[John 7:1-24] Dealing with Familiar Spirits: In Part 1 of John 7, Jesus is confronted by His family because they don’t like the bad light He is casting them in. Jesus’ natural family was sorely disadvantaged by the things that Jesus said and did. They want to stop Him, and if they can’t stop Him, they want Him to get things over with and bring an end to the pressure they are experiencing because of who He is and what He is doing. Have you ever inconvenienced your family because of your obedience to God?
[Jhn 7:1-24 KJV] 1 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2 Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. 3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. 4 For [there is] no man [that] doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. 5 For neither did his brethren believe in him. 6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. 7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. 8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. 9 When he had said these words unto them, he abode [still] in Galilee. 10 But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. 11 Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? 12 And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. 13 Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews. 14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. 15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? 16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself. 18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. 19 Did not Moses give you the law, and [yet] none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? 20 The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. 22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. 23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? 24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Because the Jews were heated in their rage against Jesus, He excluded Himself from Judea for a time, choosing the comparative safety of Galilee, where the temple assassins could not easily reach Him. This was at the time when the Feast of Tabernacles drew near. When He arrives back in His home area, his brothers (the natural children of Joseph and Mary, born after Jesus) sought Him out. They have observed His behavior and feel as though He has inconvenienced the family with the attention He has drawn to Himself. They have reached the limit of their tolerance, and since they can’t compel Him to stop doing what He is doing, they want to push Him even further, hoping perhaps that He would end up in prison like John the Baptist, and the family could regain their anonymity and safety from the jeopardy of being connected with Jesus. Their concerns were not without cause, in seeking to distance themselves from Jesus. They sensed that whatever happened next, it wouldn’t go well with the relatives of this itinerant preacher, and they were right. In the years ahead, every one of these men, their wives, and their families would be hunted down and brutally killed by both the Jews and the Romans. Does this justify their deception? Has your family ever distanced themselves from you because of your walk with God? This is what Jesus is experiencing.
Jesus brothers approach Him and say, “if you are who you claim to be, go show yourself to the world…” In other words, don’t bring your trouble to our door, go back to Judea, and announce yourself. Can you hear the demons speaking through them? This is what happened when Jesus cast the legion of devils out of the Gadarene. The people of that city came out saying, “depart from us.” You will remember that Jesus did precisely that. Many times when Jesus cast out devils, the demons would cry out and complain that Jesus was tormenting “them before the time.” When demons or people under demonic influence start complaining to you, they will object to two things: 1.) who do you think you are, and 2.) we don’t like the timing of what you are doing.
Jesus answers in v. 6 and says to them, “your time is always ready. My time is not yet…” In other words, His family members are always ready to get what they want or in your own case to see you give in to their expectations. You have to make a decision as Jesus has, to only do what He sees the Father do (John 5:19), and to make your decisions as you hear Him speak (John 5:30) and not give in to any other set of pressures, regardless from whence they originate. When family members or friends give you this kind of resistance, realize that you are not wrestling against flesh and blood, you are confronting in the faces and words of your loved ones nothing less than a familiar spirit. Familiar spirits generationally attach themselves to families in order to defeat the purposes of God in that family line. Demons work by assignment, just like angels do.
Jesus dismisses His brothers, refusing to give in to their demands. When is the last time you refused to cooperate with the demands and expectations family put on you because of what God had instructed? This is why Jesus said in the book of Luke:
[Luk 14:26 KJV] 26 If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
He is saying that we should be prepared for times when we are going to have to go against the family if we are going to obey God. How will you ever do this when our pastors so many times have insisted that the church is built on family and that family is more important than anything else? They will say, “it’s all about the children, you have to put the children first…” No, you don’t. Our lives are not to be centered on our children, and if they are, what are we teaching them? If we put our children in place of priority where only Christ should sit we have turned our children into leering idols and what you put between you and God will not prosper. Is there any wonder we live in a day when families are fragmented as at no other time in human history? We passed through 50 years from the 1930s to the 1980s, where the family was emphasized and put before anything else, and the end result was ruin because we left God out and taught our children to do likewise.
