“My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” John 7:16 [NASB]
Consider a medieval knight. If he heard his lord call his knights immediately to go to battle, would the knight have time to put on all his armor? Would he go to battle without knowing whom he would battle? Would he blindly hear and answer the call to charge? If he did any of these things, he would be ill-prepared for battle. The places of his body without the armor he left behind in his haste would be the places the enemy would attack most fiercely. The enemy who he thought he might fight wouldn’t be the one who attacked his lord that day and he would fall to their unconsidered strength. This knight is like us. Consider what Jesus told his brothers and other Jews in John 7.
Jesus’ brothers expected that Jesus would go to Jerusalem for the feast week. Why would they expect that? Because He was a Jew by birth, and because they expected He would want to be with the people to preach, teach, and heal. Jesus surprised them by saying He wouldn’t go. He said, “My time is not yet here.” (vs. 6)
We read later in John 7 Jesus went to the feast in Jerusalem. He went up secretly. Now Jesus’ intention for going to Jerusalem contrasted to what His brothers wanted in verses three and four. They said, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” Jesus’ brothers did not understand Jesus wasn’t trying to gain fame. His going to Jerusalem would be in secret because He realized the religious leaders were trying to kill Him, but He had not yet completed the task for which the Father sent Him, to preach to all the Jews about the grace and salvation God offers. Jesus didn’t go with His brothers because they wanted Him to go for the wrong reasons. He went secretly so people would listen to Him sincerely, not just gawk at the famed man who came preaching new things and healing people. Those gawking people would have come to see the famous man from Galilee, not to listen to His teaching.
Still, when the people found Jesus and listened to Him, not all accepted His teaching as truth. Some challenged Him, and these were not only the Jewish religious leaders. Verse fifteen says, “The Jews then were astonished, saying, ‘How has this man become learned, having never been educated?’” These people challenged Jesus’ teaching because a rabbi or any man of the Levitical order had not taught Him. His father, Joseph, taught Him just like any good Jewish father teaches his sons. The Jews, with their words, cast stones at Jesus, just like the Jewish religious leaders wanted to cause to happen, but with real stones.
What is interesting is what Jesus said to this statement by these Jews. In verses sixteen through eighteen, Jesus said,
My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent me. If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. [NASB]
With this statement, Jesus put the Jews in their place. It was a positive, verbal slap. He said if anyone is doing God’s will, he would know what Jesus taught. That Jew would recognize what Jesus taught came from the Father. How is this a slap in the face? Since the people didn’t accept Jesus’ teaching, but challenged Him, they didn’t know God and were not doing His will. Since they didn’t know God, how could they dare to judge Jesus, the man they said was uneducated. They themselves were less learned than Jesus and had no faith in God. With that, as they say now, you could hear the mic drop.
This mic drop compels us to reflect on ourselves by considering two questions. First, do we scramble to be a Jesus follower because of His fame and the fame that would get? Being a Jesus follower should not occur because we want fame and glory. Any glory should go to God. Jesus showed in Mark 2:12 what should happen when a person encounters the miracles and teaching of God. People should glorify God. If we scramble to be Jesus followers for the fame, we aren’t God followers, but glory stealers. Did you scramble to follow Jesus because of His fame, but not consider the cost it would require? You came answering the call ill-prepared and are not wearing the whole armor. You won’t be able to stand in battle as a follower of Jesus because what you teach and preach is not truth. Seek the Lord with your whole being, and He said, and you will find Him, He will save you from your sins, self, and death, and give you eternal life.
Second, do we know God and His will or are we judging God’s servants with a lack of head and heart-knowledge? How can we judge a person for what they know when we don’t know what they declare to know? Saying this, though, we need to realize to the depths of our being, God wants us to know Him, His grace, His love, and His salvation, which He offers to every person. Instead of fearing the change Jesus brings, come to know Him through salvation by giving your heart to Him, and you will find no need to judge and no right to judge Jesus and His servants. You don’t have to be ill-prepared for the battles you will face in this world. Come to know the truths of God. Come to know the battles you will face. Be prepared by the Master and Lord who calls you to Him.
We can be the soldier who goes to fight for our Lord. When we know God in truth with our whole being and love Him that way, we are armored for the battles. We know deeply and personally for Whom we follow.
Put on the whole armor. Know the Lord intimately.
By these you will stand strong and God will receive the glory.
Lord, God, I come to You admitting I have failed. Each day I try to walk in Your ways, but at some point, I sin. I know You are disappointed, but You won’t let me go. I am Yours. Lord, teach me Your ways. Make me desire to be in Your presence. Lead me in Your paths for Your name sake. Clothe me completely with Your armor and use me for whatever You will, all for Your glory. You are almighty and I am not. You are Savior and I am a sinner, but one whom You have redeemed. Thank you for Your faithful love, grace, and mercy. I love You, Lord. Amen.