John 7:17
If anyone desires to do His will, he will know whether My teaching is from God or whether I speak on My own.
A Good Will the Condition of Spiritual DiscernmentJ.R. Thomson John 7:17
An Obedient Spirit the Key of TruthW. H. Lewis, D. D.John 7:17
Christ's Authority and the Way to Ascertain itD. Young John 7:17
Christ's Method of Christian EvidenceJ. Laidlaw, D. D.John 7:17
Duty and KnowledgeE. Mellor, D. D.John 7:17
Faith CultureS. S. Mitchell, D. D.John 7:17
Honest Seeking for the TruthH. Melvill, B. D.John 7:17
Importance of the Will in Religion"Commentary for Schools."John 7:17
Knowing by DoingM. R. Vincent, D. D.John 7:17
Knowledge of the Doctrine of Christ the Fruit of Willing to Do ItBp. S. Wilberforce.John 7:17
Obedience Helps KnowledgeC. H. Spurgeon.John 7:17
Obedience not CompulsionH. W. Burgoyne.John 7:17
Obedience the Key of KnowledgeWorthington.John 7:17
Obedience the Organ of Spiritual KnowledgeF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 7:17
Scepticism: its Cause and CureR. Roberts.John 7:17
The Certitudes of ReligionA. J. Behrends, D. D.John 7:17
The Highest Truths are Only Revealed Under Certain ConditionsJohn 7:17
The Mutual Relation of Obedience and KnowledgeBishop Magee.John 7:17
The Tendency of Religious Practice to Promote Right SentimentsCongregational RemembrancerJohn 7:17
The True Order of Religious KnowledgeChristian Advocate.John 7:17
Via IntelligenticaeJeremy Taylor.John 7:17
Why Christ's Doctrine was Rejected by the JewsR. South, D. D.John 7:17
An Unsuccessful MinistryD. Lewis.John 7:1-18
Christ an Example of PrudenceBp. Ryle.John 7:1-18
Christ and ManBp. Ryle.John 7:1-18
Christ FoundC. H. Spurgeon.John 7:1-18
Christ Must be Openly PraisedDr. Guthrie.John 7:1-18
Christ When He Comes Brings DivisionG. Calthrop, M. A.John 7:1-18
Christians May Find Opportunities of Doing Good At Any Time and AnywhereR. Brewin, "Lecture on Uncle John Vassar."John 7:1-18
Church FestivalsHooker.John 7:1-18
Cowardly ChristiansC. H. Spurgeon.John 7:1-18
Diverse Effects of Contact with ChristCanon Liddon.John 7:1-18
For Neither Did His Brethren Believe in HimJ. Orton.John 7:1-18
Go Ye Up to This FeastT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 7:1-18
His BrethrenP. Schaff, D. D.John 7:1-18
How Christians Should Act in Times of DangerJ. Trapp.John 7:1-18
InfidelityD. Thomas, D. D.John 7:1-18
Jesus and His BrethrenProf. Godet.John 7:1-18
Limitations of Human GreatnessJ. B. Thomas, D. D.John 7:1-18
Misused OpportunityBp. Horne., T. Jones, D. D.John 7:1-18
Moral CowardiceJ. W. Burn.John 7:1-18
Motives for Seeking ChristW. H. Van Doren, D. D.John 7:1-18
My Time is not Yet Come; But Your Time is Alway ReadyL. Shackleford.John 7:1-18
Openly ReligiousHooker.John 7:1-18
Opportunities of Doing Good Should be Seized EagerlyRichard Baxter.John 7:1-18
Opportunity UnusedUnion MagazineJohn 7:1-18
SalvationMassillon.John 7:1-18
Self RevelationJ. Spencer.John 7:1-18
Show Thyself to the WorldP. B. Power, M. A.John 7:1-18
Striking ContrastsD. Thomas, D. D.John 7:1-18
The Antagonism Between Christ and the WorldG. Calthrop, M. A.John 7:1-18
The Feast of TabernaclesProf. Luthardt., J. T. Bannister, LL. D.John 7:1-18
The Folly of Moral CowardiceJ. Beaumont, M. D.John 7:1-18
The Situation SurveyedT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 7:1-18
The Unbelief of Christ's BrethrenMathematicus.John 7:1-18
The World's Treatment of ChristW. H. Van Doren, D. D.John 7:1-18
The World's Treatment of the ChurchS. Coley., Terence.John 7:1-18
Unbelief an ObstructionJohn 7:1-18
Want of Religious Sympathy At Home"Pilgrim's Progress."John 7:1-18
We Must not Seek MartyrdomJohn 7:1-18
We Must Openly Show Our Love to ChristDr. Cuyler.John 7:1-18
Where is HeC. H. Spurgeon.John 7:1-18
Where is HeHomiletic ReviewJohn 7:1-18
Where to Find ChristC. H. Spurgeon.John 7:1-18
Why Christ Hid HimselfJ. Trapp.John 7:1-18

