“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.” John 7.21-24
An initial reading of this passage might leave the reader confused since Jesus has just arrived in the Jerusalem and has not performed any miracles.
In these verses Jesus refers to doing a miracle and healing a whole man’s body on the Sabbath. However, this is his first trip back to Jerusalem in weeks or perhaps months since he was last in the city for another festival. The miracle of the healing is from John 5 when Jesus healed the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda.
Since this is his first time back in the city, people are still referring to that moment. He is the talk of the town. Whereas some people were amazed at his act, others think he is demon-possessed and a law breaker. Even though Jesus hasn’t returned to Jerusalem in some time, people haven’t forgotten the incredible deeds he performed.
He says to them, “I did one miracle and you are all amazed.” The tone here is anything but welcoming. It’s as if Jesus is saying, “I did one simple thing that was out of the ordinary and now you worship me?” He then rebukes them about obeying the law of Moses by circumcising on the Sabbath but upset because he healed a whole man’s body on the Sabbath. Then he says, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
The tone implied by Jesus isn’t — “hey let’s all get along and everything is groovy Jesus”. His manner of speaking is direct, straight-forward and perhaps a little harsh. Not that they didn’t deserve this! But it’s not a pleasant conversation. He is frustrated about their behavior, their lack of faith, and their practice of the law which is not consistent with what the Lord intended. As a result, they are judging incorrectly.
Society does the same thing. I read a Jim Denison article this week about how some groups promote inclusivity at the expense of excluding conservative Christians. Our culture, which is counter to Christ, is no different than those in first century Jerusalem who were misjudging Jesus. They believed what they wanted to believe and not with what the Bible taught.
How often do we do the same? What our is source of authority if it is not the Bible? Let’s encourage one another to carefully seek God’s will for our lives today and seek to judge correctly his truth. So the world might know a God who saves, who cares and who never gives up.
“O Lord God, I praise you Lord for your power and your love. Thank you for your patience when we fail to understand your word and misalign the truth. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your passion. Help me walk in accordance with your steps and in imitate the Son who imitates the Father. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen