“If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” John 7:17.
His opponents asked: “How does Jesus know so much, never having learned?” Jesus answered: “My teaching is not mine, but his that sent me.” They wanted to learn from books. He drew from a relationship. So, if you want to know God better, do you train your head or your heart?
Jesus taught “not as the scribes.” He didn’t base his doctrine on footnotes, all quotes and quibbles. He didn’t claim any authority, like saying “The Church says…” He didn’t rely on intellect, because, as Paul put it, “The world by wisdom knew not God.” Jesus flipped it right round: it’s not that a clear intellect will give you a right heart, but that a right heart will sharpen the intellect.
When we make decisions, all kinds of factors block impartiality. Fear, self-interest, vanity, the desire to be thought clever, cool or fitting in with the majority. But Jesus said, “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” (John 5:30).
According to today’s verse, you don’t get past the block by getting a new degree, but by getting a new relationship: Jesus’ assurance came from that relationship.
If I choose to do God’s will, then I’m entering into the relationship between Jesus and his Father.
And it’s a wonderfully safe place to be.