“So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 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. 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.” (John 7:16-18)
In spite of increasing opposition to Him and His ministry, Jesus nevertheless continued to teach with authority as God’s Son. The Jews who heard Him were continuously astonished and amazed and consequently continuously said “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” (John 7:15)
It would be at this moment during the feast Jesus would give five reasons why He was the fulfillment and source of Israel’s redemption. In other words, Jesus would teach that He was the fulfillment of the Feast of the Tabernacles. Jesus would give five specific reasons regarding His identity and purpose for coming to earth. These reasons form the bulk of the remaining portion of John 7.
Reason number one is that Jesus supernatural knowledge of the Scriptures originated from God the Father Himself. Jesus taught “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.” The difference discovered in Jesus’ teaching was found in its source, i.e., the Father gave it to him (8:26, 40, 46–47; 12:49–50). Jesus’ knowledge of Scripture originated from God the Father himself. This was in contrast to rabbis who received their knowledge from other men (Galatians 1:12; Acts 22:1-3). While rabbis relied on the authority of others (a long chain of human tradition), Jesus’ authority centered in himself (cf. Matt. 7:28–29; Acts 4:13).
The second reason pointing to Jesus as God is that His teaching and knowledge could be tested and proven to be truth. “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.”
Jesus’ teaching up to this point in John’s Gospel includes man’s need for a spiritual birth (John 3), living water (John 4), and spiritual nourishment likened unto bread (John 6). One pastor writes, “Those who are fundamentally committed to obeying and doing the will of God will be guided by Him in the affirmation of his truth. God’s truth is self-authenticating through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit (cf. 16:13; 1 John 2:20, 27).”
The third reason Jesus gave proving that He is God is that His actions and behavior demonstrated His selfless identity as God. “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.”
Many so-called messiahs and saviors arrive on the cultural scene and do nothing but glorify themselves. Examples in recent days would include cult leaders Jim Jones and David Koresh. This was not the case with Jesus. One commentator explains that, “While other saviors and messiahs acted for their own selfish interests, thereby revealing their falseness, Jesus Christ as God’s Son came solely to glorify the Father and accomplish the Father’s will (2 Corinthians 2:17; Philippians 2:5–11; Hebrews 10:7).”
Pastor Burk Parsons writes, “Throughout history, our enemy has raised up many false prophets and false teachers, but perhaps never before in history has the church itself raised up so many of its own false teachers, parading them and welcoming them into their homes and churches. False teachers abound on many of the so-called Christian television networks, and books by false teachers fill the shelves of many so-called Christian bookstores. And while many Christians are rightly concerned about the growth of religions such as Islam, the greatest threat to orthodox Christianity is not other religions but false teachers who creep into the church unnoticed.”
Parsons continues by saying, “False teachers creep into the church not because they look like false teachers but because they look like angels. They disguise themselves just as their master Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. When false teachers attempt to creep into the church, they typically don’t look like wolves because they wear sheep costumes and use some of the same language that the sheep use. They regularly quote Scripture, and they are often able to quote more Scripture than the average Christian. False teachers are not always argumentative or divisive; often they are some of the nicest people we know. They usually creep in not with scowls on their faces but with big smiles. They don’t normally creep into churches and teach obvious heresies and falsehoods; they usually subtly question the truth and teach partial truths, and they are not always identified by what they actually teach but by what they leave out of their teaching. They often speak of Jesus, salvation, the gospel, and faith, but they twist the words and concepts of Scripture to fit their own versions of the truth, which is no truth at all. They typically don’t attempt to creep into churches where the Word of God is preached boldly and passionately, in season and out of season, and where the people are eager for the sound preaching of Scripture and are growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, they usually target those churches where people are indifferent to doctrine and apathetic about the preaching of the Word of God.”
That is why I am committed to doctrine and the expositional preaching and teaching of God’s Word. It is the surest way I know of to stem the tide of false teaching. That is why this daily blog will continue to uphold the truth of God’s Word.
I Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
Thus far Jesus has given us three reasons to believe that He is God incarnate. Two more, given in this context of John 7, are to follow. Hope you will join me next time.
Soli deo Gloria!