By Douglas K. Wilson, Ph.D.
Professor of Biblical Studies, University of Mobile
HE SENT ME
John’s Gospel records 30 references to Jesus speaking of the One who “sent Me.”
His high priestly prayer in chapter 17 contains five instances of Him affirming to the Father, “You sent Me.”
Perhaps the most appropriate verse to preview this lesson comes from His earlier statement, “I can do nothing on My own. I judge only as I hear, and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (5:30).
Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him, but others did. He went to Jerusalem, not by His brothers’ goading, but because the Father sent Him.
People whispered about Him, wondering if He would come to celebrate Sukkot, the autumn harvest festival.
They gathered courage to speak openly about Jesus only after He began teaching in the temple.
From the Father (14–19)
Where did Jesus receive training? Pedigree matters among scholars. How was it that Jesus, who grew up in a carpenter’s shop in Nazareth, was rising in popularity as a rabbi? Who trained and authorized Him?
One could argue Jesus was trained by theological giants when He was an adolescent. Luke records He received an accelerated course in theology at the age of 12 (Luke 2:46–49).
Jesus received training from the Father.
His intent was to glorify the Father, not self-glory or notoriety. He had no ambition to attain the scholastic status of Hillel, a highly significant scholar of the oral law in His day.
He was fully aware of an undercurrent among Jerusalem’s religious power brokers who deemed Him a threat.
Some felt His teachings were blasphemous and worthy of death — He was calling God Father.
With Righteousness (20–24)
Jesus voiced concern about their plans to kill Him, so they accused Him of having a demon.
This accusation was a recurring theme (7:20, 8:48, 8:52, 10:20). Ultimately, the Sanhedrin’s death warrant indicted Him of sorcery and leading Israel to apostasy (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a).
The religious leaders’ judgments were biased and inconsistent. Jesus confronted them openly.
How can healing a man break the Sabbath commandment, while circumcising a baby boy on the Sabbath does not? He said their judgment was based on appearances, not righteousness.
Jesus judges with righteousness. He judges rightly, based on God’s revealed word.
By contrast, ritualistic Jewish leaders based their decisions and commentary on oral and cultural traditions.
Many cultural Christians today follow tradition more than Scripture. Jesus instructs all of us to discern rightly.
They Know Each Other (25–29)
Jesus knew the people, and some of them recognized Him. They asked questions, wondering if the religious leaders thought He was the Messiah. Then they demonstrated unfamiliarity with messianic prophecy, suggesting no one would know where the Christ came from.
Scribes and Pharisees knew He was to be born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:5–6; Mic. 5:2). Isaiah prophesied the great light would come out of Galilee, where Jesus’ ministry began (Isa. 9:1–7).
Knowing His identity is not enough. The chapter begins with His brothers chiding Him to go to Judea to be seen by more people. Even His brothers, who knew Him, did not believe Him (v. 5). It is not enough to simply acknowledge Jesus as a historical figure. We must believe in Him as the Anointed One, the Son of God.