Hi and welcome to Wednesday’s podcast. My name is Alan and today it is my great pleasure to be trekking with you through the middle chapters of John’s gospel. Our hope at STC is that the podcasts together with the Grow project will help us to centre our whole lives on Jesus throughout the week.
Today’s reading is from John 7:14-34. Today’s focus verses are 16 and 17.
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 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.
Today I want to ask the question, “who do you listen to, who do you trust?”
We live in a world of Fake News. Donald Trump tweets his version of the truth scores and scores of times a day. And he lambasts any journalists who speaks counter to his version of the ‘facts’, accusing them of spreading fake news. Boris Johnson, a Tory leadership contender, until recently, was faced with a civil action over his false claims made whilst campaigning for Brexit. The internet is awash with opinions and comment. It is easy to get lost not knowing what or who to believe.
So who do we listen to? Who do you trust to tell you the truth?
For the news or current affairs do we turn to the BBC, Sky, Channel 4, The Sun, The Times, Laura Kuenssberg or John Snow?
Or how about parenting, whose advice do we follow? Gina Ford, Annabell Karnell or Super Nanny Jo Ford?
In the Alpha Film Series videos… when we want to talk about science and religion, on the screen is an eminent scientist, because he’s studied… he’s studied an awful lot… his opinion holds weight. When we talk about life transformation, on the screen is an ex-prisoner who knew a thing or two about turning from darkness to light. He’s the expert, his story proves what we are trying to say.
This was also the case in Jesus’ day. Rabbis would quote the great Rabbis and so this would lend weight and authority to their words.
Jesus quoted… no-one… Not a single reference to a scholar or a teacher of the law… Not one.
Who on earth does he think he is?
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.
This Jesus is expressing his opinion and claiming that his teaching is from God! And the leaders weren’t convinced by the miracles, the healings, the signs and wonders, they were not enough. So Jesus prove it! Prove that your words are from God.
To which he replied,
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.
That was the challenge to the Jewish elite, it was the challenge to the rank and file Jews and it is the challenge to us today. Do we want to know God? Then it’s simple: live out Jesus’ teaching. We want to know what God’s will is for us? Then we simply have to put Jesus’ words into practice.
You see, this is what it means to be a disciple… it’s what it meant to be a disciple 2000 years ago and it is what it means to be a disciple today. As an apprentice we learn from Jesus and we follow his example, we trust his words… by carrying out his instructions.
To add weight to my argument I will quote Mahatma Gandhi! He said, “If Christians would really live according to the teaching of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today.”
If we Christians would really live according to the teaching of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of England would be Christian today. But it will mean that the way we live our lives might change dramatically. Are we all in?
So, two little question for us to ponder today: Which words of Jesus are we consciously trying to put into practice? Which part of the sermon on the mount or which Parable? Let’s name it, let’s ask others to pray and to hold us to account…
And question 2.
Who do we quote to those around us? In this world of fake news and opinions galore, are we sharing the teachings of Jesus? Does our advice come from Jesus or from the latest article that we have read on Facebook? Do we quote him in our discussions? Do we help others live out his words or do we share our own opinions, what seems like a good idea at the time?
Our friends and neighbours and work colleagues… they don’t believe in God? Challenge them to put Jesus’ words into practice. Try forgiveness! Try generosity! Try loving your enemy! Try being a peacemaker… As we are discipled by him, we can disciple non-Christians, they can discover God in Jesus’ words even before they have discovered God!
What is God saying to you today?
Father, Help us to hear your word, the life, teaching and parables of Jesus and help us to put what we hear into practice. Help us be part of changing the world by living out your instructions and teaching others to do the same. Amen.
READING: John 7:14-34
Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews there were amazed and asked, ‘How did this man get such learning without having been taught?’
Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 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. 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. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?’
‘You are demon-possessed,’ the crowd answered. ‘Who is trying to kill you?’
Jesus said to them, ‘I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but 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.’
At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, ‘Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.’
Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, ‘Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.’
At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, ‘When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?’
The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.
Jesus said, ‘I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.’