This was the question asked by the Pharisees of the officers sent to arrest Jesus when they returned without him. They reply, “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46,47).
John, the disciple most intimately associated with Jesus (John 21:7,20) records his teaching in detail, and the reader needs to reflect deeply about the points Jesus is making. There was a seven-day feast in Jerusalem, many were looking for Jesus, but it was only “about the middle of the feast (that) Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching” (verse 14). They marvel at his words; “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God …” (verses 16,17). And that is true today as we read his words. Paul was later to declare, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness …” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Proverbs are an outstanding example of this.
If our hearts are genuinely operating on a spiritual wavelength we will accept the point Jesus makes, “The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood” (verse 18).
Ever since the days of Jesus the existence of human self-seeking among those claiming to follow him can be observed: Jesus sums up this part of his message by stating, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (verse 24). The religious leaders, dismayed at the popularity of Jesus were blinded by jealousy, there was no humility, and this is why they said to those who failed to arrest Jesus, “Have you also been deceived?” (verse 47).
Every generation has those who are self-deceived – it is the kind of pride that so easily springs from human nature. Our careful and prayerful reading of God’s word is the antidote. John made an essential point in his first letter, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1:8). Let is make sure the “truth is … in us” and read and meditate on God’s word every day and come closer to Him and His Son who came to give real meaning and purpose to our lives.