John 7:16-18

Hello everyone. I wish to thank Donald first off for the compliment to last night’s blog. I am an enjoyer of compliments and I believe that we not only don’t give them enough but we don’t thank people enough when they are given. The church is to be a group that encourages one another and this is one way we do that. For tonight, we are continuing the gospel of John and we will be looking at John 7:16-18 tonight. As usual, our goal is to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity.

16Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. 17If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 

Jesus says his teaching is not his own. It comes from the one who sent him. Isn’t this a strong argument against the Trinity?

Again, I must ask “How?”

A large part of our problem when we dialogue with some people is that we assume some things are problems when they really aren’t. They may be things that we don’t fully understand, but that is not the same as saying that they’re a problem for our worldview. 

If someone wants to assert that something is a problem, I would suggest looking at it from another point of view, and namely the opposite one. Let’s suppose that Christ had really said this:

“My teaching is entirely my own. It has nothing to do with the God who sent me.”

Not only would Trinitarianism have a problem, any idea that Jesus was a sinless person would have a problem as well as he is teaching something that does not come from God. As it is, Jesus at this point is saying that what he has is not something that he has made up. It is true because it came from God. Jesus is described in the Bible as a prophet also, and he is the prophet par excellence, and in being such, he would certainly give a message that was from God.

Jesus’s way to test it was to have people live it out. Jesus’s advice though is not true because it works. It works because it’s true. His teaching was the true fulfillment of the Law. Christ did not teach against it but rather he was its greatest teacher in that as he taught, he was showing people the real intent of the Law and how it was that God desired that they live.

Jesus then points out that if someone speaks on their own to gain honor, how can he be trusted? He could be making something up just to win favor for himself. (Keep in mind honor was huge in the ancient world. It mattered more than life itself.) However, if one came for the honor of another, he could be more easily trusted as it would cause shame for him from his audience and his patron both if he did not give a true message from the one who sent him. Jesus is saying that since he seeks the honor for the Father and not for himself, then that increases his credibility. 

As we go through this chapter, we will see more of Jesus’s teachings and come to a greater understanding of them.

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