Is Jesus For Real?
A daily devotion for January 20th
Jesus Goes to the Festival of Tabernacles
7 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.
10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?”
12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”
Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.
Jesus Teaches at the Festival
14 Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 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. 18 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. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”
20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”
21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. 22 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. 23 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? 24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
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.(John 7:17)
Do you ever wonder if Jesus actually was what he claimed to be? Do you have trouble at times understanding what he is saying in these tremendous passages, especially in the Gospel of John? Well, if that is the case, he tells you what to do: Practice what he says. Obey his words. Repent of your sins. Come to him. Cast yourself upon his mercy. Believe in his forgiveness, and go out in obedience and treat people the way he says to. Then you will know from an inside knowledge that no one can take away that what he says is true, because his teaching is in line with the reality you are seeing of God at work through you.
This is a principle that runs all through life: You learn by doing. A doctor may learn all that the medical books can teach him, but until he gets his hands into surgery or dispenses medicines to people who are sick he never really learns. The same is true in any field: You learn by doing. When you do what Jesus says, you begin to understand with a deep conviction that he knows what life is all about.
This explains the phenomenon of certain people who become Christians—some of them early, some late in life—and who immediately practice what they have learned, and grow with astonishing rapidity. They become grown up, capable, well-adjusted whole persons, seemingly almost overnight, while others who sit under the teaching of the Scripture for years hardly seem to grow at all; they are still childlike in their behavior, emotionally upset, anxious, and fear-ridden. This is because they are not doing what they hear. Those who put into practice the truth they hear begin to grow immediately.
In Washington, D. C. years ago, I met a hard-bitten old Marine General, one of those tough, self-sufficient characters who was used to giving orders. After he had retired he became a Christian and grew with astonishing rapidity. Everyone who knew him saw the change. They respected him as much as they always had, but they saw a compassion, an understanding, a patience develop in him that was never there before. When I asked one of the Christian leaders why this was true, he replied:
When General Silverthorn hears something from the Scripture, he obeys it immediately. That is why he grew so fast.
Yet some people who have been exposed to the gospel for years never seem to grow. After years of sitting under the ministry of the Scriptures they still think an epistle is the wife of an apostle! I am grateful for the many people I know who put into practice what they learn. How encouraging to see how quickly they grow and become strong so that they are able to stand and work out the problems of life.
Thank you, Lord, for your clear teaching about life. Forgive me for my self-deceits, my falsehoods, my lying to myself. Keep me trusting your word, understanding it and seeking to obey it that I might learn what it really says.
Life Application: Do you ever wonder if Jesus actually was what he claimed to be? Do you have trouble at times understanding what he is saying in the scriptures?
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