Who To Criticize: John 7:19-24


Leonid Mamchenkov criticizing himself.

(Read John 7:19-24)

Last post from the book of John we saw how people were amazed at Jesus’ words because he had no formal education in the scriptures. We also saw how Jesus had an affinity for people who love to do God’s will and seek to glorify Him rather than themselves. (See previous post Choosing A Church (And Who I Should Listen To): John 7:10-18)

Jesus Criticized

In today’s text Jesus reminds a crowd of Jews that God gave their people group the law, yet none of them keeps the law. The truth is, it wasn’t just the crowd of Jews there listening to Jesus that day who didn’t keep the law, but none of us live according to God’s will. None of us are without faults and failings. We all fail and fall at some point. “None is righteous, no, not one . . .” (Romans 3:10, Psalm 14:3, Psalm 53:3)

Then, in our text, Jesus asks, “Why do you seek to kill me?”

And the people say, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?”

Then Jesus reminds them that he healed people on the Sabbath day, causing the religious leadership of his day to become so offended that they plotted to kill Jesus. He points out that those same leaders approve of circumcision on the Sabbath, and yet when Jesus, on the Sabbath day, makes a deformed and broken man’s body whole and healthy, they judge him for it. Makes no sense right?

Then Jesus says, do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.

Who To Criticize

We do a lot of that today, judge by appearances that is. The problem with it is that appearances are usually all we have. We usually can’t know the whole story behind why another person does or doesn’t do something. An example of this is found in our text. The people who told Jesus he had a demon because he said the Jews were trying to kill him, didn’t have all the relevant information. The Jewish religious leaders were indeed trying to kill Jesus, and the reason they gave was because Jesus healed people on the Sabbath. Something that violated their religious tradition.

But the Jews in the crowd didn’t have all the facts.

All the facts.

You know what, in reality, there’s only one Person who has all the facts: God. We judge by appearances only because appearances are all we have. The only One who can know everything there is to know about a person or a situation is God Himself.

Yet we’re quick to judge others, even without all the facts.

There is one exception though, to this problem of judging without all the facts. There is one person for whom we do have all the facts. For me, that person is me. And for you that person is you. That person also happens to be the only person with whom each of us has control. And that person is the only person with whom each individual can really effect change.

But why focus on our own issues? Why focus on our own sins? If we focus on the sins of others we can deflect responsibility for ourselves before God (at least in the short term).

It’s contrary to Jesus’ way.

But we find it so much easier to live a life of pointing out the problems of others rather than focusing on our own obedience of Jesus’ words. So that’s what most of us do.

God help us.

Image via Leonid Mamchenkov – Creative Commons

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