popularity vs truth

John 7:2-9 (NLT)
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.
 6 Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. 7 The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. 8 You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” 9 After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.

Jesus' brothers appear to be encouraging him to do more public miracles and boost his popularity. Jesus responds with a reminder that he accuses the world of doing evil. We are told in v5 that his brothers didn't believe in him so whether their comments were meant seriously or sarcastically we can't be sure but , in the same way, we often assume the role of Jesus' public relations officer. The miraculous food and healings will impress people but the talk of sin and evil is a bit of a turn off, so maybe he (or we) should keep that quiet. It doesn't seem very loving to talk about sin.

But choosing popularity over truth is not loving, it is selfish. If a parent returns home to their kids going crazy and their spouse needing support in disciplining them, but instead chooses to give them ice cream and ignore the behaviour that has caused the distress - that is a choice of popularity over truth. It is not loving the children, it is the parent loving themselves by taking the easier option, it is the selfish choice.

Jesus was not, and is not, universally popular. But he loves us too much to choose popularity over truth.