It’s a little unusual that I linger on a passage very long in this blog, but there just seem to be a number of little nuggets here that I think are worth thinking about.
In this verse, Jesus told the Jews,
Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.
Why did he tell them this? Two reasons, one of which we’ll look at today, the other of which we’ll look at tomorrow.
The first reason was that the people were saying of him,
How did this man get such learning without having studied? (John 7:15)
In other words, “He’s a simple carpenter. He’s no scholar, what can we possibly learn from him?”
As a result, many turned off what he said as having no relevance or authority.
In the same way, it can be easy sometimes to judge a speaker by their appearance, education, or background.
A person may not look so sharp, may have a humble background, have little or no formal Bible training, and yet God himself can speak through them if we’ll just listen. But if we are too focused on their age, their appearance, their background, or their training, we can miss the things God wants to say to us through these people.
I’m not just talking about pastors and teachers, by the way. God can speak to us through anyone in whom his Holy Spirit dwells, even the smallest child. But how often do we miss what he’s saying because we judge the vessel by which he speaks?
On the other hand, a person may be very charismatic, speak very eloquently, and yet say things that would lead us astray from God if we follow what they say.
So let us never judge a person by their appearance whether good or bad. Rather, let us look at the substance of what they are saying, and the evidence of the Holy Spirit working in their lives. And if do, we’ll be surprised by how often God uses them to speak to us.