You do not know him ...

Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, “When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?”
[John 7:28-31 NRSV]   

Jesus is such a polarizing figure. Some in this passage tried to arrest him while others saw him as the Messiah.
Isn't it interesting how people reacted so differently to him? I think that is true even today. Seeing Jesus has always required the inner vision of the Holy Spirit. And those who resist His work are blinded to spiritual things.

I love how Jesus speaks about knowing God. He declared that he actually knew God. He then made it known that those who rejected him did not know God. That is such a bold statement. In truth, knowing God is what real life is all about. Knowing about God or even about what the bible says is not enough. But through prayer we can know Him.

Help us to know you Lord. Fill us with your Spirit as we turn our hearts towards you.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

Do not judge by appearances ...

“Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?” Jesus answered them, “I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” -John 7:19-24 NRSV

One of my favorite passages in the scriptures is when the prophet Samuel goes to Jesse's family looking for a man to replace King Saul. As he examines Jesse's sons he looks primarily at their outward appearance. He has not learned much since he chose Saul as king. His selection criteria seems to be the same. He is looking for a man who looks like a king. Samuel wants a tall man like Saul. A man who looks like a king. Samuel was certainly judging by appearances. Until God Spoke to him and told him to transcend his outer vision and see with the eyes of his spirit.

Like Samuel, the folks who accused Jesus of having a demon were bound up in their outward religion. These, who seemed to love the law of Moses, missed the very heart of what the law taught and required. These could not see the Son of God among them because their focus was on external rules like not healing on the Sabbath. Like Samuel, they wanted a Saul and not a David. They judged by outward appearances. These were looking for an earthly king. They were angry and could not see the heart of Jesus because they were blinded by appearances.

Lord help us to see as you see. Help us to not judge by appearances. Give us eyes to see the heart.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

My teaching is not mine but his who sent me.

About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. The Jews were astonished at it, saying, “How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?” Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him. -John 7:14-18 NRSV

Some think that the Jesus' teachings were those he learned on a trip to another land. Some think that he was a disciple of John the Baptist. From a human perspective it is difficult to accept that his teachings were original and not copied. He always seemed to go right to the heart of an issue. He had the ability to transcend his religious teaching and heritage.

The folks of his day, and of ours too, struggled not because they could not understand his teaching but because they would not. To understand the scriptures one must, as Jesus puts it here, resolve to do the will of God and seek to glorify Him. To do this we must also be willing to transcend the limitations of our religious teachings and heritage.

Give us open hearts and hearing ears Lord that we may transcend our human limitations.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.