Wednesday after Jubilate
Scripture: St. John 7:14-24 (NKJV)
14 Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. 15 And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” 16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. 18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. 19 Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” 20 The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?” 21 Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. 22 Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? 24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
The Jews understood, unlike many people today, that nobody had the authority to speak for God unless God sent him. The person who spoke according to his own authority was simply not to be heard. This is why the Lord Jesus presents such a problem for some of the Jews. Clearly there was something about Him to marvel. “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” However, this same Man had healed on the Sabbath and appeared to break the Law. How could His authority be from God?
Luther says, “He who fails to seek God’s glory sincerely and earnestly, but speaks of himself, cannot possibly be upright and proclaim God’s Word in its purity. A servant who speaks his own mind and not his master’s command is lying. He disgraces his master with his pretense and refuses to say what his master has commanded…He who ‘speaks on his own authority’ is covetous of honor; he is idolatrous and despises God. He is God’s enemy and an idolater. He preaches what he wants, and he strives only to be regarded as a learned man and to be richly remunerated. He alone wants to be heard; he desires all power; he wants to command and bluster like a tyrant. He cares neither about God nor about the souls of men.”
A true preacher of the Word points to Christ, gives Him the glory, and proclaims God’s Word in its truth and purity and administers the Sacraments according to Christ’s command. Such was the preaching of Our Lord Jesus. He proclaimed the Christ, the One Who had come into the world to save the world from sin, death, and the devil. He preached Himself, and all those who believe on Him receive forgiveness, life, and salvation.