Integrity and Truth
Lord, before the words of the day assail me, I wait for Your Word to me. Speak Lord, I am listening.
Read John 7:14-24
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“You desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being” (Psa. 51:6, NLT). The Bible never separates truth from integrity. There was nothing false in Jesus; so, though we fall short of his integrity, we are always to aspire to it.
This was Jesus’ first time in Jerusalem, and in the temple, since the healing of the man at the pool on the Sabbath (5:1-15). The story picks up from there (21). The underlying theme is the authority and integrity of Jesus’ teaching. The crowds did not realize who he was (25). Jesus had exercised most of his ministry in Galilee. Initially, it is not clear whether the Jerusalem authorities recognized him until he revealed himself as the man who healed on the Sabbath and gave further scriptural justification for these actions (21-23). They were puzzled, but reluctantly impressed by his learning.
His teaching had authority because it came from the Father, and its purpose was to honor the Father. The way to honor him was to do his will. Jesus had authority as a teacher because he also had integrity. There was nothing false in him. He practiced what he preached, by living to honor the Father. Equally, the purpose of Jesus’ teaching was faithful discipleship, not just theological theory. Jesus made it clear that it was a willingness to obey that was the key to confirming the truth of his teaching. Those who put it into practice discovered its truth in reality.
By contrast, his interrogators lacked integrity. They claimed to be the guardians of the Law of Moses but seemed neither to understand its Sabbath teaching nor to live by the parts they claimed to understand. The Law forbade murder, but they were seeking to kill Jesus. He said this to the leaders, and the crowd didn’t understand it. But Jesus had brought into the open the reason for the atmosphere of fear at this festival. Such was his integrity that he confronted what was really going on and refused to play with his antagonists at their own game.
It is easier to talk about Jesus (12) than to speak up for him (13). Is this something you have been guilty of? How can you overcome any fear of faith sharing?
Gracious Lord, I want to put on the belt of sincerity (Eph. 6:14). Forgive me of pretense, and may my outward walk be an authentic expression of my inward attitude.
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