Now that the heat was on and the religious leaders were intent on getting rid of Jesus, He stepped out of the public eye for a little while and avoided Judea. He knew that one day the time would come for Him to be handed over to them in order to fulfill what the Scriptures said would happen. But it wasn’t time yet.
When the Feast of Tabernacles came, Jesus’ brothers were all ready to accompany their famous brother on the journey to Jerusalem. They had grown to enjoy their brother’s popularity and had probably gained some of their own just by association. So, when Jesus told them He wasn’t going to go with them, they did not understand. They urged Him to go so His followers could continue to see what He was doing. After all, if He stayed out of the limelight for too long, He would lose his public recognition.
“You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” – John 7:4 NLT
It was clear that even Jesus’ own brothers did not believe in Him. They could not see why He had really come. They weren’t concerned with Jesus’ mission; they were selfishly seeking their own fame. If Jesus didn’t stay in the public eye, they would lose all their clout in Jerusalem.
Today there are many people seeking fame and popularity and using the Word of God to get it. They have bestselling books, popular podcasts, and far-reaching television shows, but their message is at best a watered-down version of the truth and at worst, a deceptive lie. They are false teachers. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Beware of the false prophets, [teachers] who come to you dressed as sheep [appearing gentle and innocent], but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them [that is, by their contrived doctrine and self-focus]. – Matthew 7:15-16 AMP
They may have started out proclaiming the true gospel message, but somewhere along the way, they got diverted. They started to like seeing their name on book covers or their face on T.V. and the message became threatened. Before they knew it, they were more concerned with pleasing their fans than with speaking the truth of God’s Word. Instead of thinking about how their message would glorify God, they started thinking about how it would impact their following. Instead of saving souls and making disciples they became concerned with saving face and making money.
Fame and fortune aren’t always bad, but they can be very dangerous. God may choose to allow you to gain a following, but only so that He will be glorified and the gospel can be preached. But the pride of the human heart makes it a very slippery slope. If God is using you to reach people, remember that you are just the vessel and it is not by your name that people are saved. It is only by Jesus’ name!
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others…You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. – Philippians 2:3,5