Daily Word

Proper judgment | John 7:19 – 24

19 “Did not Moses give you the Law? And yet not one of you keeps the Law. Why do you want to kill Me [for not keeping it]?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon [You are out of Your mind]! Who wants to kill You?” 21 Jesus replied, “I did one work, and you are all astounded. 22 For this reason Moses has given you [God’s law regarding] circumcision (not that it originated with Moses, but with the patriarchs) and you circumcise a man [even] on the Sabbath. 23 If, to avoid breaking the Law of Moses, a man undergoes circumcision on the Sabbath, why are you angry with Me for making a man’s whole body well on the Sabbath? 24 Do not judge by appearance [superficially and arrogantly], but judge fairly and righteously.”

John 7:19 – 24 (AMP)

Trouble in the Temple

Jesus is in the temple teaching at the middle of the Feast of Booths and he brings up what we presume is on their minds. It’s at least on the minds of the Jewish leaders – for they were the ones who sought to kill him (John 5:18). Why did Jesus bring it up?

What work is Jesus referring to? The healing of the paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath the last time Jesus was in Jerusalem (John 5:2-9). The crowds were definitely amazed at that miracle. The healing was not the issue, it is that he did it on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders completely ignored the miracle and focused on the Sabbath law being broken.

When Jesus says “not one of you keeps the Law” I believe he meant what his younger brother says in James 2:10 -11: “For whoever keeps the whole Law, yet stumbles in one point, has become guilty of all.”

Apples to apples

Jesus uses this opportunity to re-address this issue to lead to his main teaching (below). He compares “breaking of the law to heal a person on the Sabbath” to the Jew’s breaking of the law to perform circumcision on the Sabbath. They had no issue with that but healing on the Sabbath – no way! They judged that this was out of line, even worthy of persecution, even death.

Proper Judgment

It’s OK to judge, in fact, we do it all the time and we have to. It can also be called discernment. Jesus is not saying don’t judge, but what? Use proper, fair and righteous judgment. The Jewish leader’s judgment of him was wrong. They focused on the “letter of the law” and not the spirit or essence of it. In this case, Jesus taught that, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:17)

<- Reflection ->
  • I wonder what laws I hold onto tightly (too tightly) for the wrong reasons. Where do I not apply the correct judgment about situations? Is it tithing? How about drinking or even smoking? Maybe it’s ordinances like the Lord’s Supper and baptism.
Judge in the courtroom. Image from https://www.mprnews.org *

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