14About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. 15The Jews were astonished at it, saying, “How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?” 16Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. 17Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. 18Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him. 19“Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?” 20The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?” 21Jesus answered them, “I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. 22Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. 23If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath? 24Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Finally, after observing the festival for a time, Jesus goes to the temple and begins to teach the people. The religious leaders were astonished, asking where he obtained such knowledge, without having been taught. Jesus replies that he speaks not for himself but for the One “who sent me”. If anyone is true to God’s will they can discern whether the teaching is of God or if he is speaking on his own.
This is an interesting observation – we can discern God’s will, and God’s word, only by staying in contact with God’s will. We must pray, and try each day to do God’s will, to walk with him, or we will not be able to recognize when we are being led down a wrong path.
Jesus goes on – those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of God is true. How easily we can speak in ways to seek our own glory! As pastors we must guard against that – That is not to say that we do not need affirmation; we are human after all, and we need to know what is working and what is not when we speak. We need to hear from the congregation when we are doing well, or not. But ultimately, it must be God’s glory that we seek! And that is true for those who are not preaching, but are serving in the church in other ways – it must always be God’s glory we seek.
And then Jesus returns to the subject of the Sabbath healing, opening by asking why they do not obey Moses’ law, which they are accusing him of breaking. And he asks why they are seeking to kill him. The “crowd”, not understanding what has already transpired with the religious leaders, says he is paranoid – asking, who is trying to kill you? But Jesus continues, telling them he performed one work and they were astonished – and yet, under Mosaic law they circumcise on the Sabbath. How can it be wrong to heal a man’s whole body? They are judging wrongly – judging for appearance sake (for their own glory) rather than judging righteously.
Throughout this passage, Jesus speaks of “the One who sent me”, reaffirming his identity as God’s Son, sent from God. This continues the theme we have seen already in John; the author is teaching his community, and the thing they really need to know is that Jesus was, and is, the true Son of God, sent from God, because of God’s love for us.