Studies in John's Gospel -- Part 10
Never Man Spake Like This Man
By: A.J. Higgins, M.D.
Passage: John 7
The history of our nation at times seems little more than the combined effect of the ripples caused by all her great orators. Patrick Henry, Daniel Webster, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. King, John Kennedy, all echo through the years, their voices resounding off the shores of the moral universe. Some sought to stir the country to action. Other spoke to bind her wounds. Others still prodded her to her obligations and destiny.
There are orators whom we appreciate for their style, some for their content, some for their heart appeal, and others for the authority with which they speak. The words of a Roosevelt were not profound, but they reached the heart. The speeches of Daniel Webster went on for hours, yet men left in awe, moved to tears. Oratory is difficult to define, harder still to learn, but easy to recognize. It appeals to our total being and carries us with it to its goal.
In John 7, men heard the words of the Lord Jesus and ascribed to him the honor of the world’s greatest orator: "Never man spake like this man" (John 7:45). Now it is essential to recognize that these were not His friends but His enemies. They had not come to praise Christ but to bury Him, if we may borrow Antony’s phrase. Armed soldiers, callous men these were, with orders to seize Christ.
Let us look together then at some of the words of Christ in this chapter. He first speaks of
The Deeds of the World
The advice of others to the Lord Jesus was to seek for local acceptance as a leader. The Lord Jesus made clear that the world would not accept Him because He testified that its deeds were evil (vs. 7). The Lord Jesus did not flatter or compromise. He faithfully revealed to men the holy standard of God and the sin of man. His coming and His conduct both revealed the distance of man from God. So today the honest herald of God’s message to men must unsparingly declare a message that first of all reveals sin.
Demand for Reality
Men were astonished at the content of the words of the Lord Jesus. They wondered how He knew so much, not having been a product of the Rabbinical schools of His day. They were reluctant to believe His teaching because of the lack of what they felt to be the necessary credentials. At the same time, there was an irrefutable power to His teaching. Here the Lord Jesus gives us one of the most important statements for the honest seeker after knowledge. If a man is willing to obey the truth, he will learn whether what Christ speaks is simply another religious teaching, or divine mandate. This does away with idle speculation and curious investigation. God does not display and reveal His truth simply to satisfy the intellectual curiosity of men, but to subdue the will and save the soul.
Is truth that important to you that you are willing to stake your entire eternity upon it?
The Destination of Men
To men in their sins who refused to own Him as Savior, the Lord Jesus said, "I go to Him that sent Me (heaven), and where I am thither ye cannot come," (vs. 33, 34). The teaching of the Bible is that heaven’s gates are barred eternally to all who do not experience the forgiveness of sins in this life (John 3:36; 5:24).
A Drink of Life
The events of our chapter cover a week of time. On the last day of the great religious festival which is the background of chapter 7, the Lord Jesus invited men to come to Him and taste of life in its entirety and reality. The week had been spent in religious ritual and observance. As the Lord looked upon it all, He saw men who were left spiritually thirsty and hungry despite all the week offered. Satisfaction could alone be found in Him.
The centuries have not dimmed nor tarnished the value of the words of Christ. Twentieth century man as well as first century man needs life, forgiveness of sins, assurance of his eternal destination, and peace. The person who procured them upon Calvary by virtue of His shed blood can alone give them.
May the authority, attractiveness, and appeal of His words reach your conscience.