Judging by Appearance

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. (John 7:24)

Jesus was on trial. That’s what we heard last Sunday.

Jesus was being put to the test by the Jews around Him. Was He really the Messiah? If so, then why did He seem to break the law of the Sabbath? How could the Messiah be born in Nazareth and grow up in Galilee? Why did He not study under the greatest of Rabbis — in fact, why did they seem to vehemently object to His teaching? All these questions plagued that ancient church!

Here was a man claiming to be from God — in fact, claiming to be equal with God! But how could they believe that? How could they believe that He was a man authorized from heaven, sent from heaven, and going to back to heaven — to the Father in heaven? By all appearances, He was just another man. A great teacher, sure — but just another man. Could this really be a heavenly Messiah?

Jesus then turned the tables back on his jury and accused them of simply judging a book by its cover, not by its content. This was the one written about in the Scriptures — and that surfaced their true ignorance. They had not been seeking Him as they read the Scriptures (John 5:39-40, 6:19), and thus, when He was there in the flesh, they did not recognize Him. The Scriptures would have taught them about Him and His Father. But they didn’t know either and instead sought to kill Him.

Hence the same trial applies to us today: do we judge with right judgment or simply by appearances? Do we simply see things according to societal norms, according to our cultural expectations, or have we had our eyes opened as we seek Jesus and His kingdom in the Scriptures? These things need to be revealed to us by our Father in heaven, so let us keep asking Him for such revelation.

What a terrible thing it would be if we failed to recognize the one who came to give us life!

Pastor Dev Menon