John 4:1-3 : When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
In this passage, Jesus decided to stop his disciples from baptizing in Judea and travel back to His home region of Galilee up north. Jesus didn’t want to continue when He heard that the Pharisees knew He was getting more popular than John. Now, to be very clear, I don’t know for sure why He did this, but we have other instances when Jesus stopped short of allowing Himself to get popular, when He turned the water into wine (John 2:1-11 and the post: “Good Timing”) may have been another time.
It is clear from those times Jesus didn’t allow Himself to be popular until God’s time for it had come. Instead of paying close attention to getting more popular, Jesus paid close attention that God’s will was done and He, instead, ensured that He didn’t get popular. God’s will was all-important to Jesus and this serves as an important example to us.
Does this mean that we should try to become unpopular? Not at all. The point here is that we seek and do the will of God above all else, even if it goes against getting popular. Jesus was later to allow popularity when it was God’s timing. Doing what God wants is really the only intelligent thing to do if you want to have the best life possible. Your life on earth will be better, even though we will still have many troubles, but your eternal life in Heaven will be much longer than the mortal one here.
In this world’s system, we see that it is normal to ignore God and focus only on this world. The way the world works is clearly not the way God wants Christians to be. We should seek God’s will as a top priority over everything else because the future is more important than the present. I don’t believe that finding God’s will is that difficult. God made us and He knows that we will work the way He made us. I am confident that God works with our desires. Sometimes, however, God makes it clear to us that His way goes against our natural desire and He expects us to choose the correct path. If we don’t follow His way, we will be sorry. God is the creator as we learned in chapter one, and He really does know what is best for His creation.
One of the great things about the Bible is that it is full of instructions about good things that He wants us to do everyday. One of them is getting to know His word like we are doing now:
2 Timothy 2:15 : Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth.
It is important for us to not forget that no matter what good works we do, we will need to stay connected to Jesus. We need His strength to do good. Jesus says later in John:
John 15:5 : I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.