Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”
“You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”
Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
In John 7, we find Jesus teaching in the temple courts during the Feast of Tabernacles. We find that the Jews who had gathered for the feast were amazed at Jesus’ teaching. They also took notice that Jesus had no formal rabbinical education. Jesus’ response to this was that His teaching came directly from God. He then attacked their pride by letting them know that they truly weren’t keeping the law that Moses gave them. Their response to this was to say that Jesus was “demon-possessed.” Jesus then referenced a miracle He had performed on the Sabbath. Then He went on to demonstrate how they would actually circumcise a child on the Sabbath, breaking the letter of the law. Jesus was showing them their own inconsistency in their practice. In trying to keep the law, they broke the law. He ended this dialogue with, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”
They were judging Jesus based on a faulty understanding of the law. Jesus warned them about making superficial judgments. This is still a struggle with most of us today. We make superficial judgments because we don’t have all the facts. With all the civil unrest that we are seeing, let us be careful to listen and get all the facts. Sometimes we get offended when we hear certain phrases coming from people who feel marginalized. Because we are offended, we stop listening. When we stop listening, we fail to get all the facts, and we fail to make right judgments. God’s Word instructs us, “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” In pastoral counseling, I often instruct people, “Seek to understand, not to be understood.” Right now, it’s time to listen, so that we make right judgments about things that have the potential to destroy our nation. Let us “Stop judging people based on mere appearances!”
Questions to Ponder:
Are you easily offended? Do you find that you stop listening when you hear something you disagree with? Do you make judgments based on external appearances? Do you always get all the facts before making a judgment about something? Are you quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry?
- Ask God to enable you to be slow to speak and quick to listen. Ask Him to help you seek to understand.
- Ask God to reveal areas around injustice where you have wrong thinking. Ask Him to give you insight into His heart and mind to feel what He feels and think what He thinks.
Lord, have mercy upon me a sinner. As I confess my sins, I pray that you would strengthen and guide me. Enable me to see You ever before me. Help me to see each person made in Your image Lord. Enable me to love others they way You do. Grant me and Your church a willing heart to walk in the way of love, to surrender our own ideas and our own agendas. Grant us power from Your Holy Spirit to serve others, to care for them, and to live out Your Word through our words and actions. Out of sincere and genuine hearts of love, let us be ones who mourn with our brothers and sisters of color, walk alongside them, hire or empower them, and to give them a voice and power to exercise. Strengthen Your church in this hour oh God. Grant justice to those hurting and those oppressed. I ask in the power Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.