Now about the middle of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. (John 7:14-18)
Whose Doctrine Are You?
Jesus did not fit the mold of a Jewish rabbi or teacher. He confounded the Jewish leaders with His skilled oratory and knowledge astonishing the multitudes with sermons filled with authority. The challenges brought by His critics were destroyed with a few words and later it would be said that no man taught like the man from Nazareth. Jesus was indeed a remarkable man whose doctrine was incontrovertible, consistent to every degree, and beyond the scope of human wisdom that no man could answer. This did not make Jesus the wisest man in the world because He had learned some great secret through the philosophies of men. He was not the Albert Einstein of His day who through intense scholarship developed incredible insights into the world. Jesus was a man filled with the doctrine of His heavenly Father. Often throughout His short life, the Lord would remind people that what He did and what He taught was not His own but the will of God. His doctrine was the doctrine of the One who sent Him.
The Jews recognized that Jesus was a man of letters. It puzzled them because Jesus had such a vast library of knowledge but He had never gone to school for formal education. Pedigree had so much to do with the credentials of a man’s teaching. If a learned scientist wants to put forth a certain philosophy of study, his background is examined to consider his qualifications for higher learning. Did this man attend certain schools that would offer validity to his findings and could he be trusted with his doctrine? They asked the same questions about Jesus. Did He attend the school of Gamaliel in Jerusalem where Saul of Tarsus had studied law? Had the man from Nazareth traveled to the great cities of the Roman Empire to examine the philosophies of the Greeks or Roman poets? None of these fit the mold of Jesus. He was from Nazareth and the son of a carpenter. In a cultural caste system, Jesus was a nobody but His teaching belied the forcefulness of His doctrine.
Jesus had come into the temple and began teaching the people. His doctrine was astounding. He taught the scriptures explaining the law and the prophets with boldness. What confused the Jews was a man of no letters explaining better than themselves the meaning of the words of God. When asked where He gained such knowledge, Jesus said His doctrine was not His own but the One who sent Him. There are two types of doctrines in the world: that which comes from the mouth of God and that which is born through the wisdom of man. The latter knowledge elevates the pride of man to believe he is so shrewd and filled with great wisdom. Men like Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and Socrates were philosophers of men held in high regard. But Jesus was no philosopher of men. His teaching was the purest and wisest among all men that none could challenge.
Those who speak from themselves seek to elevate their own glory. When a man speaks the word of God he glories the Father. Jesus did not preach His own doctrine but the words of the One who sent Him. What made Jesus’ teaching so powerful was His reliance on knowing, understanding, and explaining the doctrine of His Father. As the Son of God, the doctrine of Jesus was the doctrine of the Father. While there is an obvious distinction between the ability of Jesus to teach the word of God and the ability of men to teach the knowledge of the Divine, the conclusion remains the same. When men make the doctrine of God their own, they preach Christ and not human wisdom. The study of scripture does not require a Ph.D. to understand and know its meaning. Anyone who spends the time and effort to examine the pages of the Bible will have a greater knowledge and understanding than the wisest of the world. The doctrine of God belongs to Him and it will infuse in the heart of the willing the knowledge of the eternal. Nothing is as great for a man to know than the doctrine of God. It answers all the questions about life and death and the nature of man. Education is a noble pursuit in the affairs of men. Knowing what the Bible says will give greater hope and blessing than any other message.
Every man follows a doctrine of some kind. For some, the doctrine of wealth, power, prestige, pleasure, and pride fuel their goals in life. Many seek all the wisdom of human knowledge to gain in a lifetime and then die. Solomon experienced all the temptations of humanity and found only vanity. Jesus made the doctrine of His Father His own. The greatest book that has been given to man lies unread, unchartered, and unused in the lives of God’s people and sadly the doctrine of the eternal does not abide in their hearts. Pursuing the pleasures of life the doctrine of carnality is all they know. Taking the time to open the Bible and learn the truths would change their lives immensely. Our lives reflect our doctrine. Jesus reflected the doctrine of His Father. Whose doctrine do you reflect in your life? You are either filled with the word of God or you are filled with YOU.