John 7:16-18 (Good News Translation)
15 The Jewish authorities were greatly surprised and said, “How does this man know so much when he has never been to school?”
16 Jesus answered, “What I teach is not my own teaching, but it comes from God, who sent me. 17 Whoever is willing to do what God wants will know whether what I teach comes from God or whether I speak on my own authority. 18 Those who speak on their own authority are trying to gain glory for themselves. But he who wants glory for the one who sent him is honest, and there is nothing false in him
The authorities recognised that Jesus was wise and knowledgeable about scripture and life in general, and were aware of the fact that he was far less well educated than they were and also from a lower social class (a skilled tradesman as opposed to a priest) hence they were taken aback.
Jesus then declares that what he teaches is not from himself, but from God The Father.
He said that his words have the "authority" of God - rather than any personal
authority - he therefore claimed to speak for God The Father
Basically: his claims and message are true not because they make sense but because they come from God!
He therefore claims divine authority for all he speaks!
Hence, his wisdom came from him having the authority of God and being in-sync with him, rather than from having an education and doing his own thinking
He then derides people who "speak on their own authority" as being self-serving charlatans and "false" - i.e. they do not come from or speak for God
This passage offers the reader an insight into the inner workings of the triune Godhead: it shows that Jesus gets his message and teachings from above, that they are not the product of his own reason or understanding. Although I believe he deploys the message according to his own reason and understanding.
So - the message behind what Jesus told was told by him because that's what God wanted. But I don't see Jesus as being a mere mouthpiece - I think he knew what God thought and taught what God thought in his own personal way
Which raises the question: how on Earth did Jesus Christ down on Earth know the mind of God who lives up above? How was he able to stay so very much on-message?
I think through divine mind-control
I believe Jesus's personal thoughts are interrupted by the musings of God, so that his mind is in sync with the mind of God - he thus received the message, and then went out and spread that message using his own intellect and wit without ever sensing the influence of God upon his own thought processes
17 Whoever is willing to do what God wants will know whether what I teach comes from God or whether I speak on my own authority.
I think that this means those who are "who are willing to do what God wants" are somehow in-tune with the thoughts and desires of God and can therefore identify whether or not other people are in-sync with God - as opposed to doing their own thing.
I believe this means that it is possible for Christians to discern whether or not a person speaks in accordance with God's authority - i.e. whether their teaching is sound and correct
I believe this is something a more mature Christian may do intuitivley
Jesus's message - his teaching - comes straight from God. When he speaks, he speaks with God's authority. Jesus is in-sync with God The Father. Those who have a relationship with God can tell whether or not a person speaks God's message. Those who don't speak under the authority of God but claim to do so are fakes - they are dishonest and false.
What Does This Mean For Christians?
- Jesus's words are God's words
- Once you are sufficiently in-Christ you will be able to distinguish between those who speak God's message and those who speak their own
- Only listen to prophets who declare God's message - ignore those who do their own thing
- If a teaching is consistent with scripture and Jesus then it has at least some degree of validity, but wicked people can dress their own messages up in scripture!