Symptom or Cause?
One of the challenges we face is distinguishing between symptoms and causes. For example, a declining business profit is a symptom, not a cause of business failure. The failure occurred with customers migrated to other providers for perceived or real reasons. Likewise, the recent national uproar over a judicial nominee was only a symptom of a deeper ideological divide.
An ideological difference was the cause of the symptoms charged by the Jewish religious leaders against Jesus: Jesus healed on the Sabbath, and Jesus made Himself equal with God (Bible, John 5.18). John had previewed such disagreement in John 1.17: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” The Jewish leaders were unwilling to admit what Apostle Paul states about the “guardian” purpose of the Mosaic Law in Galatians 3.15-29.
Jesus’ rhetoric in His dialogue with the Jews, John 7.14-24, deals with both of their complaints. In verses 19-23, Jesus reveals their duplicitous behaviors of holding Him to a standard they were unwilling to keep: “Yet none of you keeps the law.” Then, Jesus illustrates the narrowness of their thinking in His contrast of their circumcising a man on the Sabbath with His healing the “man’s whole body”, referring to the paralytic at Bethesda Pool (John 5.1-17).
Jesus alludes to the cause in John 7.16-18. If the Jews were listening to God, then they would know that His words are the same as God’s. Thus, Jesus was not speaking from His authority but with God’s. This is reference to God’s calling upon their ancestral fathers in Exodus 19.6. His accusers continued to rebel against God’s intention that they be a “nation of priests” to the world. Their disdain for God had devolved into advocacy for satan, as Jesus accuses in John 8.44.
Do we observe this in society today? That is, has a personal unwillingness to discover and nurture God’s calling caused some persons to become accusers of God for their plights? Paul discusses this in Romans 1.18-32. John the Baptist infers this in his answer in John 3.27. Jonah’s story confirms my conjecture and offers his remedy. God’s tether only extends so far, as Solomon discovered to his regret (Ecclesiastes 12.11.13; 1 Kings 11.1-11). Proverbs 19.3and 21.30state that God is not at fault; only man. So, are you fulfilling God’s calling on you (Jeremiah 1.5)?
John 7.24is Jesus’ conclusion in His rhetoric against the Jewish religious leaders’ two accusations: “‘Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.’” How do His words speak to John 1.18, about manifesting God, and John 3.8, about God leading Christians in the Kingdom of God?
Jesus’ dialogue with His half-brothers in John 1.1-10about attending the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles/Booths (Succoth) offers insight into Jesus’ understanding of the pervasiveness of the symptoms that reveal their cause. How do John 1.10-13 and John 3.19-20 explain His statement in John 7.7: “‘The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil’”? The pervasiveness of symptoms that had captured Jesus’ brothers is revealed by the following from Pursue God:
- God’s original commands were the 613 laws of Moses (called “Torah”) that guided the ancient nation of Israel.
- The Mishnah was an oral tradition of commentary on the Mosaic Law that introduced additional, man-made rules that “built a fence” around the Mosaic Law so people wouldn’t even come close to breaking God’s commandments.
- The Pharisees were concerned with keeping these additional commandments and especially with having the outward appearance of keeping them. (Rules)
However, Jesus reminded the Samaritan woman that true worship is not in observing rules of man but is the truth of God that flows like living water from within Christians (John 4.23; John 7.37-39; John 3.8). Our activities of worship are symptoms of the cause emphasized in Jeremiah 9.24. Isaiah 64.4, indeed!
Bible. English Standard Version. www.olivetree.com.
Rules. The Torah and Mishnah.www.pursueGod.org.
Symptom or Cause? 181021 Praise God!!!
Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2018. www.sozoclass.com.