January 6, 2023
Bishop, W. F. Houston, Jr.
*Bible Study Reading: John 7:14–24
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.”
We are constantly reminded, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Why not? Because sayings like "not everything that glitters are gold" and "a beard doesn’t make the philosopher" are not always true. Because, as the saying goes, "beauty is only skin deep." An ancient proverb states that "things are rarely what they look, skim milk masquerades as cream," which can be paraphrased as "things are rarely what they appear."
Beloved, the metaphors above, like Jesus's teaching in today's passage, distinguish between apparent and essential truths. (v. 24). Many people were shocked by how much He knew and how authoritatively He taught.
Later, the apostles would do the same thing and shock the world. (Acts 4:13). Many people were under the impression that someone of this caliber would have undergone formal education at the hands of a Jewish rabbi; nevertheless, they were aware that Jesus had not done so. With this in mind, how could He instruct in the way He did? (v. 15).
The uncertainty that spread across the audience was completely understandable.
As people mature, they learn skills and information needed to succeed in life from various instructors and situations. Jesus was born into a human family and went through the typical developmental stages of a human being. Still, at the same time, He was also the Second Person of the Trinity and was consequently all-knowing. When He asserted His divine authority, as He did in verse 16, it was entirely warranted, but they judged Him to be "demon possessed" and "lost his mind." (v. 20; John 10:18–20). They couldn't conceptualize a Messiah who was both suffering and authoritative at the same time. That’s because they lacked spiritual insight; therefore, they couldn’t comprehend that Jesus was both fully human and entirely divine. Jesus clarified that His teaching did not come through a rabbi but directly from the Father. (v. 16).
Only those who have responded to God with faith and obedience will be able to comprehend this
(v. 17). The fact that He wanted the glory of the Father is an additional piece of evidence that His teaching is accurate (v. 18). Therefore, Christ's message defied human assumptions in this way!
*Beloved, it should be expected that Christian education will follow the same structure.
God can and will choose individuals to implant and install His guiding doctrine without the assistance of a human educational institution.
Let Us Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, just like the audience in the narrative, we also tend to let our prior experiences sometimes cloud our judgment. Give us the discernment to notice the unexpected elements of who You are, even if it defies our preconceived notions of what we already know about You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.