About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Jesus Teaches At The Feast (ch. 7:14-24)

 

In verse 14 John tells us that Jesus remained somewhat unnoticed until the half way point of the feast, and then He went up to the temple.  Once again, itís a matter of timing. What Jesus does He intestinally does.  He has a purpose for everything He does.  The purpose here was seen in the past section.  He wanted to go to the feast secretly, not with a crowd of people.   

 

In verse 15 we note that the Jews were amazed at Jesus.  He knew so much without putting in the years of study as the rabbis of the day would have.  Of course, Jesus is from eternity.  He knew all things perfectly well, long before He ever was born into humanity.  We understand this today, but those listening to Jesus back then didnít understand it. 

 

The question could be raised at this point; "What did Jesus, as a man, know and not know?"  This might be a difficult question to fully answer.  Jesus was fully man, but on the other hand, He was fully God, or so I understand the Bible to say.  If Jesus had any limitations when it came to understanding, I'm sure He was helped along in this matter by God His Father, because, as we have seen before, what He said and did was specifically what He heard His Father telling Him to say and do.  This is in fact confirmed in verse 16 where Jesus says that his teaching comes from God, His Father. 

 

Jesus says that He always speaks the words that the One who sent Him tells Him to speak.  In verse 17 He clarifies that whoever chooses to do Godís will, he will know whether my teaching comes from God or myself. 

 

This would be irritating to the Jewish leadership.  Jesus is suggesting that they are not doing Godís will as they claim because they donít accept His teaching.  These are the words that get Jesus into trouble.  If He would simply teach about peace and love as many do today, Heíd be fine.  No one would bring any harm to Him. 

 

In verse 18 Jesus says that if one speaks on his own account, heís only bringing honour to himself, but if you or anyone speaks on behalf of someone who sent him, he brings honour to the one who sent him.  That makes sense. An ambassador, as Jesus was, speaks on behalf of his country and his head of state.  He is promoting his country, and not himself.  The country is the important issue.  Individual personalities are not the issue at hand with an ambassador.  Jesus is an ambassador, promoting what God wants Him to promote.  He could care less about His own personal identity, and how people view Him.  We as ambassadors for Jesus should have the same frame of mind.  We should not be so interested in how people view us.  We should be more interested in how people view Jesus, and, how people view Jesus is a direct result of what we do and say.  How we live our lives either gives honour to Jesus or dishonour to Him. As Jesus says here, the man who cares less about bringing honour to himself is a man of truth and there is no falseness in him.

 

In our day of superstar preachers, you can tell a real man of God by the way he deals with the issue of honour.  If he presents himself in such a way that brings honour to him, be careful.  You can't trust such a person. If, however, he or she is humble and brings honour to Jesus, know that he or she is in fact a person who God has sent your way.    

 

In verse 19 Jesus then puts the Jews on the spot.  He knows they are ready to kill Him.  He says that Moses gave you the Law which you donít even keep yourself.  His reasoning is that if the Jews donít keep the Law, why should they try to kill Him for being a Law breaker?  In fact the Jews were attempting to kill Jesus which in itself is breaking the Law of Moses.  I think the Jews would have gotten this message.  You can't claim to keep the law when you are out to kill me.

 

Well this really makes the crowd mad at Him because of course they feel that they do obey the Law of Moses.  In verse 20 they tell Jesus that He is demon-possessed and that He is paranoid.  They ask Jesus, "Who is trying to kill you?"  I'm not sure about this question.  Did not the crowd know that the Jewish leadership was out to kill Jesus?  I would think they would know that.  

 

In verse 21 Jesus says that He did one miracle and

as a result the crowd is astonished.  What one miracle Jesus is talking about may be debatable.  Maybe He performed a miracle that John did not record.  Maybe the miracle spoken of is the miracle of healing the man by the pool on the Sabbath as we saw back in chapter 5.  This might be the case because of what Jesus says next.  

 

From verse 22, to the end of this section, Jesus raises the point concerning the Sabbath, another topic that got Jesus in trouble.  Remember, He healed the man in chapter 5 on the Sabbath.  Although this issue was not as irritating to the Jews as His claim to deity, it was nonetheless important to them. 

 

Then Jesus points out that Moses gave them circumcision, although it really wasnít Moses but the Patriarchs.  The Patriarchs is a reference to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  This is an important point that Jesus is making here that is often overlooked.  Many things in the Law of Moses were already in existence before God gave the law to Israel through Moses.  Circumcision was one of these practices that preceded the law but was codified in the law.  Codified means to put into code form or put into law or rule form.  Tithing and animal sacrifices are examples of things that were already practiced before the Law of Moses but was codified, or established in writing in the Law.

 

Jesus says that if you can circumcise a baby on the Sabbath, why canít I heal a person on the Sabbath?  His argument makes good sense.

 

Then, in verse 24 Jesus tells them to stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.  The reason why Jesus makes this statement is because of what He says in verse 23.  He pointed out that the Pharisees were angry with Him for healing on the Sabbath when they perform circumcisions on the Sabbath.  Jesus is saying that if you're going to judge me then judge me rightly; make a correct judgment.  Don't just judge me by what you think you see.   

 

This verse tells us something about how Jesus views judging.  Jesus does not believe we should never judge a person or a situation.  We are to judge, yet we are to judge based on righteous standards, and not simply on what appears on a surface level.  We are to find out the facts of a person or situation before we judge.  We cannot simply make a snap judgment based on what we see.  Then beyond this, our motivation for judging must be pure.  

 

Concerning the "do not judge" statement that Jesus makes in Matthew 7:1; we should take those words in their immediate context.  What Jesus is teaching in this section of Matthew is that how you judge others will determine how they judge you.  If you judge others in a hypocritical fashion they will judge you in the same way.  Jesus goes on to say that before you attempt to take the log out of your bother's eye, take the spec of dust out of your eye.  Only then can you judge and help the person correctly and righteously.  It's important to know that Jesus does not tell us not to judge in the Matthew 7 passage as many people think.  He actually tells us how to judge in Matthew 7 and also here in this passage.   

 

Much of western Christianity has it wrong when it says that Christians are not to judge.  Nowhere in the Bible is such a statement made.  We are to judge, but, as Jesus says here, we judge not by appearance but by the facts of righteous judgment

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