February 17 | John 7:10-24
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Valued and Recognized as Such
by Judy Webb
“You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. (John 7:20)
This is such an interesting reading today. I started to write on this when I realized that I mis-read something. I read verse 10: "However, after his brothers had left for the festival..." I didn't recognize that "his brothers" meant his siblings. I considered his apostles to be his brothers. This puts an entirely different focus for me. Jesus did not even have the support of his family, his flesh and blood family. His own brothers didn't believe in him.
Can your relate? Isn't this how it often goes? Those who are closest to us doubt that we can do amazing things. Our dreams are just that, dreams; never to become reality. They feel they know us so well that they are convinced nothing we can do can be considered remarkable. I often said I wanted to become a writer, but was discouraged because, “you can never make a living doing that!” So, I didn’t try, just dreamed.
"Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” (John 7:24)
Jesus’ own brothers discouraged him. They didn’t believe in him. How that must have hurt Jesus. He was fully human after all. But also, fully divine. Jesus had His Heavenly Father to lead Him forward. He also had his 12 disciples – three of whom held a very special place in His heart.
There are a number of take-aways from this reading today. First: don't squash someone's dream. Encourage and help them as much as you can. We can do great things when we are called to a certain task by God. Second: don't judge by appearances or past experience. We all change and grow as we follow Jesus. Third: Give the benefit of the doubt always. Today's dreamer may well be tomorrow's great artist, or builder, or scholar, or fill in the blank.
Dear Jesus, Give me a heart to believe in others. Teach me to encourage and not judge. Fill my spirit with the desire to build up and never to tear down. I want to learn how to expect the best from everyone I care about, and always to be faithful to pray for them.