Jesus is in the confounding business. Jesus knows what He is talking about and that is disconcerting to many. Some days I am stunned.
Jesus isn’t making any of this up. Jesus is teaching me what He knows from His Father, God. With Jesus, it is all about what God wants. That has always been the approach of Jesus. Jesus wants me to learn that.
Eventually the religious elites will kill Jesus. He will be crucified. The good news is that He defeated death and rose again to an incorruptible body. That makes me want to shout.
With the Feast already half over, Jesus showed up in the Temple, teaching. The Jews were impressed, but puzzled: “How does he know so much without being schooled?”
Jesus said, “I didn’t make this up. What I teach comes from the One who sent me. Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it’s from God or whether I’m making it up. A person making things up tries to make himself look good. But someone trying to honor the one who sent him sticks to the facts and doesn’t tamper with reality. It was Moses, wasn’t it, who gave you God’s Law? But none of you are living it. So why are you trying to kill me?” | John 7:14-19 (The Message Bible)
Jesus is not a part of the religious elite. The Jews were amazed at what He taught because He did not have any credentials from their approved rabbinical schools. He isn’t known as Jesus Christ, Ph.D. Nope!
But since He lacked this “proper accreditation,” His enemies said that His teachings were nothing but private opinions and not worth much. It has often been said that Jesus taught with authority, while the scribes and Pharisees taught from authorities, quoting all the famous rabbis.
Jesus explained that His doctrine came from the Father. He had already made it clear that He and the Father were one in the works that He performed and in the judgment that He executed. Now He claimed that His teachings also came from the Father, and He would make that astounding claim again. When I teach the Word of God, I can claim authority for the Bible but not for all of my interpretations of the Bible. Jesus rightly could claim absolute authority for everything that He taught! Now that is stunning.
But does not every religious teacher make a similar claim? How, then, can we know that Jesus is teaching us the truth? By obeying what He tells us to do. God’s Word proves itself true to those who will sincerely do it.
John 7:17 literally reads, “If any man is willing to do His [God’s] will, he shall know.” This explains why the Jewish leaders did not understand Jesus’ teachings: they had stubborn wills and would not submit to Him.
Is our Lord suggesting here a “pragmatic test” for divine truth? Is He saying, “Try it! If it works, it must be true!” and thus suggesting that if it does not work it must be false? This kind of a test would lead to confusion, for almost any cultist could say, “I tried what the cult teaches, and it works!”
No, our Master’s statement goes much deeper. He was not suggesting a shallow “taste test” but rather the deep personal commitment of the person to truth. The Jews depended on education and authorities and received their doctrine secondhand, but Jesus insisted that we experience the authority of truth personally.
The Jewish leaders were attempting to kill Jesus, yet at the same time they claimed to understand God’s truth and obey it. This proves that an enlightened and educated mind is no guarantee of a pure heart or a sanctified will. Some of the world’s worst criminals have been highly intelligent and well-educated people.
Source: Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 316). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.