THE ASSIGNMENT OF GOD SUPERSEDES THE OPINIONS OF MEN
— Kay Taiwo
We live in a world where people live in a state of connective ‘disconnectivity’ — it is a world saturated with information that is channeled through the smartphone or tablet.
Increasingly, people are connecting to the virtual world while disconnecting from reality. It’s a place where self-esteem rises or falls on whether someone likes or disapproves of what you post, and where people are called friends even though you have never met them or even really know them in any meaningful way.
We know a lot today yet know very little at the same time. Lost in this web of information overload is a lack of connection with God and His assignment for our lives. It is important to note that more knowledge does not necessarily translate into a greater level of wisdom. Jesus came into the world and cut through the noise because He was firmly grounded in His connection to His heavenly assignment.
John chapter 8 verses 12-14 is indeed a fascinating passage; it shows what connectivity to a divine assignment does to a person (in this case Jesus) and contrasts those who are tethered to a worldly point of view (the Pharisees).
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; THY RECORD IS NOT TRUE.
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know WHENCE I CAME, and WHITHER I GO; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.” (John 8 vs.12-14).
Observe from our text concerning Jesus’ discourse with the Pharisees:
(1) In verse 12 Jesus makes a claim. He says, “I am the light of the world…”
(2) In verse 13 the Pharisees counter his claim. They say, “Thy record is not true,” thereby, implying that He was a liar.
(3) In verse 14 Jesus ‘counters’ their counter claim against Him. He reinforces the truth about His claim to be the light of the world.
Jesus tells the Pharisees why they could not comprehend His statement, “Ye judge after the flesh, I judge no man.” (John 8 vs.15).
Sound Identity: A Place of Security
Perspective: Often it is difficult to assess and consequently accept that people we have known for some period of time have the potential for greatness when we have knowledge of their humanity or origin.
In two of the three temptations Jesus faced in Matthew 4 verses 1-11, Satan prefaces them with the words, “If you are the Son of God.” In other words, “by your doing what I say, you will convince me that you are the Son of God.”
Satan uses the scriptures by twisting its context. He attempts to get Jesus out of line. Remember this truth, Satan is never the cause for anyone’s fall, but an agent. The outcome is determined by the one tempted, hence, to fall, would be our fault, and we would be responsible. Jesus however, knew the scriptures more than his enemy. He did not try to prove who He was with a sign, but by the written Word of God.
Jesus’ opponents the Pharisees (a group of religious Jewish scholars of those days) and particularly, the people of Nazareth, knew He was once ‘the carpenter boy’ as was widely known in Nazareth (Mark 6 vs.1-6). Hence, His claim to be the light of the world was received with great skepticism (see John 8 vs.13). It is no accident that the place where He was doubted the most, happened to be where He grew up. People take other people for granted when they become familiar with them.
Yet this familiarity did not alter nor cancel out the authenticity of Jesus’ assignment
Three categories of people in Jesus’ life
(1) Those who were not close. They can be further categorized into:
(I) Those who did not believe in Him (the Pharisees, the Jews)
(II) Those who believed in Him through the reports of others. For example, the woman with the issue of blood who touched Jesus’ garment and was healed. Also includes the centurion whose servant Jesus healed.
(2) Those who knew Jesus well. This category may also be subcategorized in the following way:
(I) Lazarus, Mary, and Martha — they believed in Jesus.
(II) The natives of Nazareth — they knew His background and used this familiarity as a tool to discredit His ministry (Mark 6 verses 1-5).
(3) Those who wanted to use Him for their own agenda. A good example is Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Christ by turning Him over to His tormentors.
In our lives, there are:
(1) People who are not close to us who are either advancing towards us or moving away from us (The Outer Circle).
(2) People who know us well (The Familiar Circle).
(3) People who want to either aid our assignment or take advantage of us (The ‘Business’ Circle).
(4) People who are waiting to see how we fare before they decide what they will do (The Neutral Circle).
These are inevitable facts.
Notice that most people find themselves questioning who they are, when others pose doubt on their abilities; it was not so with Jesus. Jesus stood His ground and even told the Pharisees why they could not understand Him.
This must be the case, since John 5 verse 22 says,
“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the son.”
This passage strengthens the premise that though Jesus judges, the standards by which He judges are antithetical to the standards of the world. (See Isaiah 11 vs.2-4).
Perspective: If Jesus was the best at expressing who he was and yet the world doubted and rejected Him, we ought not to be surprised when the world, family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. do the same to us. Remember that Jesus was the most rejected man that ever lived. Yet He remains the most widely accepted single individual in human history.