Good morning. Jeanette Stark here. It is Tuesday, August 9, 2022.
It is extremely hard when people do not believe us. Maybe it is a belief you hold. Perhaps a misunderstood statement or action. It could be as simple as your understanding of a news event.
Now imagine you have been convicted of a crime that you did not commit. The testimony hinged on a single witness and now you are headed for prison. You are innocent! But they know what they saw, and they saw you!
In 2001 in Virginia, 24-year-old Royal Clark Jr. was charged and convicted of armed robbery at a Burger King. Clark's photo was included in a photo lineup. Three Burger King employees picked his photo from the lineup.
While there was a cup used by the person who robbed the Burger King left at the scene of the crime, the fingerprints on the cup were determined to be "unusable."
While six employees testified in court, only one said they were certain it was Clark who had committed the robbery. The employees' accounts of what the person who robbed the store looked like differed from Clark's appearance.
Some employees said that the person who robbed the store had no tattoos and had no gold on his teeth. Clark did, in fact, have tattoos and gold caps on his teeth. In addition, the employees' descriptions were not consistent with each other—they had different memories on what the person looked like at all.
Many of Clark's physical characteristics were inconsistent with what witnesses claim they saw of the person who committed the crime. However, Clark was sentenced to 49-and-a-half years in prison for armed robbery in 2003.
In 2018, the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal organization, took on Clark's case. The lawyers at the Innocence Project had a piece of evidence—the cup with fingerprints—resubmitted to a crime lab for analysis. The DNA results revealed that the fingerprints belonged to an entirely different man: 54-year-old Jessie Perry.
Royal Clark Jr. was released from prison in 2019.
Most people simply want to be seen, heard, and believed. But what if that is not the case for you? You are not alone. In fact you are in very good company.
Jesus’ own brothers did not believe in Him. John chapter 7 gives us a glimpse.
“After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For even His brothers did not believe in Him.” John 7:1-5 NKJV
Even His brothers did not believe in Him.
If we know His brothers did not believe in Him, then we can probably safely assume that when they were telling Him to return to Judea, it was not kind. At the very least they were teasing Him, mocking Him.
The story goes on to say that the brothers went to the feast and Jesus stayed behind in Galilee saying His time had not come. However, at some point, He changed His mind and went up, “not openly, but as it were in secret.” - verse 10.
The Jews were looking for Jesus at the feast. There was a lot of complaining among people regarding Jesus and they did not all agree. Some said He was good, others charged that He deceived people.
Thousands of travelers attended the feast for 8 days each year. Leviticus 23 describes the feast. It was about the middle of that feast when Jesus went into the temple and taught.
“And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”
Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?”
The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” – verses 15-24 NKJV
The story goes on “when some of the people of Jerusalem said, “Isn’t this the one they were out to kill? And here he is out in the open, saying whatever he pleases, and no one is stopping him. Could it be that the rulers know that he is, in fact, the Messiah? And yet we know where this man came from. The Messiah is going to come out of nowhere. Nobody is going to know where he comes from.”
That provoked Jesus, who was teaching in the Temple, to cry out, “Yes, you think you know me and where I’m from, but that’s not where I’m from. I didn’t set myself up in business. My true origin is in the One who sent me, and you don’t know him at all. I come from him—that’s how I know him. He sent me here.”
They were looking for a way to arrest him, but not a hand was laid on him because it wasn’t yet God’s time. Many from the crowd committed themselves in faith to him, saying, “Will the Messiah, when he comes, provide better or more convincing evidence than this?” John 7:25-30 The Message
This chapter concludes on the last day of the feast when Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” – verses 37-39 NKJV
There were many in the crowd that heard what Jesus was saying and they believed he was the Prophet, the Christ. Still others did not believe Him. In fact, Jesus went to the torturous cross with most of the world not believing Him.
Time is not only a healer, but also often a ‘teller’.
When people don’t believe you, keep pressing on. Don’t give up. Keep the faith. Just never give up. Perhaps all that is needed is patience and love and a little bit more time.