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.

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