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© 2020 The Gospel Stand

  • Ewen Lin

Jesus tells the truth because He loves God


John 7:14 About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 The Jews therefore marvelled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” 16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” 21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”



Here's the question: how do I know if what Jesus says is true?



We pick up where we left off from last week with Jesus teaching in the temple. Verse 14 tells us that the Jews marveled because Jesus didn’t have a Uni degree, definitely not one from ECU, come on. So how does he expect us to believe him? Where did you get your teaching from?


Our passage tells us,


Jesus tells the truth because He loves God


Have a look at verse 16.

16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.


First of all, my teaching is true because it’s not from me, or from some university somewhere. It’s from God. My teaching is not mine but His who sent me.


But is that good enough though? Like, just because you say you received it from God doesn’t help me believe you. Mohammed claimed to receive his teaching from Allah. Joseph Smith claimed to receive his teaching from angels which started the Mormon church. So what makes Jesus special?


Look at verse 17-18.

17 If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.


What is Jesus saying? In essence, Jesus is saying God will show you whether I’m telling the truth or not. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God. In other words, if you really wanna know, God will show it to you. Then you will know. Jesus doesn’t turn to something else to authenticate his message. He doesn’t need to because he says God will do it.


And if you think about it, this makes logical sense. Because if Jesus were to turn to something to prove his message, then that something logically is more true than the message. You are trusting in that thing more than you trust in Jesus.


Suppose I bring to my wife a written statement from a friend claiming that I loved my wife. Not very romantic is it? But suppose my wife, who previously doubted my love for her, on the basis of this letter trusts that I do in fact love her, what would that imply? Same with the Bible. Same with Jesus. We can’t turn to something else as the basis for believing.


If you really want to know, Jesus says, God will show it to you.


You see, the Jews question Jesus, but they don’t actually care about the truth at all. How do I know that? Because Jesus calls them out.


Look at verse 19-24.

19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” 21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”


The point here is quite easy to follow. A few months before this, Jesus healed a man who was paralysed from the neck down. Healed him completely. Problem was, Jesus did it on a Saturday, which is the Sabbath and according to Jewish Law, you’re not allowed to work on the Sabbath. In the eyes of the Jews, Jesus is a law breaker. You can read all about it in chapter 5.


Now then, verse 22, Moses gave you circumcision. Which is another Jewish law that says all boys must be circumcised 8 days after birth. Which is not a problem unless you were born on a Friday, then bad luck because 8 days after your birthday is the Sabbath and you’re not allowed to work. But you have to be circumcised. You see the problem?


So obviously, they made an exception. If you see a house on fire on the Sabbath or someone drowning, you’ll go help them too. The commandment to save life necessarily overrides the commandment to keep the Sabbath. You won’t be breaking the Sabbath if you do it. It’s common sense right? But when Jesus heals a paralysed man on the Sabbath, they say he broke the law. How can circumcision which affects just one part of the body be more significant than that which heals the whole body? That’s why Jesus says in verse 23:

23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well?


The Jews obey the law when it’s convenient. They don’t love God at all. Their obedience to God’s law comes from their love for themselves. Jesus proves it by their hypocrisy. Verse 18,

18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; God is just a means for them to glorify themselves. And everyone does it. Both religious people and non-religious people. People who believe in God and people who don’t believe.


Religious people, like the Jews here, keep the law because of the status it gives them in society. Today, there are people who recognise that life is more than just the physical realm. And so they turn to religion to quench that thirst in their souls.


Non-religious people, people who don’t believe in God, actually do the same thing. They might look at religious people and say hey man if it works for you that’s cool, but it’s not for me. I’m not religious at all. But then why do so many non-religious people look to things like work, family, love, relationships, to bring meaning and purpose to their life? We turn to those things to quiet down that same longing we have. We just don’t call it God.


Religious people believe in God to make themselves feel safe or to ascribe meaning to their life. Non-religious people don’t believe in God but end up doing the same thing.


Whichever end of the spectrum you’re on, all of us are the same. We can claim to be Christians, but we can still just be using God for ourselves. God is just a means to an end.


I’ll give you an example. I’ve heard lots of people say something like this: I went to church, read my bible, did all that, but my family still broke up, or I still failed uni or whatever. But if we are to be brutally honest with ourselves, this thing that has the power to shake my belief in God, is actually my God.


We don’t realise that we’re just like the Jews in this passage. All of us. God is a means to an end. The Jews obeyed the law when it’s convenient. We believe in God when life is good but do we actually trust Him? So let me ask you a question. Why are you here? I know why you’re at ECU, to get a degree. But why are you here in this room? If you call yourself a Christian, why?


Jesus says: 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory;


Let me ask you an even harder question: If in the end you get nothing out of it and God sends you to hell because you deserve it, will you still be a Christian? Or are you a Christian just to get to heaven?


It’s so hard to answer those questions isn’t it? Why is it so difficult? Because we have a vested interest. There will always be a part of us that is in it for ourselves. That’s the reality of it. Which means you really can’t trust anybody. If you’re smart, you won’t even trust yourself. Because no matter what we do, there’s always some part of us that is self-promoting, self-preserving, self-loving. If we are to judge whether Jesus is telling the truth, we can’t look to ourselves. We can’t depend on our own reasoning or evidence.


You know the Bible tells us that our ancestors were with God in the garden of Eden. God gave them everything. Obey me and you will live. And we couldn’t even do that. We chose to seek our own glory, forge our own destiny.


Fast forward a few hundred years to another garden. The garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was with God and God said obey me and not you will live, but obey me and you will be crushed. Obey me and be eternally condemned and separated from all that is good. Obey me and you will die. What does Jesus say? Not my will but your will be done. Jesus obeyed and was hung on a tree and crushed.


Does Jesus tell the truth? Can I trust Jesus? You won’t find the answer in any book or lecture or whatever. Jesus says, 17 If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God.


Only by looking at Jesus do we know that he tells the truth, because He loves God.

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