Many years ago, I was a technology consultant. One of my last assignments in that field was spending about three months at a downtown law firm getting their IT department up and running on new software. The job involved some teaching early on but then the rest of the time I was basically running a help desk for a 30+ lawyer law firm on multiple floors of a Seattle high rise. When staff were instructed of changes coming, their response to those instructions varied greatly on who authorized the change. Under some people’s authority, there was instant compliance and acceptance while other’s authority generated frustration and argument. As the ‘messenger’ delivering the news, I quickly learned what kind of response to expect based upon whose authority I was sent.
This idea of ‘whose authority’ was a significant sticking point with the Pharisees and rulers of Jesus’ time. “About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.” (John 7:14-18)
Jesus points out that anyone whose will it is to do God’s will would be able to discern who sent Him. The method He mentions comes down to who is getting the credit, who is being glorified. Those who seek their own glorification may begin with a smart sounding point, but in the end, they are only glorifying themselves. Those who seek only to glorify The Father, seek no glory for themselves… they are under His authority.
Many false teachers have come and gone, both before and after Jesus walked this earth. They will continue to come as well. But as they teach, who are they glorifying? Are the lifting up humanity in a way that has no need for a Messiah? Are they glorifying a false god that leads to terrorism? Are the glorifying nature rather than the creator of that nature? Are the glorifying themselves? These are all signs of a false teacher.
Jesus was none of these. He never sought to glorify anyone but the Father. We should follow His example and do the same. Marvel at what He created but only glorify the creator. It is His message we are meant to share with all nations.
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