Intellectual men are apt to set too high a value upon the exercise of the intellect. And in this error they are often confirmed by the notions of the ignorant and uninstructed, who look up with wonder to the learned and the mentally acute, and are willing to think such prodigies of knowledge must be assured possessors of all good things. But the fact is, that the highest of all possessions is to be attained, not by the scholarship or the ability which men often overestimate, but by the trusting heart and the obedient and submissive will. Nowhere is this great spiritual lesson more plainly and effectively inculcated than in this passage.

I. THE SOURCE OF CHRIST'S DOCTRINE. This was a mystery to many of the Jews, who knew that Jesus was born in a lowly station, and that he had not been trained in the schools of rabbinical learning, and who could not understand how he could teach with such justice, profundity, and beauty. With this difficulty Jesus here deals.

1. The doctrine of Jesus is asserted by himself to be derived. He repudiated the notion that he spake from himself, i.e. from the experience or originality of a merely human mind.

2. The doctrine of Jesus is asserted by himself to be Divine. It was neither his own, nor that of a school of learning, nor was it a mere amplification of the sayings of the ancient legislator and the ancient prophets. Jesus ever claimed to have come from God, and to have acted and spoken with the authority of God. This, however, was his assertion; how were his hearers to verify it?

II. THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST'S DOCTRINE. There were many who listened to the discourses and conversations of the great Teacher, who were familiar with his language, but who were unacquainted with, and indifferent to, the spiritual meaning and power of which that language was, to sympathetic souls, the vehicle. How can this meaning and power be known?

1. There must be a will in harmony with God's will. Man is not merely an intellectual being; he is emotional and practical. And the will is the man. It is the habitual purposes which determine the man's character. Many persona have insight into truth, and even admiration of truth, whose moral life is nevertheless evil, because they abandon themselves to be the sport of every fleeting passion. The habitual indulgence of passion, pride, and worldliness blinds the spiritual vision, so that the highest good becomes indiscernible. And thus three who are not without natural gifts of intelligence become incapable of judging the highest type of character or of doctrine. On the other hand, the cultivation of a will in harmony with the Divine will is the means of purifying the spiritual vision. When the good is habitually chosen, the true comes to be habitually sought and prized.

2. The will thus in harmony with God's will recognizes the Divine origin of Christ's teaching. Both by reason of his acquaintance with the mind of God, and by his sympathy with the Law and the truth of God, the devout and obedient man is fitted to pronounce upon the origin of the Lord's teaching. "He that is spiritual judgeth all things;" he has "the mind of Christ." Thus it is, as our Lord acknowledged with gratitude, that things hidden from the wise and prudent are often revealed unto babes. His own apostles were a living illustration of this law. And every age furnishes examples of clever men, and even learned men, who have misunderstood and misrepresented Christ's teaching, because they have not been in sympathy with the righteous and holy will of the Eternal; whilst every age furnishes also examples of simple and unlettered men who, because lovers of goodness, have displayed a special discernment of mind in apprehending, and even in teaching, Christian doctrine. In this, as in other respects, it is the childlike nature that enters the kingdom of heaven. - T.

Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the Temple and taught.
Whatever theory men hold respecting Christ's person and work, all regard Him as an unparalleled teacher. Four things distinguish Him from all His competitors.

I. HE POPULARIZED RELIGION. The common people heard Him gladly. What audiences He drew I When He began to teach religion had lost its hold on the world. People were wearied of the parodies which went by the name. Christ taught that it was not a doctrine but a life; not a speculation, but a love; not conversion to a sect, but change of heart; and that teaching was at once a revelation and a revolution. What, in despair, the people had come to regard as dreary and repulsive, He made them feel was bright and beautiful, and so popularized religion.

