John 7:19, 24: “Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me? . . . Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
Observation: Jesus, teaching in the Jerusalem temple, was greeted by people who marveled that such wisdom and authority could come from one with no theological education. He responded first by saying that anyone willing to do the will of God would readily discern the truth of what He taught. Then He bore to the core of His challenge: Why are you so upset with Me for healing that man on the Sabbath? Moses gave you yourselves the law, yet you failed miserably at keeping it. Why are you then casting verbal stones at Me?
What Jesus had done in healing the man had been such a good thing, and in fact was a reasonable extension of something everyone knew the law permitted: circumcision on the Sabbath. If that repair to just a portion of the body was allowed, why not celebrate even more the healing of the whole man? Then He got personal: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
Application: My tendency to cover my shortcomings by criticizing others’ is laid bare in this passage. It is part and parcel of my human condition. I know God is wringing that out of me as He works to replace my judgmentalism with a heart that is compassionate toward the shortcomings of others. Sadly, I know He has not yet completed the job. Jesus calls me to judge righteously, which requires Holy Spirit empowerment. Without Him, I remain soaked in hypocrisy, trying to cover or divert attention from my own problems by pointing toward others.
Prayer: So wring away, Holy Spirit! I’m so thankful You don’t give up. I am thankful for Your patience and perseverance. Please, cleanse me of hypocrisy. Give me a new heart, one that’s clean, one that is compassionate toward others, as You are toward me.