Christ’s Authority from the Father

Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. 15 And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”

16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 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. 18 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. 19 Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?”

20 The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?”

21 Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. 22 Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 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? 24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”John 7:14-24.

About the middle of the feast, Jesus goes public by teaching in the temple. The Jews are amazed at his teaching because he does not teach like the others, nor has his teaching come from a formal rabbinical school. He declares that His doctrine is from God. He asks why they want to kill Him. They respond by saying that this is not so and that He is demon-possessed. He shows the inconsistent hypocrisy of their agreeing to circumcise on the Sabbath, while judging Him for making someone well on the Sabbath. He accuses them of not judging righteously and only with regard to external appearance.

To speak on our own authority is to seek our own glory. The one who seeks the Father’s glory is true. How do we know that we are true disciples? We seek the Father’s glory alone, not our own. Normally, we want things to be about us. We want people to serve us, respect us, and pay attention to us. However, true disciples love the glory of God, seek the glory of God, and point to the glory of God, not themselves. Loving the will of God leads to obedience.

The Jews fail to realize that Jesus’ divine knowledge is able to know their hearts and their thoughts. They tell Jesus that he is demon-possessed meaning they do not take him seriously. They ask him who is trying to kill him.

“I did one work, and you all marvel” (v.21). — Jesus reminds them of the Sabbath miracle that he did in Jerusalem last time he was there (cf. John 5:16) when he healed an invalid at the pool on the Sabbath.

“Moses therefore gave you circumcision” (v.22). — Jesus says that Moses gave them the Law of circumcision but the circumcision law actually came before Moses, from the patriarchs. The Law of Moses commanded that boys be circumcised on the eighth day. What were they supposed to do if the eighth day fell on the Sabbath? They would circumcise on the Sabbath day and it was not considered breaking of the Sabbath law. They circumcised so that the Law would not be broken. So how could they be angry with Jesus for healing on the Sabbath? If circumcision perfected the body in keeping the Law, then healing the whole body also perfects one for keeping the Law. Obviously the Sabbath was not to prevent people from doing the will of God.

“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (v.24) — Jesus does not say that a person should never judge. What he is saying is that judgment should not be based on appearances or on human standards, but on the basis of God’s word. The people are judging by misconceptions and drawing wrong conclusions. They need a more authentic basis for their judgments. True faith does not reject the truth. True believers do not use superficial, physical standards as the basis for judgment. They do not care about traditions, rules, and perceptions. They only care about what the word of God says. The teachings of Jesus are the only standard to obey. The people were missing out on having true saving faith and a relationship with Jesus because they were judging according to false standards. [Adapted from John Bible Study (That You May Believe) by Brent Kercheville.]

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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