II. HE REVOLUTIONIZED THINKING. It is more important to make men think aright than to teach them what is right. You cannot ensure their believing or obeying your instruction, but if you can start them in conscientious search of what is good, you do them enduring service. Christ did both, but pre-eminently He liberated the intellect and rationalized its operations. There was plenty of colossal thinking before Christ, but it was simply constructive speculation or destructive criticism. And when He came, it was not as another philosopher, to build another stagey system. Men complain that His thinking is defective because fragmentary; but this is its strength. When men asked for His principles He threw in a simple sentence, "You must be born again," "Love your neighbour," some terse, pregnant phrase which has become the current mental coin of the leading people of the earth. Any other teacher would have said, "Come into my class-room and take my lectures; the curriculum is seven years." Christ could settle it in seven minutes.

1. He initiated spontaneous judgment. Instead of sending people to books, He sent them to their own hearts.

2. He introduced liberty of conscience. Whoever heard of men demanding freedom to think and judge for themselves before He came? And yet that freedom has been a ruling maxim of society since. Out of these two changes have grown infinite results, and are quite sufficient to prove that He revolutionized thinking.

III. HE REORGANIZED SOCIETY. The liberty He vindicated involved equality and fraternity. It is fashionable to denounce Socialism, and when it becomes Nihilism or Communism it is a senseless burlesque. He meant that men should serve each other, and not that the lazy should share with the diligent; that as there was a common Fatherhood in God there must be a common brotherhood among men. So He reconstructed society on the basis of mutual respect and reciprocal love. This reconstruction meant —

1. That He recruited our hopes. He came to a weary world. Then a few proud, petrified men ruled, and the heart of the crowd was crushed and despairing. The Beatitudes fell on their sad hearts like rain on a drooping flower, and they looked up and felt that a new chance was open to them all. So it is wherever Christ comes now.

2. That He verified our aspirations. Men sighed for another world, but they scarcely knew whether or not to look for it. He came and said, "If it were not so I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you."

IV. HE DIGNIFIED PASSION. Passion, whether good or bad, is the greatest power in the world. When He came it was everywhere disordered. He purified and released and transformed it into affection. Up to that time men knew not exactly what to make of the emotions implied by such words as sorrow, pain, suffering. He gave them at once a status and vindicated their place in the economy of God. The tendency previously was to stifle pathos, and sneer at sentiment. He sanctified and employed them for the noblest ends.

(W. R. Attwood.)

Wherein did its peculiar power consist? The secret of its influence lies in no peculiar excellence of diction. Jesus was no poet, orator, or philosopher. It is not the charm of poetry that attracts us, not the ingenious application which surprises, not flights of eloquence which carry us away, not bold speculation which evokes our astonishment. No one could speak with more simplicity than Jesus, whether on the Mount, in the parables, or in the high priestly prayer. But this is the very reason of His influence, that He utters the greatest and most sublime truths in the present words, so that, as Pascal says, one might almost think He was Himself unconscious what truths He was propounding, only He expressed them with much clearness, certainty, and conviction, that we see how well He knew what He was saying. We cannot fail to see that the world of eternal truth is His home, and that His thoughts have constant intercourse therewith. He speaks of God and of His relation to Him, of the super- mundane world of spirits, of the future world and the future life of man; of the kingdom of God upon earth, of its nature and history; of the highest moral truths, and of the supreme obligations of man; in short, of all the greatest problems and deepest enigmas of life — as simply and plainly, with such an absence of mental excitement, without expatiating upon His peculiar knowledge, and even without that dwelling upon details so usual with those who have anything new to impart, as though all were quite natural and self-evident. We see that the sublimest truths are His nature. He is not merely a teacher of truth, but is Himself its source. He can say "I am the Truth." And the feeling with which we listen to His words is, that we are listening to the voice of truth itself. Hence the power which these have at all times exercised over the minds of men.

(Prof. Luthardt.)

Suppose a geometrician should be drawing lines and figures, and there should come in some silly, ignorant fellow, who, seeing him, should laugh at him, would the artist, think you, leave off his employment because of his derision? Surely not; for he knows that he laughs at him out of his ignorance, as not knowing his art and the grounds thereof.

(J. Preston.)

