June 10-11, 2019
“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” [Jesus] John 7:24
Sunday in church the sermon was on John 7, when Jesus goes to the festival of tabernacles.
It’s a great passage that symbolizes Jesus as Emmanuel (God with Us) in very practical terms. The festival of tabernacles is the Jewish festival, still celebrated in some orthodox communities today, where the people move out of their homes and live in tents for a week to symbolize and commemorate how God led them out of Egypt and dwelled among them for 40 years while they made their way across the desert to the promised land.
In John 7, Jesus goes alone to the festival and dwells among the people in secret. That is until about halfway through the festival when he starts teaching in the temple courts and seriously ticks off the religious elites.
I find it interesting that the biggest question around Jesus teaching isn’t actually about what he says. I think deep down the elites knew he was right and couldn’t argue with him without exposing their own hypocrisy. It’s about where he gained his knowledge. It’s religious snobbery. The ancient equivalent of checking someone’s credentials before taking them seriously.
In certain circles doors are only opened for people with advanced degrees from specific institutions. If you don’t have a law degree from Harvard or Yale forget about getting a job at certain firms in New York or Boston, no matter how smart you are.
Jesus had no such credentials. And for a group of religious leaders obsessed with pedigree and “who taught who” that was never going to hold up. The fact that they couldn’t prove him wrong or trap him in any inconsistencies just made them angrier.
And then Jesus turned around and made them look like fools – “quit looking at appearances and judge correctly”, he said.
Jesus makes it very clear. Judging correctly is simply learning to follow the will of God.
Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own – John 7:17
And what is the will of God?
Love. Love God and Love others.
How do you know if you are following the will of God? First ask three questions of your motivations;
- Am I seeking power?
- Am I afraid of the consequences?
- Am I being manipulated or manipulating others?
If you answer yes to any of those questions, it’s not love and it is not the will of God.
Jesus didn’t need credentials, everything he taught aligned perfectly with the will of God.
On a side note –
Today people are still just as obsessed with credentials. I’ve been in the receiving end of what I call credentials bias more times that I can count. I have no University Degree, yet I know just as much (if not more) about economics, theology and human behavior than most preachers and economists and the combined knowledge I have gained in those three areas is almost unheard of for one individual to possess. How many Economist/Theologian/Behaviourists do you know?
The fact is that in today’s world knowledge is cheap. With a computer or a library card and little bit of time anyone can learn just about anything. Over the past 11 years, I’ve read close to 400 books, applied my knowledge and tested my theories as an author of over 600 blog posts and 4 books, public speaker and Financial Planner for over 800 individual and corporate clients. Yet with all that specialized, self-directed learning I am still dismissed and ignored by people with far less information simply because they possess some arbitrarily agreed upon credential.
Quit looking appearances and judge correctly. Does what I say make sense? Is it aligned with the will of God? Then that’s all the credentials I need.