Strengthened by a brief time with His Mother, Jesus gave His brothers a good head start and then made the trip to Jerusalem secretly. He knew the officials would be seeking to arrest Him. They made a quiet public search for Jesus, interviewing who people had seen and heard Him. Alerted to the danger, believers guarded their reports to help Him avoid arrest. Meanwhile the debate over Him raged on.
“Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.”
Teaching in the Temple
When the feast was well underway, Jesus came out of the shadows. He entered the Temple and began to teach. His words had lost none of their power. Just as today when His voice is truly heard, strong men wept at His words so great was the conviction on their hearts. Women straightened bent backbones, laden by the burden of societal devaluation and stood tall and straight in His message of equality before God. Unlike the mumbling drone of the priests, His voice rang with an authority no one could match or explain. It was like the trump of God, musical and mandatory; it was pleasant to the ear and it demanded to be heard.
The usual teachers were put to public shame. They could not compete, nor could they debate; all they could do was question.
“How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”
Jesus laughed at the question, exiting others in the crowd to join Him. Red faces glowed beneath the headdresses and vestments of the bedecked priests and Levites. Embarrassed by His laughter, they let the question stand until Jesus answered.
“My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.”
Jesus cited the source of His teaching as Jehovah Himself. That was no way to silence His opponents, but it was simply the truth. The opinions of the keepers of the Law and its commentaries were not at all relevant to Jesus. The confirmation of Jesus’ message was the inner witness that comes with the Word of God. Jesus then detailed some of the commandments of Moses, citing the inner witness of the truth of the Word of God. Believers did not believe because it was tradition, but because it somehow rang true deep in their spirits.
“If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.”
All Glory to God
Everything Jesus said and did was intended to bring glory to God, not glory to Himself.
“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.”
By then, the hostility of the critics in the crowd burned white hot. Jesus knew they sought His life.
“Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law?
Why do you seek to kill Me?”
They accused Him of being possessed by demons.
“Who is seeking to kill You?”
Jesus knew all they were looking for was an opportunity. He appealed to whatever shreds of logic they had left.
“…are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?”
The illogic of their logic brought a momentary silence to the crowd. Jesus seized the moment.
“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
The people calmed a bit, many of them thinking, “Could this man be the Christ?”
But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?” And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews. Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?” Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
Lord Jesus, Your Word carries its own credentials. No other word stirs my spirit like Your Word. Its logic appeals to my mind, for You gave the ability to think. Its passion ignites my heart for You gave me the ability to feel. Your Word is proved in the living. As a lamp it does indeed shine on my every step and light my life’s path. Your Words are apples of gold on plates of silver, so beautiful and profound and true. Your Word is Spirit; it is Life! Thank You, Lord! Amen.
O How I Love Thy Holy Word
Words: William Cowper; Music: Carl Gottlieb Reissiger
1. O how I love Thy holy Word, Thy gracious covenant, O Lord!
It guides me in the peaceful way, I think upon it all the day.
2. What are the mines of shining wealth, The strength of youth, the bloom of health!
What are all joys compared with those Thine everlasting Word bestows!
3. Long unafflicted, undismayed, In pleasures path secure I strayed;
Thou mad’st me feel Thy chastening rod, And strait I turned unto my God.
4. What though it pierced my fainting heart, I bless Thine hand that caused the smart;
It taught my tears awhile to flow, But saved me from eternal woe.
5. O! hadst Thou left me unchastised, Thy precept I had still despised;
And still the snare in secret laid, Had my unwary feet betrayed.
6. I love Thee therefore O my God, And breathe towards Thy dear abode;
Where in Thy presence fully blest,Thy chosen saints forever rest.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved