1 Mar. John 7:14-24

1 Mar. Don't judge by the way things appear

"When the Feast [of Shelters] was about half over, Jesus went to the Temple and began to teach. The Jews were amazed and said, 'This man has never studied. How did he learn so much?'"

"Jesus answered, 'The things I teach are not my own, but they come from him who sent me. If people choose to do what God wants, they will know that my teaching comes from God and not from me. Those who teach their own ideas are trying to get honour for themselves. But those who try to bring honour to the one who sent them speak the truth, and there is nothing false in them.'"

"'Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys that law. Why are you trying to kill me?'"

"The people answered, 'A demon has come into you. We are not trying to kill you.'"

"Jesus said to them, 'I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Moses gave you the law about circumcision... And yet you circumcise a baby on a Sabbath day. If a baby can be circumcised on a Sabbath day to obey the law of Moses, why are you angry at me for healing a person's whole body on the Sabbath day?'"

"'Stop judging by the way things look, but judge by what is really right.'"

          (John 7:14-24)



Jesus was an amazing teacher. Living in a highly religious society, he taught people to think differently about the traditional beliefs and values people had been brought up to believe in.

Rather than blindly accepting the religious and cultural norms of his day, he taught people to question why they acted the way they did.

This was radical teaching - and is just as true and thought-provoking today as it was then.

The specific point Jesus was making was about Sabbath observance. The Ten Commandments of God, revealed to Moses on Mt Sinai, included the instruction to "Keep the Sabbath holy [i.e. 'special' or 'set apart']… the seventh day is a day of rest to honour the LORD your God. On that day no one may do any work." (Exodus 20:8-11)

God intended the Sabbath to be a day of rest, set apart from the other six days of our normal daily work pattern. A day to worship and thank God, and to enjoy his blessings with our family and friends.

But the Jewish leaders had put all manner of petty rules and regulations in place defining precisely what was meant by 'work', so that Sabbath observance had become a heavy burden rather than a time for rest and relaxation.

Jesus told his audience to think again. What was the original purpose of the commandment? What did it really mean? Did it mean you couldn't heal (or prepare food, or drive your car) on the Sabbath day? Or was it about having a rest from your daily work and using the time to praise God and relax with your family and friends? To enjoy a family meal together and drive into the countryside?

We are all brought up to accept the norms of the society in which we live; but Jesus says we should question and challenge those norms. They may be fine; but we may need to rethink our attitudes, and "judge by what is really right." (John 7:24)

So what, as Christians, should our attitudes be towards, for example, Abortion, Homosexuality and Lesbianism, Transgender issues, Unrestrained Capitalism, Global Warming, Immigration, Refugees, Freedom of Speech, Preserving the life of sick and elderly people?

Do we just accept our society's norms, or do we consciously try to put our long-held views to one side and re-assess "what is really right" in God's eyes? To ask "what would Jesus have done" is a good guide to assessing the moral dilemmas of our day.

The photo was taken at Kings Park Botanic Garden in Perth, Western Australia.

You can read more about Jesus's teachings @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/jesus-pays-the-temple-tax/

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