Could It Be the Messiah?

14-15 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?”

16-19 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?”

20 The crowd said, “You’re crazy! Who’s trying to kill you? You’re demon-possessed.”

21-24 Jesus said, “I did one miraculous thing a few months ago, and you’re still standing around getting all upset, wondering what I’m up to. Moses prescribed circumcision—originally, it came not from Moses but from his ancestors—and so you circumcise a man, dealing with one part of his body, even if it’s the Sabbath. You do this to preserve one item in the Law of Moses. So why are you upset with me because I made a man’s whole body well on the Sabbath? Don’t be hypercritical; use your head—and heart!—to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right.”

-John 7:14-25 The Message.

Jesus started teaching again when he told his disciples he didn’t want to be seen in public because the Jewish leaders were looking to kill him. The Jews at the festival were surprised and asked, “How did this man get such learning without being taught?” Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me. Therefore, anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my education comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.”

Before we continue into the next part of Jesus’ response, remember to know the difference between teaching truthfully and those not fully educated or wish to do things for personal gain.

Jesus continued: “Has not Moses given you the law? Yet, not one of you keeps the law. So why are you trying to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You are demon-possessed; who is trying to kill you?” Let’s unpack here. The Pharisees spent their days trying to keep the careful rules that they added to God’s laws. So the accusation Jesus told the crowd that they didn’t keep Moses’ laws hit them deeply. Although they tried to be self-centered with their rules, they didn’t fulfill a legalistic religion and lived far below the means of the law that Moses required. For example, murder was against the law, but we should do more as followers of Jesus than moral law requires, by not adding to the requirements but going beyond and beneath the mere do’s and don’ts of the law to the spirit of the law. There can be another explanation as well when the crowd believes he was demo-possessed. The group did not know about the plot to kill Jesus. (5:18) There was another small group just waiting for the opportunity to kill Jesus, but we’re also trying to decide what they believe about him.

Jesus responded, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (although it did not come from Moses, it came from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now, if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

According to Moses’ law, circumcision is on the eight-day after a baby’s birth. (Genesis 17:9-14, Leviticus 12:3) The rite was carried out on all Jewish males to show their identity as part of God’s covenant people. Even after the eight-day after birth was a Sabbath, the circumcision can still be performed. Religious leaders allowed certain exceptions to the Sabbath laws; they allowed none to Jesus, showing mercy to those who needed healing. Here is a question to ask yourself. How do you handle Jesus’ situation as the people showed hypocrisy? Jesus still did work on the Sabbath day when it was necessary because life does not stop. Are you going to put your work for the Lord on hold because of the Sabbath day?

Father, thank you for today. I pray for wisdom to make the right decisions as non-believers can easily mislead us. I pray for your protection because we never know who wants to harm us, but you do and keep your angels around us all the time. Thank you for your unconditional love. In Jesus’ name. Amen!