“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” John 7: 24

As we continue our study of the Gospel of John, we pick up at verse 19 of chapter 7.   Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle writes:

“Has not Moses given you the Law?  Yet not one of you keeps the law.  Why are you trying to kill Me?”  ” You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered, “who is trying to kill You?”
Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed.  Yet because Moses gave you circumcision, you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with Me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath?  Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly. (John 7: 19-24
God had given the Jews the Law through Moses to teach them a good and right way of life.  It was a basic set of guidelines and directions and things that would make a strong and safe and healthy community.  He was forming a Nation of their own as He brought them out of slavery.   He wanted them to know for sure what was acceptable, and what was not.  He ultimately wanted them to see they could not live life fully in the flesh, and in works and rules, but must come to know Him personally in Spirit, and in Truth.   But at this point, when Jesus came to earth, the Law itself, with all of their added man made laws, had become more important than doing the right thing.
The Sabbath was expected to be a day of rest, and worship, and no work was to be done except that which might be absolutely necessary.  The Law required a boy child to be circumcised on the eighth day after he was born to demonstrate identity with God’s Covenant People.   If that 8th day fell on the Sabbath, the circumcision was to be performed even though it was considered to be work.  They felt it could not wait.  There was the letter of the Law – mandatory – with some exceptions decided by them.
The point Jesus was making to them was that God is love, and always does the right thing in Love.   So if keeping the letter of the Law was o.k., – performing a circumcision on the Sabbath, then healing a man on the Sabbath – healing his whole body – was certainly the right thing, and He should not be judged for it.  Certainly not to the point of wanting to kill Him for it.   He was saying stop judging in the flesh, but rather judge in the spirit of love.  Wanting what is best and good for someone should always trump what it may look like.  For instance if we invite a homeless person to sit with us at the table as the family is having a meal in a nice restaurant, may turn some heads.  But it also might restore that person to a new outlook on life.   He might feel there is indeed love and concern in this world.  We should not judge anyone on appearances.  We should not judge activity on appearances. We should just always try to do the right thing, for the right reason in our judgement.  Doing the right thing, for the right reason ultimately yields right results.  Let us pray that we judge activity, not people, correctly.  Let us judge from a position of love.


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