Day 22: John 7:14-24

Jesus makes a pretty interesting claim in this passage. He has been teaching in the temple courts, and to the amazement of the Jewish leadership, his teaching is profound and authoritative. Yet they comment that he has had no “formal training”, by which they likely mean he has not studied as a disciple of a known and recognized rabbi. Jesus clearly had learned the Scriptures well from an early age, he communed often with the Father and followed him obediently, he had a pure heart for the things of God, unstained by personal ambition, and was wise beyond his years. Yet while the leaders are amazed by Jesus, they are not approving.

Here’s where the claim comes in. As they are pondering how he came by his wisdom, and how they should respond to it, Jesus says to them, “My teaching is not from me, but from the one who sent me. If anyone wants to do God’s will, he will know about my teaching, whether it is from God or whether I speak from my own authority.”  

Interesting…there is a link between the ability to discern the spiritual truth in Jesus’ teaching and the orientation of the hearts of his listeners. There is a sense in which the Spirit of God in the listener resonates with the Spirit of God in Jesus and recognizes itself. There is a knowing that is given by the Spirit.

But there is also an unspoken assumption that if anyone wants to do God’s will, they will do what they can to help that along. They will study the Scriptures. They will habitually be in prayer. They will practice learning discernment in life’s decisions. How desperately we in the church need to be wise in these ways, to grow up to maturity in Jesus. And how crucial it is that we apply that wisdom to the voices, the teaching, the influences we hear constantly, both in the church and out. By whose authority, truly, are they speaking? If we answer that question, we will be able, as Jesus commands here, to “judge with proper judgment.”

Questions: Have you ever sensed that your spirit resonated well with what someone was saying?

Have you ever had the feeling that something about what you were hearing was not quite right?

How do you discern truth from deception?

Prayer: God, there is no darkness and no deception in you. Keep shining the light of your Spirit into the very depths of our souls until there is no darkness, nothing false – only what you intend there.

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