Humble Hero


Among Snares

This chapter is based on John 7:16-36, 40-53; 8:1-11.

All during the feast Jesus was shadowed by spies. Day after day brought new attempts to silence Him. The priests and rulers were planning to stop Him by violence. On the first day at the feast they demanded by what authority He taught. HH 211.1

“My teaching is not mine,” said Jesus, “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.” John 7:16, 17, NRSV. Understanding and appreciating truth, He said, depends less on the mind than on the heart. Truth claims the allegiance of the will. We can receive it only through the work of grace in the heart, and its reception depends on our renouncing every sin that the Spirit of God reveals. There must be a conscientious surrender of every habit and practice opposed to its principles. Those who yield themselves to God in this way will be able to distinguish between someone who speaks for God and someone who speaks merely from himself. The Pharisees were not seeking to know the truth but to find some excuse to evade it. This was why they did not understand Christ’s teaching. HH 211.2

“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.” NRSV. The spirit of self-seeking reveals its own origin. But Christ was seeking the glory of God. This was the evidence of His authority as a teacher of the truth. HH 211.3

Jesus gave the rabbis an evidence of His divinity by showing that He read their hearts. They had been plotting His death, and so they were breaking the law that they claimed to be defending. “Did not Moses give you the law,” He said, “yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” HH 211.4

Like a swift flash of light, these words revealed the pit of ruin into which they were about to fall. For an instant they saw that they were fighting against Infinite Power. But they refused to be warned. They determined to conceal their murderous plans. Evading the question, they exclaimed, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?” HH 211.5

Christ ignored the insinuation that an evil spirit had prompted His wonderful works. He went on to show that the Jews’ own interpretation of the Sabbath law justified His work of healing at Bethesda. According to the law, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day. If the appointed time fell on the Sabbath, the rite must be performed then. How much more must it be in harmony with the spirit of the law to make a man “completely well on the Sabbath.” He warned them, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” His reasoning silenced the rulers. HH 211.6