Scripture: John 7:14-36 (NIV)
Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?” Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?” Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.” At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?” The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”
In today’s lesson, we see that the folks around Jesus seemed to worry more about where Jesus had been educated and who had taught him than what He was saying to them. In part, that was probably a defense mechanism on their part, because Jesus was calling them to change their lives, to commit to God’s plan. It was so much easier to question where Jesus got these ideas from than to make a radical change in their lives. If He was a crazy man, with no actual training, why should they listen?
You have to figure Luke had a lot of that as well. In Return of the Jedi, when he sends a holographic message to Jabba the Hutt, Jabba’s majordomo Bib Fortuna sneers, “He’s no Jedi.” The Jedi were supposed to be dead. How could this boy be trained if there was no one to train him? Everyone knew that you couldn’t just snap your fingers and begin waving lightsabers around. Where did he learn? You have to figure even after the Empire fell there were still some that didn’t quite believe in Luke’s Jedi powers until they saw them first hand. Why should they worry about what he said? Could he really do anything to back up his words?
Education, training, learning–all of these are important. People with these backgrounds can help us look at the Lord and what His message is in ways that other folks never could. However, a lack of formal education shouldn’t be used as a reason to not listen to someone. The Lord uses the untrained, the uneducated, the weak, and the lowest to teach us lessons and to expand His work every day. Not only that, but our lack of training should not keep us from speaking to others about what God means to us and our understanding of Him. So often our plain speaking can make an impact on someone that might not have heard the story.
Speak from your heart and you will be successful. After all, that is where the Lord resides in you, right? Let Him speak through you!