In v. 10, Jesus brothers departed and did go up to the feast, and inexplicably Jesus secretly follows them. He is doing in secret precisely what He told His brothers He would not do. When is the last time you did something in secret obedience to God and didn’t even tell your family about it, even though you knew once they did find out it wouldn’t go well with you or them? We get ourselves into much unnecessary trouble because we don’t know how to be quiet. Let me help you with this – get it down in your spirit that you are a gatherer of information and not a dispenser of information. Everyone does not need to know about everything that is going on in your life. They have a saying that goes like this: TMI. Too Much Information. Many things that God has told you to do didn’t work out like you thought because you told too many people. You told so many people, and they had so many opinions about what you claimed God said that it caused a feedback loop in the spiritual atmosphere, of white noise and confusion and ultimately torpedoed the very outcome and breakthrough God had intended for you to experience.
Keep this in mind: Jesus’ family was counseling Him, but He didn’t do what they wanted Him to do. I thought the bible says there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors? Here is where we expose the tyranny of popular opinion. Just because everybody thinks it isn’t such a good idea, doesn’t mean that God isn’t telling you to do it. Just because no one else is doing what God is assigning you to do, doesn’t mean that you have missed God. Learn to limit your counselors. Your counselors are only as good as the information they are passing on to you.
Look at the life of the person who is counseling you. If you don’t want your life to look like their life, then I suggest you don’t listen to or seek out their counsel. Why would you talk to someone with a bad marriage about your marriage? Why would you talk to someone in financial failure about your money situation? Why would you let someone who hasn’t fulfilled their destiny in God about your calling? They can’t give you what they don’t have. My wife and I have many, many people in our lives that we love and respect and when they give us their views we listen with politeness and respect but we know in our hearts whether we should be acting on what they say. Go out and find someone walking in greater breakthrough and benefit that you are, who is experiencing more favor in God than you have, who has a heavier anointing and a greater glory from God being manifest in their life and GET IN THAT PERSON’S LIFE no matter what it takes. My wife and I have spent 10’s of 1000’s of dollars and hundreds of hours of travel to get in the lives of those we knew were operating in the things of God beyond what we were. It paid off. These were men and women who were doing what God told them to do and guess what? They were not standing around volunteering to give us their opinion. They were busy. It took time and effort, repeated effort to get just one hour in their presence. We didn’t give up, and we didn’t go empty-handed. One young man complained to me once, “you don’t have enough time for me!” I answered him, “Son, it isn’t about you!”. When Jesus called the 12, it was said that they were ORDAINED TO BE WITH HIM … not the other way around. Things are the way they are because of what you are doing if you want something different; you must do something different.
Jesus arrives at the feast, and the city of Jerusalem is ablaze with conflict over who Jesus was. Was He a good man or a bad man? Was He good for the city, or was He a negative influence? Then out come the scoffers in v. 15. They wanted to know what Jesus’ education was. How many letters did He have after His name? What graduate school did He do His doctoral thesis in? Where did He learn the things that He is teaching? Jesus simply answers, “my doctrine is not mine, but His that sent Me…” He doesn’t question Himself; He questions everyone else. He basically concludes that only people who were already doing the will of God would ever be able to recognize just how right He was and that He came from God and taught the words of God. He points out that they are men who, by their traditions, break the law of God every day, but they were going about to kill Jesus because they didn’t like how He was acting on the Sabbath. Do you see how face answers to face? The thing that offended them about Jesus was what was in their own hearts.
When you get offended, it is a good idea to always take a look at yourself. If you look at someone and have a response other than a redemptive one, it is because of one of two things – either you are doing the same thing in some area of your own life, or you are carrying unforgiveness toward someone in your past that the offending situation reminds you of. Because Jesus isn’t telling them what they want to hear, they conclude He has a devil. Why? Because He is hitting too close to home. Jesus simply dismisses their hypocrisy and instructs them not to judge according to outward appearance but to judge righteous judgment. What is righteous judgment? Righteousness is the standard by which we stand upright before God without fear. In other words, don’t judge situations according to our own insecurities but look and the things and situations around us through the lens of the finished work of the cross in you and in them and proceed accordingly.