07/13/15 – 200
John 7:16-17 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
Mark 6:34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Welcome to another landmark devotion – number 200! Saturday we were discussing intelligence, and that this is the way in which your brain processes information. Although we are all born with limitations, we can all develop our learning skills to their fullest potential. In our culture, we have relegated learning to something that is almost despised in many cases. It’s only for geeks who don’t have a social life. Schools have done away with giving honors to recognize outstanding performance in academics because ‘it may hurt someone else’s self-esteem’. But I have yet to see one cancel the competitive sports programs or stop giving trophies for those!
Jesus seemed to think learning was important, because He spent so much of His time in teaching. He let His family leave Him behind in Jerusalem when He was only 12, because He was busy teaching the teachers in the temple (Luke 2:41-48). We read of several instances in which He got frustrated with the 12 disciples because they just weren’t getting what He was trying to teach them.
Matthew 15:15-16 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”16“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.
Why so uncharacteristically harsh? Maybe because He knew how critical it was that they learn. Maybe because He knew how little time they had in which to learn it – and apply it to their lives – and teach it to others (disciple someone else).
In the John 7 passage above, Jesus tells us how to know if a teaching is from God, or if we are hearing from a false teacher. So tell me – if you wanted to control someone (or a lot of ‘someones’) how would you do it? Probably by telling them that they “don’t need all that fancy book-learnin” (Joel Osteen) – they just need to listen to you. Keep ‘dumbing down’ academic learning for all but a select few until only those few can really see what is happening. (There’s a reason Hitler burned all those books.) Make reading and fact checking a thing to be ridiculed – instead give the stamp of truth to whatever pops up on Wikipedia or your favorite celebrity says. Before we realize it, we’ve lost all knowledge – we don’t know what’s true or false. And so, we have no foundation for wisdom.
Let’s pray today that God would not allow that to happen in our lives, that the Holy Spirit would keep our eyes and ears open and minds sharp as the propaganda seems to fly thicker and faster around us to distort God’s truth.