Read John 7:14-31
Jesus did eventually make his way to the Festival of Booths in Jerusalem, but he did so in secret because he was not trying to make a name for himself, rather do the will of the one who sent him. Jesus’ goal was to be in sync with the Father, and draw people to the Father…not merely himself. And Jesus said that his preaching was not his own, but the one of him who sent him – the Father. If a person speaks in his own authority, then he seeks his own glory, but Jesus was seeking the glory of the Father. The ones who know this are the ones seeking to do God’s will. In a manner of speaking, Jesus says like knows like. He is doing the Father’s will and others seeking to do the Father’s will would recognize it as such. That is more than just obeying the law, but seeking to give God the glory for it when one does rather than seeking glory from another.
Jesus then calls out the ones trying to kill him, because Jesus was a threat to them in that he could expose them for who they really were. They of course deny they are trying to kill him because he had claimed equality with God and healed a man on the Sabbath (John 5:16-23). Jesus was recalling these facts, but they rebutted, saying he was crazy. But Jesus offers another rebuttal to strike at the heart of the matter. One part of the law says that a male child should be circumcised on the eighth day (Genesis 17:12) but another part of the law says that one should not work on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11). Sometimes, the eighth day would fall on the Sabbath. So in order to uphold the law of circumcision, one had to “break” the law of the Sabbath. Jesus was pointing out that they were doing this very thing, such that they were nitpicking what they wanted to from the law. Jesus says the issue is not a matter of the letter of the law, but a matter as to what is right, and if healing on the Sabbath is right, then by all means.
Jesus then goes back to the original issue – personal glory and testimony. A number of believed in Jesus, probably because they understood and were not pretentious. They allege that they know where Jesus is from and that no one will know where the Christ will come from. On the other hand, Jesus “shouted” in the temple to them, saying they know who he is and where he comes from. Jesus was not speaking about which town he was from, but his origin in heaven, and that they knew this to be the case. They were trying to make it a matter of technicality rather than a matter of truth. They did not believe in God, rather were seeking glory for themselves. Jesus in a sense had just exposed them for who they really were, and they knew it. For this reason, they wanted to seize him, but no one did because Jesus’ time had not come (John 13:2).
Often times, people use religion as a means to gain glory for themselves. They use the guise of piety and abuse the authority of teachers to garner worldly things such as money and fame. Jesus could have easily done this, but was making moves as to not gain popularity and draw people away from God, rather point people to him. The ones who seek the will of the Father will recognize those who are authentic and the ones that are not. The job of the Christian is not to go on a witch hunt, but to continuously do the will of the Father. Others, then, will be able to see through the guise and know who is true and who is not true and believe.
Lord, the glory is yours! Help me to not seek it for myself!