WHO DO YOU SPEAK FOR?
by Jeff Hagan
(Tacoma, WA, USA)
“The Jews therefore marveled, saying, ‘How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?’” (John 7:15, ESV)
Jesus had such a deep and thorough understanding of Scripture that it baffled the Jews. In fact, you could say that it stunned them. As far as we know He did not officially attend a course in Jewish schools which was actually required for the regular scribes, rabbis, Pharisees and Sadducees, but still His knowledge surpassed that of the very Jews who regarded themselves as the sole teachers of Scripture. No one in history had ever spoken with such authority, grace and dignity. No one had ever been able to use and explain Jewish allegories and parables with such proficiency. No one had ever quoted the Scriptures more accurately or had such an astute and deep understanding of the traditions of the elders. How in the world could this be?
Jesus actually explained to the Jews the reason for this incredible truth. The source of Jesus’ teachings was not rooted in His own knowledge alone, but in God the Father who sent Him. What Jesus taught was not simply lectures on philosophy or the ideas and opinions of human beings, but the eternal truth straight from His Father in heaven. Christ and His teachings could be completely trusted and relied upon. And because they were the very words of God Himself, they glorified Him alone. However, the Jews were preaching and teaching their own words, from their own mind, traditions as opposed to biblical truth. Even worse than that, they had only one goal: to glorify themselves.
That is the direct opposite of what we are to do. We are to speak, act, and teach all things for the glory of God alone. Therefore, it would be very wise for us to carefully consider our words when we teach Scripture and preach the gospel. When proclaiming the truth, the old-fashioned message of salvation and forgiveness, we need our words to be glorifying God alone. Can God rely on us? Do we really study Scripture as scrupulously as we should before we speak out? Do we truly understand what we are saying and are we being faithful in our sermons, lessons, articles and books to the teachings of Christ? Do we stop and “listen” to the Spirit before we let out our words, either in speech or print? And, are we truly living what we are saying? We must be careful as we are held to a higher level accountability when we teach, preach, and evangelize. I don’t mean to instill fear or worry with this brief message. What I desire is for us to be inspired to live and speak things that bring glory to God alone, not ourselves. We must stand for truth and stand against pride.