family friction | John 7.2-5
Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. John 7.2-5 | ESV
But he couldn’t stay away forever.
The time for the great fall festival, Tentmaker, rolled around (their version of “family camp” – this was one of three great annual national holy celebrations and everyone who possibly could went up to Jerusalem to experience it – camping out for a week! For God! In a tent!).
And so, having packed their own bags, Jesus’ brothers, with a bit of an attitude, challenged him, “Time to pack your bags, Jesus, and head to Judea, so all of your fans and followers can get an eye-full of all those stupendous works of yours you’re always doing. Isn’t it time for you to get some press coverage? Who in their right mind acts all coy, performing feats on the sly, all the while hungering for headlines? If you really are doing the stuff, Mr. Big Stuff, it’s time to come out of the closet!” The number of people Jesus could really count on was indeed shrinking. His brothers didn’t even stand behind him. MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
It’s been quite fashionable in some circles to speak of “family values” in the Bible.
So, I’m trying to think of a healthy, functioning, Biblical family.
Okay, I’m sure they’re there. I know they are. It’s just, well, I can’t think of any at the moment. Whether the first family of Adam and Eve, or Noah, or Abraham and Sarah, or any of their kids, or Moses, or David, well, they’re all just so broken, so human.
And Jesus’ family thought he was nuts.
They even came to “take charge of him,” demanding an immediate audience outside one of his full gatherings, interrupting the proceedings via messenger.
“Not even his brothers believed in him.”
The world may be hostile and harsh, but at least there is hearth and home… But then there’s that nagging hard saying of Jesus, echoing ancient voices: “A man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” Jesus even went so far as to say that a prophet gets recognized everywhere but at home. A point his hometown crowd in Nazareth was more than happy to underscore by trying to throw him off a cliff.
Home life can be, well, rough.
In fact it can be the roughest.
Perhaps it’s the much smaller margins for escape, for distance. Close quarters tend to result in close combat, the closer the connection, the greater the potential friction. Now throw a turning-the-world-upside-down Jesus into the mix, and the conflict can increase exponentially.
And yes, it doesn’t help when we are jerks for Jesus at home, either.
But leaving that aside, family life is still going to be one of the most challenging rivers to navigate in life – but it also typically leads us to the grandest views. So like the rest of life, it’s a matter of understanding and embracing its rhythms, the ins and the outs, the highs and the lows, and finding the good through and in all of it, the good through and in each other.
And, sometimes, just maybe, if we stick around long enough, we might find that those snarky brothers who challenge us, disappoint us, and refuse to stand with us, become, in the end, our greatest allies and bestest of friends.
Is your home “home” for you? How well do you navigate the currents of conflict in your home life? Where are you facing challenges there right now?
Abba, show me how to embrace the rhythms of life with home and family – the good, the bad and the ugly. Make me an instrument of peace, especially in home and hearth; beat familial swords into plows. Your word says, “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of justice.” Show me how to bring that reality home. Through Christ.