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Jesus breaks the mold
John 7.14-18 – About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. 15 The Jews were astonished at it, saying, “How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?”
16 Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. 17 Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. 18 Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.”
The leadership mold, both then and now, involves graduation from an accredited institution of higher learning. Jesus’ schooling involved an apprenticeship in a carpentry shop, so people assumed.
Jesus had a pure and powerful message, because he did not seek his own glory. Please note, “glory” is not the glory dance a football player does after a touchdown. “Glory” is literally the uncovering of the nature of God.
Jesus was sent to reveal God’s essential character. He had no desire to reveal anything separate from the character of his Father in heaven. What he showed was God’s great love for humankind. Because of this, Jesus’ picture of God is absolutely true.
If you have any issues in life concerning who God is and what his purposes are, look to Jesus. Jesus came to explain and to reveal God (John 1.18).
When we choose to do God’s will, it opens the door of our understanding. This choice, plus a study of Jesus’ life, is absolutely essential to knowing and understanding the will of God.
Another argument with a purpose
John 7.19-24 – “Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?”
20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?”
21 Jesus answered them, “I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. 23 If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
When I have taught this passage in the past, I attempted to convey the problem Jesus faced with healing on the sabbath with the following illustration. Suppose I preach a powerful and insightful sermon, but follow it by going outside the church building and burning the American flag. What kind of response would I get?
The sabbath was more sacred to Jewish people of Jesus’ day than the American flag is to us today. People couldn’t hear Jesus words or accept his message, because they were so offended by his healing on the sabbath (see John 5 for the event of healing on the sabbath).
The key to not being tripped up by our conventional beliefs is found in verse 24. “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” If we “resolve to do the will of God” (verse 17), the Spirit will lead us to see deeply into Jesus’ actions today. The Spirit will guide us to evaluate what God is doing today.
Everywhere we turn, corona virus is the discussion. What is God up to with this disease that is sweeping the world? In the midst of the difficulties this virus is causing, we can resolve to do God’s will and we can attempt to understand the world through God’s eyes.
The people of God can align our lives with God’s will and pray for God’s will to be done on the earth just as it is in heaven. Our prayers open the door for God’s activity on earth (Revelation 3.20) during troubling and confusing times.
Dear God, today I resolve to do your will. I also resolve to be open to what you are doing, asking that you remove from my thinking preconceived ideas of what you should do. My third resolution is to pray each day for the world, aligning my will with your plans and purposes.