John 7:14-18 – Yeshua Does Not Seek Self-Serving Glory

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POSTED 05 NOVEMBER, 2017

“But when it was now the midst of the feast Yeshua went up into the temple, and began to teach. The Jews then were astonished, saying, ‘How has this man become learned, having never been educated?’ So Yeshua answered them and said, ‘My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.’”

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume I

In a scene which took place during Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2), Yeshua is witnessed teaching in the Temple complex. Yeshua is a controversial figure (John 7:12), doubtlessly because His messages challenged much of the status quo, as well as the character and motives of the Jewish religious leaders (John 7:13). The teaching style and motives of Yeshua do not only speak to His uniqueness as the Messiah of Israel, but the uniqueness of His service, bearing some importance on Christology.

Those encountering Yeshua are astounded, and so they ask, “How does this man know so much without having studied?” (John 7:15, CJB/CJSB), as many of the Jerusalemites had to have considered Yeshua to be an uneducated simpleton from Galilee. Yet, they recognize that Yeshua’s teachings and words have a significant dimension to them. Obviously making reference to His Heavenly Father, Yeshua replies, “My teaching is not from Me, but from Him who sent Me” (John 7:16, TLV). Yeshua raises the further, critical point, “If anyone wants to do His will, he will know whether My teaching comes from God or it is Myself speaking” (John 7:17, TLV). What is important to recognize here, is that Yeshua is not some free, independent agent, only out for some self-serving interest or self-promotion. What Yeshua does has greater importance than just teaching an important series of messages to those in the Temple. As Yeshua stated in John 7:18,

“He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood” (John 7:18, RSV).

Yeshua is not just a teacher in the Temple complex, only out to fulfill His own selfish ambition; Yeshua is out to fulfill the purposes and interests for which He was sent by God the Father. Kruse makes the point how Yeshua’s line of argumentation was similar to various Rabbinical contemporaries, remarking,

“His opponents would have agreed with this statement. In their own teaching they cited the authority of others—rabbi so-and-so says this; rabbi so-and-so says that. Not to do so would be arrogant and evidence of seeking honour for oneself. Jesus did not appeal to the rabbis for his authority; nor was he arrogant….Jesus claimed he worked for the Father’s honour alone, and therefore he was a ‘man of truth’ and there was ‘nothing false about him.’”[1]

Weighing the statement of John 7:18b, “He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him” (alēthēs estin kai adikia en autō ouk estin), Morris makes the astute point,

“Notice that Jesus does not say that He speaks the truth, but that He is true (cf. 14:6). And of Him that is true He further says that there is no unrighteousness in Him. The negative way of putting it may be meant to point to a contrast with the Jews [present] in whom there certainly was unrighteousness.”[2]

Yeshua, even though fully righteous in His entire being, did not choose to use His righteousness as a means to act inappropriately superior to others—but instead as a means to perform the ultimate service. The Carmen Christi of Philippians 2:6-8 directs us how “though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death” (NRSV). As much as these realities cannot easily be processed by those who encounter them in the Holy Scriptures, many cannot even handle how Yeshua in His human Incarnation only taught what the Father told Him to teach (John 7:16)—something obviously representative of wider and further reaching salvation historical factors.


NOTES

[1] Kruse, John, 185.

[2] Morris, John, 406.

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