John 7:1-9

Jim Brooks (
Wed, 23 Oct 1996 15:06:19 -0700

I'm working on a sermon for this passage and don't know which way to take
Jesus' brothers (ie the younger progeny of Mary and Joseph, named in Matthew
13:55 as James, Joseph, Simon and Judas). Verse 5 of this passage clearly
states that they were unbelieving at this point of Jesus' ministry. On first
glance, I thought their statements to Him in vv. 3-4 were the sarcastic
remarks of the unbelieving.

But now I wonder.

The latter part of v. 4 is ei tauta poieis ("if you do these things"). I was
somewhat surprised to see a first class conditional statement here, I was
expecting a 3rd or 4th. If my grammars are correct, a 1st class conditional
statement shows that the speaker believes that the condition or statement is
actual or possible. Thus having the idea of a more concrete "since" rather
than a somewhat nebulous "if." Certainly the brothers at least heard of
Jesus' miracles and probably even witnessed one or two (perhaps in John 2 at
the wedding). If so, then the 1st class statement shows that they actually
believed that Jesus was performing miracles.

In John 2:23-25; 4:45; 6:2, 26, etc., the condemnation is made that many
"believed" in Him simply because of the signs they saw. IOW, it was not a
genuine faith but superficial. Is it possible that His brothers were in this
category as well and that their comments to Him in John 7:3-4 were not
sarcastic at all but their attempt to help Him gain some publicity and
gather a larger following (especially after the "diaster" of chapter 6 where
many left Him)?

Any insights?

| Jim Brooks
Pastor, Grace Community Church
PO Box 537
Elma, WA 98541
(360) 482-3528
For lack of wood the fire goes out,
And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.
Proverbs 26:20