Sometimes, especially when we are young and healthy, circumstances seem so blissful that it is impossible to imagine the shocks and trials that will inevitably come to everyone. In times of ease and blessing as believers, it is comparatively easy to proclaim the faithful goodness of God. Our devotion has yet to be tested.
However, there are shocks so great, that even the most ardent disciple of Christ cries out for relief, or at least for answers to why such things are allowed to happen. Sometimes our limited understanding pushes us to the edge of faith, that most crucial place of decision when we are forced to answer for ourselves, “what will I do with Christ?” We can not ignore that He is unlike any other man to ever live, and we cannot deny his power and his resurrection, both are too enshrined in evidence to discount. So, in our heaviest trials and most painful seasons, we struggle not with the fact that He is, but with what manner of man He is.
It’s then we are reminded that He is familiar with tears, He has, in fact “borne our sorrows.” He is well “acquainted with our grief.” Because, as man, Christ lived with the troubles we all encounter, He alone is trustworthy and reliable in every situation. His vision is far greater, His love eternally stronger, His grace and patience for His children who wrestle with brokenness in creation, is both fathomless and complete.
The religious leadership in Jerusalem wrangled among themselves about the true identity of Jesus of Nazareth. They could not deny that only God could accomplish the miracles that Jesus performed, yet the majority found that he threatened their established power structure. They sought ways to disqualify Him from being the Messiah. They had reached a place in their pseudo-holiness that they thought their own lawful goodness had done away with a need for a redeemer. Jesus’ actions, both what He was able to do and the manner in which He did them, provoked and enraged religious leaders who were, in fact powerless to help anyone. They were forced to answer in hushed tones and whispers, what they had decided about the man whose works proclaimed Him to be the one and only “Son of God.”
14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
Every word Christ spoke in the power of God, translating the heart of God in the language of mankind. He spoke with authority, after all He is the word of God. As the son of a humble carpenter from Nazareth, it was obvious to all who heard Him, that His education came from a much higher plane. Unlike the Pharisees who only could tell word for word what was written by the hand of Moses, Jesus shared the motivation, application, and embodiment of those words.
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
Let’s consider that there are two desires that arise in those who make a study of holy scriptures. One group seeks to use the power and authority of those words to accomplish their own will. They will lord their knowledge over others, and proclaim themselves to be a gateway to God. Such was the desire of the pharisees. Today, many still use scripture to back up their own unholy opinions. Those who do so are not “rightly dividing the word of God.”
The second group is made of those who seek God and desire to please Him. If they study scripture in order that they might know Him better, then they are able to use the knowledge they gain in order to view all of life in light of God’s wisdom. Jesus said that they would know Him if they desired to know God and do His will. Today, we recognize truth and separate it from error by the power of the Holy Spirit living within the believer which feeds our desire to know God in an intimate way and to live out His mission on earth.
18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
Our example, our template for living, Jesus shows us how to speak to the doubtful men and women we encounter daily. Speak the truth of God and let the responsibility for its trustworthiness rest squarely on the shoulders of God himself. As christians it is not our responsibility to “prove” God, his reputation is above reproach. It is our duty to trust God and to speak of the wonderous things He has done for us personally. Our lives, every hurt, every heartstopping surprise, and every blessing in the midst of despair are to bring glory and honor to the Father who will see us through it all if we place our expectation and hope in Him.
19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
20 The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?
Such liars! For several chapters they have sought to kill Jesus, they are offended at his insistence on healing on the Sabbath. They are frustrated that He will not confess that He is merely a man, He insists that He is sent from God his Father. Then they have the nerve to say, “Jesus, you are crazy, no one is trying to kill you.” Remember their marveling and disqualifying statements have been whispered. They’ve had backroom meetings to plan His demise, but they don’t outwardly condemn Him in the midst of the crowd, because His good works have won over a multitude who would turn on the religious Jews if they attacked Jesus. When they arrested Jesus, they did so at night, because they were afraid of the repercussions. Also, with blasphemous words they accuse Jesus, again, of getting His power from Satan. Imagine claiming to be the stewards of the words of God, and understanding them so little, that his Son and exact representative of his will is not only rejected by you but condemned as the work of God’s enemy.
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.
22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.
23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?
It was required under the law that man’s work be put aside for the worship and performance of God’s holy work, in remembrance of His work of creation in six literal days, and His seventh day rest. Man cannot work on the sabbath, only the works of God are to be considered and worshiped.
Circumcision represented the sanctification, or separation to holiness, that a man underwent in order to be a part of the family of God. Jesus healed and sanctified outwardly, but more importantly made whole the real sickness of those who came to Him by erasing their debt of sin. He made them spiritually whole and sanctified, that is the work of God and God alone. It is how we are able to enter Sabbath rest and restore our relationship with God the father. What angers the Pharisees is not that He does good on the Sabbath day as they claim, but that they have no power whatsoever to do the works that He does on any day.
24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Jesus compels the Jewish leaders to look deeper than the surface of the law, to understand the heart of God and His intention. They were required to make a decision about what they would believe about who Jesus is and what He is like. Many made unrighteous judgments. Preferring their own understanding to the perfect wisdom of God the Father, they shouted, “crucify Him!” Imagine the bone-chilling awakening some received at the news of His resurrection, whereby He proved once and for all that He was not the son of a carpenter, but the God of the Universe. Wearing a mortal body, He died among thieves, but rising in power on the third day He presented himself in the throneroom of God. “I and my Father are one,” and only those who believe and confess that He is Lord will ever know for certain what they will do with Jesus. They’ll live forever in His presence trusting confidently in the only one who could make a way!
Thank you for studying with us! God bless!