Bible Reading: John 7:9-24; Joshua 5:13-6:20
Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority”
[John 7:16-17 NKJV]
The crowd who heard Jesus teach were puzzled as to how He had such knowledge, because they knew that He had no letters after His name and had not studied at one of the official and prestige rabbinic schools of Shammai and Hillel. Our verses for today are the reply of Jesus to that question.
Jesus said that His doctrine [the Greek word is ‘didache’ meaning instruction or teaching] was not something that He made up but came from His Father who had sent Him [v.16].
Tragically, for many people theology [the knowledge of God], has become something that is studied academically in a college. This may have some value but that is not how Jesus said that we would understand truth.
There is an old conundrum, “What comes first, the chicken or the egg?” In knowing the truth the question is, “What comes first studying and believing or believing and knowing?”
To understand the truth begins with desire – Jesus said that the first step to knowing the truth is a desire to do God’s will. Those who focus on the world, by contrast, are not receptive to Christ. However, important as desire is, that alone is not enough. It has been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We need more than just desire.
The second step is to take a leap of faith. Augustine, one of the early church Fathers, said, “Taking a step of faith comes before knowing.” Desire must become action. Those who truly want to do the will of God receive by faith and accept Jesus, and His teaching [see also John 5:42-47]. Faith is a doing word and is always accompanied by obedience. We have to start doing what God’s Word tells us. As we desire to do God’s will, accept His Word, and obey it, then we will know the truth! Understanding is the reward of faith not of academic study!
Many years ago a young man asked a question of a well-known Christian minister, “How can I know the truth?” The speaker answered by saying, “The very next thing that God tells you to do, do it, and continuing doing everything that He tells you, until the day he takes you to heaven!” Does that seem too simple? If you want to know the truth you must first desire it, then take a step of faith and obey His Word, and as you do that you will know the truth. It will become crystal clear to you.
A Question: Paul was concerned that we don’t depart from the simplicity that is in Christ [2 Corinthians 11:3]. Why do you think we have made something that is so simple to be so complicated?