"Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." John 7:16-17 (Read John 7:10-18)
The Jews were divided over who Jesus was and whether His teaching was of God. John 7:12 tells us, "Some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people." Though many were curious about Jesus, most were afraid to speak of Him openly because they were afraid of the Jewish rulers.
When Jesus came to the feast and began teaching in the temple, the people wondered how Jesus had such knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures since He had not studied under the religious leaders and received formal training as a rabbi and teacher of God's Word. Jesus pointed out that His doctrine, His teaching, was not His own but His who sent Him.
So, today, many would preclude anyone from teaching God's Word unless he is first formally trained in a seminary and certified by a church body. The important thing here is not formal training or certification by schools and church bodies but faithfulness to the Word of God.
Jesus responded, "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me." The teaching, the doctrine, of Jesus was not His own but that of God the Father, who sent Him into the world to proclaim the truth and to accomplish the redemption of fallen mankind. In other words, what Jesus taught was not some new doctrine; it was and is the same doctrine taught and revealed throughout the Holy Scriptures. Jesus pointed out man's sin and guilt before God and man's need to repent and look to Him as Messiah and Savior.
It was and is only through repentance and faith in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross that anyone can be pardoned and spared in God's judgment upon this world! Jesus told Nicodemus when he came to visit Jesus at night (John 3:14-16,18): "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ... He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
It is as Jesus said to some of the most legalistic among the Jewish leaders: "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24). To His own disciples, He later said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
How could Jesus' hearers know His doctrine was true? Jesus said, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" (John 7:17). In other words, if anyone listens to God's Word and seeks to do what God wills and directs him to do, he will see and know that Jesus' doctrine is that of God the Father and the truth.
The Old Testament Scriptures -- the writings of Moses and the Prophets, as well as the other Writings of Scripture -- all pointed ahead to the coming of Jesus, the Messiah and Savior of the world. They taught that God's own Son would be born into this world as a man, that He would teach the truth, and that He would suffer and die as a perfect and holy sacrifice to make atonement for the sins of the world and rise again to establish an everlasting kingdom.
Those who do the will of God and repent of their evil ways, looking in faith to Jesus, the promised Messiah and Savior, for pardon, forgiveness, and life eternal, will know that Jesus' teaching is true, for it is the same teaching God gave in the Holy Scriptures. And Jesus' promises are true. He offers forgiveness and eternal life to all who look to Him and His cross in faith.
O Jesus, my Savior, grant that I hear and believe Your Word as the true and life-giving Word of God, that I repent of my sins and trust in Your and Your holy sacrifice on the cross for pardon, forgiveness, and life eternal. Amen.
Editor's note: Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He may be contacted by email at [email protected]. More of Moll's devotional writings are freely available at https://mercifulsaviorlutheran.net. Opinions expressed are those of the author.