About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. The Jews were astonished at it, saying, ‘How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?’ Then Jesus answered them, ‘My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own.' (John 7:14-17)

Jesus came from a small, rural region. He probably only spoke one language and likely had no formal education in reading and writing. Some who have written on the "historical Jesus" find it improbable that the son of a carpenter would have had the opportunity to learn to read and write in his own vernacular language, let alone in Hebrew, the ancient language of scholars. When Jesus "cleansed" the temple (John 2:13-17) his disruptive actions would not have been considered "teaching" by the authorities but rather an affront. Now John tells us in the middle of the festival, he begins to teach. The Jews witnessing this at the temple court were astonished. The temple priests and officials were likely distressed, if not angered, that the itinerant rabbi who recently had literally "turned the tables" on the temple officials was back again.

So how is it that Jesus began to teach in this manner? There is no evidence of his writings, degrees or dissertations. He answers those skeptical of his credentials by citing the authority given to him by God: "My teaching is not my own but his who sent me." What Jesus teaches is not the product of human learning and education, but has been sent from God. How can we know this? Reading the opening lines of John's gospel we learn that Jesus is the word of God. Jesus is the utterance of God. "In the beginning was the Word."

Thanks be to God who has given us his Word.

Brad Harmes - Seeking God's Word

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