|Reflections for this date are based on the following scripture passages:|
|John 7||John 8||John 9||Numbers 35||Numbers 36||Psalms 66|
I have often wondered how I might have responded to Jesus had I been present during His incarnation and seen Him and heard Him in the flesh and observed His miracles and listened to Him teach. Would I have been like the religious leaders of that day and rejected Him because He did not observe the traditions of the Jewish religion? How would I have known He was really the Messiah and not just an imposter? The question is still valid today as we seek to recognize true teaching from false teaching, or true teachers as opposed to false teachers.
John chapter 8 offers clues to how we are to know truth from untruth. Chapter 8 gives accounts of oppostion Jesus encountered with the religious leaders over His true identity. Their argument that Jesus was an imposter had several points. Among them was the fact that they knew where Jesus was from and who His family was. If He were the true Messiah, they claimed, they would not know where He was from. He would have simply appeared. But in this argument they did not recognize His virgin birth. Other arguments against Jesus' identity as the Messiah included their claim that He broke the Sabbath with His healings and the unorthodoxy of His teaching. Though they did not voice it, they would have no doubt included in their mental arguments against Him the fact that He did not give them the respect they thought He should.
Counter arguments by those who thought Jesus might truly be the Messiah included His miracles and the authenticity of His teaching. In response to the Pharisees' unbelief, a man for whom Jesus had restored sight said to them, " We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He listens to him. Throughout history no one has ever heard of someone opening the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He wouldn't be able to do anything." (9:31-33)
On both sides, however, these are arguments of logic, and in the midst of these arguments Jesus seems to be saying that recognition of His true identity will be discerned spiritually and not through logic. When logic is involved there is always room for doubt, for the logical arguments do not fully address all the questions. But with spiritual discernment there comes an inner "knowing" which comes to us by God's Spirit which infuses an inner recognition.
At the center of Jesus' responses to the doubters was the statement, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God." (8:42) In other words, if one is truly following God and communing with Him and desiring to obey Him, they will recognize through spiritual discernment what is true and what is not. As long as we try to approach truth only through logic we will never quite get to the truth. There will always be doubts that hold us back. But when spiritually discerned, there will be a "knowing" that puts the doubts aside.