And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, never having learned
We have a great many men who are original in the sense of being originators, within a certain boundary of educated thought. But the originality of Christ is uneducated. That He draws nothing from the stores of learning can be seen at a glance. Indeed, there is nothing in Him that belongs to His age or country — no one opinion, taste, or prejudice. The attempts that have been made to show that He borrowed His sentiments from the Persians and the Eastern forms of religion, or that He had been intimate with the Essence and borrowed from them, or that He must have been acquainted with the schools and religions of Egypt, deriving His doctrine from them — all attempts of the kind have so palpably failed, as not even to require a deliberate answer. If He is simply a man, as we hear, then He is most certainly a new and singular kind of man, never before heard of, as great a miracle as if He were not a man. Whatever He advances is from Himself. Shakespeare, e.g., probably the most creative and original spirit the world has ever produced, and a self-made man, is yet tinged in all His works with human learning. He is the high-priest, we sometimes hear, of human nature. But Christ, understanding human nature so as to address it more skilfully than he, never draws from its historic treasures. Neither does He teach by human methods. He does not speculate about God like a school professor. He does not build up a frame of evidence from below by some constructive process, such as the philosophers delight in; but He simply speaks of God and spiritual things as one who has come out from Him to tell us what He knows. At the same time He never reveals the infirmity so commonly shown by human teachers. When they veer a little from their point or turn their doctrine off by shades of variation to catch the assent of multitudes, He never conforms to an expectation even of His friends. Again, Christ was of no school or party, and never went to any extreme, words could never turn Him to a one-sided view of anything. This distinguishes Him from every other known teacher. He never pushes Himself to any extremity. He is never a radical, never a conservative. And further, while advancing doctrines so far transcending all the deductions of philosophy, and opening mysteries that defy all human powers of explication, He is yet able to set His teachings in a form of simplicity that accommodates all classes of minds. No one of the great writers of antiquity had even propounded, as yet, a doctrine of virtue which the multitude could understand. But Jesus tells them directly, in a manner level to their understandings, what they must do and be to inherit eternal life, and their inmost convictions answer to His words.

(H. Bushnell, D. D.)

The wisdom of Christ's teaching has proved a hard problem to infidels for 1,800 years. To this day it stands above the efforts of the mightiest and most trained minds.

(W. H. Van Doren, D. D.)

And Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me

1. Concerning God.

(1)His nature — spirit (John 4:24).

(2)His character — love (John 3:16).

(3)His purpose — salvation (John 3:17).

(4)His requirement — faith (John 6:29).

2. Concerning Himself,

(1)His heavenly origin — from above (John 6:38).

(2)This higher being — the Son of the Father (John 6:17).

(3)His Divine commission — sent by God (John 5:37).

(4)His gracious errand — to give life to the world (John 5:21; John 6:51).

(5)His future glory — to raise the dead (John 5:28).

3. Concerning man —

(1)Apart from Him, dead (John 5:24) and perishing (John 3:16).

(2)In Him possessed of eternal life.

4. Concerning salvation —

(1)Its substance — eternal life (John 5:24).

(2)Its condition — hearing His word (John 5:24), believing in God (John 5:24), coming to Him (John 5:40).

II. ITS DIVINITY. Three sources possible for Christ's teaching.

1. Others. He might have acquired it by education. But this Christ's contemporaries negatived. He had never studied at a rabbinical school .(ver. 15).

2. Himself. He might have evolved it from His own religious consciousness. But this Christ here repudiates.

3. God. This He expressly claimed, and that not merely as prophets had received Divine communications, but in a way that was unique (John 5:19, 20; John 8:28; John 12:49), as one who had been in eternity with God (John 1:1,18; 3:11).


1. Its self-verifying character: such as would produce in the mind of every sincere person who desired to do the Divine will a clear conviction of its divinity (ver. 17).

2. Its God-glorifying aim. Had it been human it would have followed the law of all such developments; its Publisher would have had a tendency to glorify Himself in its propagation. The entire absence of this in Christ's case was a phenomenon to which He invited observation. The complete.absorption of the messenger and the message in the Divine glory was proof that both belonged to a different than human category.

3. Its sinless bearer. This follows from the preceding. A messenger whose devotion to God was perfect as Christ's was could not be other than sinless. But if the messenger were sinless there could be no unveracity in His message or in what He said concerning it. Lessons:

1. The marvellous in Christianity.

2. The insight of obedience.

3. The danger of high intellectual endowments.

4. The connection between truth and righteousness.

5. The sinlessness of Jesus an argument for His divinity.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

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