John 7:1-5 (NLT)
1 After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. 2 But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, 3 and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! 4 You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” 5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.
Jesus was staying in Galilee, his hometown, because Jewish leaders were plotting to kill him for healing a man on the Sabbath. It was not out of fear he wished to stay, but it was not the right time for his death, which he knew was eventually coming. The Jewish Festival of shelters was a holy holiday, one of three, which Jewish men were required to attend. His brothers encouraged Jesus to attend, but they were doing so for their own reasons. They wanted to see if their brother could really be famous with the miracles he could perform. But they doubted him and so were they pushing Jesus to go prove himself.
The Great Debaters was a movie produced by Oprah Winfrey. Denzel Washington directed and starred in the movie. Denzel was a teacher who wanted his students from a historically southern black college to debate against white colleges in the 1930s. Oprah and Denzel took a few moments to reflect on the movie and talk about their own life moments. Oprah said, “When I was going through a hard time once, a woman handed me a note that said, “We’re praying for you.” I’ve never forgotten that. Denzel replied, “I walked in the house one day and—feeling full of myself, a movie star—I said to my mother, “Did you ever think this was all going to happen?” She was like, “Please. First of all, go wash the windows for me. You have no idea how many people have been praying for you when you were being a knucklehead.” These two had something in common; people had prayed for them. Oprah remembered the hard time she was having and how prayer became an encouragement. Denzel remembered the high feeling he had becoming famous, but his mother quickly reminded him people had prayed for him to get him where he was. The brothers of Jesus were hoping Jesus could somehow make the family famous, but Jesus was about doing what God required of Him. We all need to remember as Job learned, God can give and God can take away. Someone could be famous today and forgotten tomorrow. Always be in prayer for each other. Pray for your brothers and sisters that they would follow the will of God. Always be ready to pray for their encouragement.