Astounding Statements from the Christ of God
Text: John 7:14-24
In Isaiah 53, the lament of the prophet is the fact that no one believes because “there is no beauty that we should desire him.” How evidently that is portrayed by John. As the Light shone, the darkness comprehended it not (1:5).
But while the darkness in the heart of man is quite consistent in its inability to see He who is the Light, there are different ways in which man doesn’t see Him.
We saw last week the difference in the kind of unbelief in Jesus’ half brothers, and the unbelief of the Jewish crowds. The half brothers want Him to do more miracles and get more disciples because they don’t believe. The Jewish crowd want Him dead because they don’t believe.
The yearning of the brothers for Christ to go to Judea is wrong. Him going there is not wrong, but the reasons why they want Him to go are wrong. In the divine schedule and plan, the purpose for Christ to go to Judea at this time is to teach, not perform miracles. Furthermore, His teaching will be to exalt the Father, not self. And had they been with Him over the previous months, they would have known that to invite Him to Jerusalem is to invite His death, “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” Matt 16:21
Or maybe they did know what He had been saying He would go to Jerusalem to die and be raised the third day, and they wanted to see Him raised. Maybe then they would believe the claims.
The point is, Christ’s half brothers were no better than the leaders in Judea. Both of them wanted what they wanted for Christ from a heart that was given to serve self, not God. The selfishness of the brothers wanted Christ to go there and perform miracles, either so that they could benefit through His popularity, or because they wanted to see Him tested before the Jewish theologians. The selfishness of the Jewish leaders wanted Christ to go to Judea so that He could be killed. Either way, it’s selfishness that stems from an unbelieving heart.
But this is nothing new. 1:12; 3:11; 3:32; 5:16; 5:43 – He is constantly rejected.
So having spent some months predominantly teaching the twelve, He avoids going to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles at the time when everyone else is going, and waits a couple of days perhaps until the search for Him has cooled off before making His way there. And while it’s difficult to know all the reasons for the delay to enter, it may simply have been a way of having the biggest impact upon the most people before the leaders would attempt to kill Him.
v14 – Christ assumes the role of a Rabbi in the temple and began to teach.
I. THE SOURCE OF HIS TEACHING v15-16
When the Lord Jesus taught, He taught like no one else. No Rabbi spoke like he did. The Rabbis were taught in their traditions, and little of what they said was new in any significant way. But Christ taught as one having authority. When He spoke it was as if He hadn’t learned it from any other person, but seemed to possess unique and profound spiritual insight.
v15 – once again He amazes those who hear Him, and they begin to discredit Him by questioning His lack of training. The point they are making is that He doesn’t appear to speak according to the tradition, and He doesn’t cite sources or quote other Rabbis, thus, He is speaking His own random ideas and you shouldn’t listen to Him.
v16 – This totally throws them with the first part of this statement. In a brief moment before He finishes His words they’re thinking, what? Who taught Him? Then He says, “his that sent me”. Did they get that? Did they know who He meant by these words? They should have, because they’ve heard it before: 5:30,36,37. But they may not have gotten it straight away: 8:26-27.
But the point is, everything Jesus taught did not come from the wisdom of men, and His enemies knew it didn’t come from man. So Jesus clarifies and says, I speak according to the mind and will of the Father. I am divinely educated. 12:49-50; 17:8.
This is a reason why you must believe on Him, sinner. Christ spoke the mind of God. He had a completely knowledge of the mind of God and a complete knowledge of the heart of man. And so they will rightly observe 7:46.
II. THE SIGN OF HIS FOLLOWERS v17
What is the sign of Christ’s followers? A key mark of a true follower of Christ is that they have resigned their will to do the Father’s will. They will confess their sinfulness, they will acknowledge His Son.
If you are here tonight with a desire to know the truth, that truth will come if you submit to do the Father’s will. If you resign yourself to do whatever God wills, then the teaching of God through Christ will make sense to you. That’s what v17 is saying.
