. To show how strange it was, that Christ's brethren should not believe. And this will appear if we consider that they had heard his doctrine — seen his miracles — and known the circumstances and manner of his life. 1. They had heard his doctrine; both publicly and privately; and probably received many personal admonitions from him. They were not strangers, nor mere neighbours, who had heard him once or twice; but his near relations, who lived in the same town, and some of them at least in the same house. Be- fore he appeared as a public preacher, and travelled about, pro- claiming the gospel of the kingdom, they had undoubtedly heard many excellent discourses from him ; adapted to en- lighten their understandings, to awaken and edify their hearts, and so prepare them for the reception of those truths which he
 
was at length to publish to the world. He, who took every opportunity to introduce religious discourse, would not neglect it at home, amongst his kinsmen. o doubt he gave them many private admonitions, suited to their cases; for he not only saw their behaviour, but knew their hearts, and addressed (as he often did in the case of the Scribes and Pharisees) to their secret reasonings, cavils, and objections; and reproved their lusts and passions which did not appear to others. When he entered upon his ministry, they had often heard him preach in his own city. They had gone in company with him to several DIS. VI.] UBELIEF OF CHRIST's BRETHRE. 45 feasts at Jerusalem, as near relations used to go together. They had conversed with him by the way, and had heard him, with all plainness, tenderness, and seriousness, address his country- men there. Many gracious words had proceeded out of his mouth in their hearing; coming with all the force and ad- vantage which united dignity, wisdom, and love, could give them. Further, 2. They had seen his miracles ; yea, many of them. Had they only seen one, namely, his first miracle at Cana, where they were present — his turning the water into wine, one would have thought, that one alone should have engaged their belief, as it did that of some of his disciples, John ii. 11, 12. They had seen many other of his miracles in their own town and neigh- bourhood ; in their journeys to Jerusalem, and some which he performed there at the feasts. They had seen him restoring sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, hearing to the deaf, and health and soundness to the sick, the paralytic, and the luna- tic : miracles, the most beneficent in themselves, and performed with the greatest modesty : miracles of such a nature, that there was not the least room to suspect any artifice or collusion in them. ay, in the advice they gave him in the preceding verses (v. 3, 4), they plainly acknowledge that he had -^per- formed " mayiy miracles ;" so that they had clear evidence of his divine mission.

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