John 7: 14-36
About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. The Jews were astonished at it, saying, ‘How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?’ Then Jesus answered them, ‘My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.
‘Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?’ The crowd answered, ‘You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?’ Jesus answered them, ‘I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.’
Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.’ Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, ‘You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.’ Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, ‘When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?’
The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering such things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent temple police to arrest him. Jesus then said, ‘I will be with you a little while longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will search for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.’ The Jews said to one another, ‘Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, “You will search for me and you will not find me” and, “Where I am, you cannot come”?’
It is a new week! I praise God for the blessing of worship within the Parker UMC community of faith. It is always wonderful to gather together so we can hear the Word, lift our prayers, and discover new ways to serve the Lord in our community. I pray that this season of Lent will be a time when you increase your commitment to be a deeply- connected part of the Body of Christ that we know as the Parker United Methodist Church!
As we read the passage from the Gospel of John today we discover something very interesting about Jesus. Take a look at verse sixteen. Other rabbis and great teachers spent long days at the feet of other teachers. They gained their wisdom from others so they could pass it along to the people. But Jesus is different. (That may be the biggest understatement of the year!) He did not gain spiritual knowledge from other great masters of the faith. He received it directly from God. As a result, he could speak with great authority.
Authority is an interesting thing. Who (or what) holds authority over your life? Is it the unspoken but powerful rules from your family of origin? Maybe it is your employment? Or perhaps there is something that no one else really sees…it is unseen but powerful in your life.
It may be just the right time (remember Kairos?) for a shift of authority. After all, that really is our Lenten journey. It is a long forty day walk with God that always carries the invitation to consider shifting our faith, lightening our load, and allowing God to have greater leadership in our lives.
Authority is an interesting thing.