Jesus Incognito

This scale was created by John Travis (pseudonym) and attempts to look at describe Christian communities in the context of their host culture.

The scale is as follows:

C1: Christian in churches radically different from their own culture, where worship is in a language other than their mother tongue.

C2: Same as C1, but worship is in the Christian’s mother tongue.

C3: Christians in culturally indigenous Christian churches that avoid cultural forms seen as connected to their religious past (i.e. Islamic, Buddhist, Post-Modernism, etc..)

C4: Christians in culturally indigenous congregations that retain biblically permissible past religious forms (e.g., prostrating in prayer, etc…), investing these with biblical meaning. They may call themselves something other than Christians (e.g., “followers of Jesus”), but do not see themselves as part of their previous religious belief system (i.e. Muslim, Buddhist, etc…).

C5: Muslims (Buddhists, etc…) who follow Jesus as Lord and Savior in fellowships of like-minded believers within the Muslim (Buddhist, etc…) community, continuing to identify culturally and officially as Muslims (Buddhists, etc…).

C6: Secret/underground believers.

John 7.1-24: Jesus Incognito

In chapter 6, Jesus is ministering around the Sea of Galilee. It begins with him feeding five thousand with a young boy’s lunch. The people were so appreciative of him, the declared, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world”. They want, a king to throw off the power of the Romans (in fact, historically the people of Capernaum took an active role against the Romans in war).

We want a King, a Saviour, a God in our image

Although man is made in the image of God, we like to cast God in the image of man. These people are no different for many of us in that they want to choose when God will be their leader and when he won’t. Like us, they want a God that they define, one that they control one that they empower, one that will give them what they want, when they want. If they don’t, like a King, we dispose our God and replace Him with a new one. It’s much “easier” to serve a god you make yourself—and we have a lot of them as Paul writes in 1Corintihians 8.

God doesn’t do what we think he should do…He’s God.

So, Jesus walks away from what might seem from man’s perspective, like an amazing opportunity to gain power, prestige, wealth, honor, etc.

1 TRUST GOD

These are things I love about Jesus. When he does the things that aren’t what you expect, that just don’t seem to be socially appropriate, that are often times the opposite of what we might do based on the circumstances. I think what we fail to understand is that God is God (Numbers 3.19, Isaiah 55.8-9)

The Bible records that Jesus has four different brothers, James, Jude, Joses, and Simon (also had sisters but names are not given Mark 6.3). It must have been hard to be the younger brother or sister of Jesus. He’s perfectly sinless, perfectly respectfully, always getting good grades, has all kinds of friends, the best carpenter, etc.

Where do we turn to first?

There is a very simple question we should all ask ourselves. When we’ve got a problem, something solve, whether it be needing a new job, mending a relationships, or just making a decision, Where do we turn frst? What do we depend on by default?

Although they don’t believe in him, they give him some ministry advice—good business suggestions full of world’s wisdom. Again, a lot of the wisdom of the world makes sense, and even appears like the right decision. But even the decisions that “feel” right, do we ever ask God’s opinion? Do we consider what he thinks is right?

v3 Go to Judea – bigger is better You’re spending your time in the sticks of Galilee. You need to get into the BIG CITY, the heart of the country, that’s where the real growth will happen.

v3 That your Disciples might See the works

Jesus had left a bunch of disciples right after he and his disciples had begun baptising. People were leaving John the Baptist and the Pharisees were getting concerned. They tell him, why don’t you go back to where you were popular?

v4 No one works in Secret

His brothers tell him that he’s working for a really small audience; in fact, you pretty much working without hope of growth because you’re not visible to the masses.

Jesus does not care if people see him doing God’s work or not, what’s important is that he’s doing God’s work.

v4 If you do these things, show yourself to the world

At the core of this final bit of advice is validation of Jesus identity from the world. It is as if their ultimate goal is the world’s acceptance and approval.

v5 Rejected by His family for doing God’s Will

It had to be hard to be the only one in his family following God’s Word. Everyone wants to be loved by their family, but Jesus said some very strong words about what happens when spiritual truth comes into part of a family and not the other. (Luke 12.49-53)

1. TRUST GOD’S TIMING…

My TIME has not yet come

· EVERY GOOD OPPORTUNITY IS NOT NECESSARILY AN OPEN DOOR

· EVERY CHALLENGE ISN’T NECESSARILY A CLOSED DOOR.

· HOW TO YOU DISCERN?

The World hates me…because I testify about it.

Timing has nothing to do with being liked or not. The world hates me because I expose the true hearts of men; I call evil what it is without “re-describing” it; I speak the truth that causes people to wince and they don’t like that. Our world has a wonderful tendency of changing EVIL to make it sound LESS EVIL. Specifically, Jesus speaks out against two things: (1) sin of the world (2) hypocrisy of the religious. The ultimate result of speaking out against either is suffering, even death.

The world will tolerate your opinions if you’ll just not talk about sin

The world does not hate Jesus because he claims to be the only way to God, or the messiah, or that he proclaims great truths about God. The world hates Jesus because he calls them to live differently. You will not be hated because you believe something different. You will be hated if what you believe expects anyone to change their behaviour. When you, we, they don’t like the truth, they will exchange their the “God” they followed for a new one that agrees with them. (1 Kings 22.8)

Jesus Incognito: goes up in Private

Jesus goes up in private after the stir has settled. He did not want to attract notice for fear that they will either make him King or kill him too soon. He knew it would not take place for another 6 months on Passover.

Muttering about Jesus: the crowd is divided

Take any crowd of people today and you will get varied answers to the question of “Who is Jesus?” Some will say he is a good man. Others will say he is a rebel. You’ll notice that both opinions are most likely based on innuendo, anecdote, not on Scripture.

Silence about Jesus: No one is speaking out loud in favour of him.

When church leadership begins to be feared there is a problem. Jesus does not instil fear. He brings conviction and compassion. Religion can only bring PRIDE or FEAR.

3. TRUST GOD JUDGEMENT

Jesus goes up private, then becomes known publicly for preaching the WORD

Determining a TRUE teacher and a FALSE one:

1. A true teacher of God aims to do God’s will

2. A teacher of God is does not seek for self

3. A teacher of God seeks for God’s glory

A True Teacher of God is deeply aware of God’s greatness and his unworthiness

All in all, teachers, preachers, men and women think much more of t

· I am least of all the saints (Eph. 3.8)
· I am not worthy to be called an Apostle (1Cor 15.9)
· I am chief of all sinners (1Tim 1.15)
· I will boast in my weaknesses (2Cor 12.9)

These people are not judging rightly.

Jesus recounts the reason why these Jews are so upset, the fact that he healed a man on the Sabbath. You break the law whenever you circumcise a child/mutilate the skin. How much better is it to heal than to mutilate on the Sabbath

Appearances are the judgments of earth

To judge by appearances is to judge according to man, what is right, what is wrong, who I am, what I should do, where I should go, when I should go….etc.  (Proverbs 3.5)