John 7:14-24: Hearing, Knowing, Doing, Discerning God’s Will
October 24, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Jesus now begins to teach at the great feast. He does so in the temple, in a public place, ensuring that what he is teaching can be heard. There is nothing wrong, and everything right, with ensuring that God’s Word is proclaimed as clearly, as widely, as publicly, and as powerfully as God wills, in the power of his Spirit. The act of preaching is to put God’s Word center stage—not our own personalities, but the Word of God.
The Jewish leaders marvel that Jesus is preaching with such great learning, though he had never formally studied in their religious schools. Part of the witness to Jesus’ divinity is the sheer brilliance of his teaching: no man ever taught thus. He is not only clear, he is deep; he is not only arresting, he is substantial; he is not only appealing, he can warn as well; he not only uses his stories, he also uses logic; he uses the Bible as well as the author of the Bible, for that is who he is.
We, in our humanity, must study in order to be able to speak—as Paul tells Timothy, we are to study to show ourselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15). But Jesus was sui generis—able to speak without any learning or study whatsoever. Who else can teach the Word better than the Word Incarnate?
A great secret of hearing God speak, and of understanding the Bible, is here given by Jesus: if anyone does God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God. Intellectual insight can help, learning is a useful tool, but a resonance with the truth of God comes as we ourselves follow in that truth, and echo its truth in our own desire to follow that truth. To know God’s will, we must first set ourselves to do God’s will. It is not surprising that the will of God remains hidden to those who break what they already know of that will.
They are out to kill him because he healed a man on a Sabbath (5:2-9). But how ironic is this! With devastating logic, Jesus exposes their hypocrisy: if a man can be circumcised on the Sabbath, why cannot a man be healed on the Sabbath? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. So often people do still judge by appearances, by the surface, by the form. If we are to judge rightly, though, we need to learn to discern by intent, by content, by truth, and not merely by dress codes and appearances and form.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
To receive God Centered Life devotionals directly in your inbox, as well as other resources, enter your email address in the form at the bottom of this page and click "subscribe."