Truth Comes From Above
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” (John 7:16-18)
Jesus divulges the mystery of His knowledge to His Jewish audience–His teaching is not His own, but rather divine. He had no need to be taught by man–His teaching was not learned, it was by divine revelation. Jesus was commanded by the Father what to say and how to say it. We find these words of our Lord later in John echoing the same sentiment:
“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (John 12:47-50)
-J. C. Ryle
Many people complain regarding their ability to discover truth. In our verses for today, Jesus tells us one secret key to knowledge–obedience. And as we are obedient in the simple things, we will be taught the deeper truths. Jesus is telling us that anyone who chooses to do God’s will–responding to the Word and the Spirit–will succeed in their search for the truth. In other words, those who progressively submit to divine guidelines will progressively be given divine light. As the Spirit leads us through conviction and we are obedient to change, we grow in Christlikeness–conforming to His image. This process is called sanctification. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians:
For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8)
Jesus lived a perfect life–indeed; Jesus lived the life God calls mankind to. We are simply incapable of following His steps apart from the indwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus came to portray God to man. Those who follow our Lord, through the Holy Spirit’s leading and power, are to portray God to man as well. Jesus brought God honor through His willing obedience. Likewise, we are to bring God honor through our willing obedience.
In Malachi we are told that God rebuked the Levite priests for their failure to listen to His Word and for their failure to honor His great Name:
“And now this admonition is for you, O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me.” (Malachi 2:1-2)
The priests knew they were to honor God by the reverence of their words and their actions. Their teaching and instruction were to be true, nothing false found on their lips. By walking in peace and uprightness, they would turn many from sin.
Take It to Heart
In similar fashion, believers in Jesus are a royal priesthood, so termed by Peter, and called to declare His praises. Not stumbling through disobedience to the message but rather living in such a way that our lives demonstrate the peace and wisdom found in God:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)