Want to Know the Truth: Act on Jesus’ Words!
We are now in that part of Jesus’ time with us that A. T. Robertson calls, “The Later Judean Ministry.” The passages for the next several devotions will come from John and Luke. It is obvious that the tension is heightened. The Jewish leadership is looking for an opportunity to accuse, condemn, and kill Jesus. But, as John says so many times, “His time had not yet come.”
Here Jesus repeats what he has said so many times in this gospel, which is that he was sent by the Father. His teaching is not his own, but His who sent him. Now there is one verse I want to highlight here. Jesus said, “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.” I believe that this is a very key passage. We often put the emphasis on teaching and knowing right doctrine; after all, one must know what to do before doing it. If someone believes something that is false, then that one will act on that false idea or doctrine and will invariably sin. This is certainly correct. But here Jesus reverses the order. He says that if you truly want to do God’s will, then act on his words. There is no need to take a course on Christian doctrine or ethics; simply obey his words and you will know the truth. The proof will be in the pudding, so to speak.
If we will be Christians, we will never escape what is at the heart of our faith, which is obedience. Granted, we are saved by grace through faith, but we are saved that we may be “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). It seems that Jesus is saying, “Test me by following my words and you will know the truth. And if you don’t, then you obviously do not want to know God’s will, and it doesn’t matter how much you think you know or how many Bible verses you have memorized.” Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
One final thought, this passage ends with Jesus saying, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” Jesus says this in the context of their disapproval of his healing a person on the Sabbath day. It is important that we understand this in the light of the whole Bible. 1 Corinthians 5-6 relate how the local church must render judgments on her members, and Christians must make judgments about how to live in a world full of sinful people. But in general, we should seek to understand situations and people with a sincere heart, and never with a haughty eye.