Sunday, January 27, 2013
“Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews” (John 7:13 KJV).
You are not alone in being shy about witnessing for Jesus Christ….
A Christian sister recently asked me why she feels nervous when she gets opportunity to talk to people about Jesus Christ and the Bible. Sometimes she says nothing because she is afraid; other times, she is bold enough to speak. There are a few reasons for this.
In the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus’ brethren have come to Judaea (the region surrounding Jerusalem) to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, but He stays behind in Galilee (verses 2-9). When His brethren arrive, the Jews demand to know where He is (verses 10,11).
This inquiry excites the common people. Some say of Christ, “He is a good man,” while others say, “Nay; but he deceiveth the people” (verse 12). Notice the expression in this verse, “There was much murmuring among the people concerning him.” Murmuring is quiet speech, a near whisper. Some of them are grumbling criticism of Jesus Christ; others are praising Him. Contrast this with today’s Scripture: “Howbeit [However] no man spake openly of him….” These people will not utter anything about Jesus Christ in a normal tone. Instead, they talk about Him softly. The context explains their “hush-hush” attitude.
Jesus Christ has just delivered an extensive, “non-feel-good” sermon in John chapter 6, so chapter 7 opens with, “After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.” Thus, we see why the common Jews dare not publicly mention Jesus Christ. They fear persecution: “If they want to kill Jesus Christ, and He is not here, then what would they do to us if we even mention His name?!” This disdain for Jesus Christ’s name continues today.
A Christian pastor was recently sentenced to eight years in prison for evangelizing his relatives and friends in his native country. He certainly did not fear the public reaction to his ministry.
What is one of the reasons we grow shy when witnessing? We fear people’s reaction to the name of Jesus Christ!