Many are self-deluded. They say they want proof. If you had all the proof of the world, would you live for God? Would you put Him first in your life? Would you make Him the Master over your affairs? Would you give up your sin? Most wouldn’t. But perhaps you’re different. If so, resign your will, say ‘God, I want to know your will is your will so I can submit to it. Make it plain to me’.
Don’t come bargaining. In your own mind, think about it. If God is true and this is His Word, isn’t it obnoxious of me to tell Him I want something else? Just ask Him for help to see the Word as His Word, and as soon as you begin to sense the conviction that what is in this book is the very word of God, then believe the gospel. Turn from your sin. Look to the cross work of Christ and live!
But if you’re not interested in doing the will of God, you can’t be saved.
III. THE SPIRIT OF HIS LABOUR v18
1. It exemplifies humility
Christ laboured in humility. The problem with the religious leaders was they sought exalt themselves in front of one another 5:44. The wanted the praise of men more than the praise of God.
“he that speaketh of himself” i.e. the one who speaks to exalt themselves. The Son of God was not out merely to promote praise to Himself, but to direct praise to the Father v18.
And here we see His humility in servitude, because He submitted Himself to do this to be the Mediator of His people. That He might as the last Adam represent His people, to live for them, die for them, and rise again for them. We are constantly doing things for selfish reasons, but Christ to whom angels give their adoration, humbled himself.
2. It personifies truth “the same is true”
He is absolute truth. Truth exists because it finds its cause in Him. 1:14
3. It quantifies perfection “no unrighteousness is in him”
Don’t just glean over these. Look at these claims. If you met someone who said ‘I am truth’ or ‘There is no unrighteousness in me’ what would you make of it?
IV. THE SEARCH OF HIS ACCUSERS v19
1. The question in the search
Christ searches the heart of His accusers with a penetrating question. This is His claim to be the truth being proven. No flattering lips from Christ, He just plainly states the most accurate analysis that could be given to man.
I may know nothing about you, but I know this much, and the scripture is full of plain statements that align with Christ’s statement here. Even the lovers of the law could not keep the law.
It doesn’t matter how much you love trying to do the best you can, you are and always will be a lawbreaker. And while the Law of God something the Christian cannot cast aside, we must also remember that the very context in which it was given was a context of grace. Ex 20:2
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” Tit 3:5 “if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Gal 2:21
And no doubt they wouldn’t have known what He was talking about, since they were so full of pride and self-righteousness, they would have refused to admit their guilt. And so Christ presents the proof of their guilt in the very fact they wanted to kill Him, a violation of the sixth commandment.
2. The answer to the search v20
The crowd aren’t aware of what’s going on. But isn’t this proof of the corruption of man’s heart? That man doesn’t really know himself? Because many of these people would be back in Jerusalem for the Passover a few months, and they’re going to be calling for His crucifixion. And notice how they don’t look for an answer before pronouncing Him a devil.
V. THE SIGN OF HIS OBEDIENCE
The problem the Pharisees had with Christ was that His obedience to the law made Him do things their self-righteous hearts couldn’t understand. A lot of their perception of obedience was created by the tradition of men. You can do this, but you can’t do that. By drawing again from His obedience, Jesus shows the lack of logic in their thinking.
v21 – He takes them back to John 5, because that’s what really kicked off their hatred. When He healed a man on the Sabbath. “marvel” i.e. you’re still wondering at the greatness of the miracle and the fact it was performed on the Sabbath.
v22 – i.e. Moses established the practice of circumcision within Mosaic law, but it originally came from Abraham, and part of that stipulation was to circumcise on the eighth day. Now at times that would fall on the Sabbath obviously, so they had to perform that work on the Sabbath.
v23 – then Christ argues that, since the law of Moses says to circumcise on the eighth day and you allow the command of circumcision to supersede the laws of he Sabbath because it is an act of piety, how come you can’t see that my greater act of piety to the impotent man is also permissible? Indeed, I think there may even have been more to it than that. Since circumcision was a redemptive sign, Christ’s act of healing was an even clearer redemptive sign.
v24 – i.e. you have misconstrued my character by flawed deductions from the law of Moses, because you are only committed to mere appearances.