Today’s Scripture: John 7:16-24
16 So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. 17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. 18 Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. 19 Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.”
20 The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?”
21 Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed. 22 But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) 23 For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? 24 Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
One of my favorite verses of the Bible is in this passage of scripture. It comes at the end of a passage where Jesus is teaching in the temple and is trying to get people to understand that he’s not speaking for himself but for God. He’s also defending himself against charges that he healed someone on the Sabbath. He tells those listening (and us, hopefully) to “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
There are a couple of points to make about this verse. First, Jesus understands that our “go-to” is to judge based on what we see – what’s on the surface. Those around Jesus only saw a Sabbath violation. They did not see the compassionate healing of a man who had been sick for almost 40 years. Lest we get cocky – we do this all the time! Jesus is reminding us to stop and look deeper.
Second, this verse reminds me that we all have a deeper side than what we do not show the world. Someone once said that we should be kind to the people we meet because they are most likely carrying something very heavy and just not showing it. We tend to think that we are the only ones going through stuff when in reality, we all have things going on beneath the surface.
Finally, this verse reminds me to look for motivation in other’s actions. Why did Jesus break the law? It was not to tick off the religious leaders. It wasn’t because he was a deviant. It wasn’t because he didn’t know the law. He did it to bring healing. It takes effort to suss-out motivation. But when we do we start to get at the core of the other person. We start to learn more about them. We start to go beneath the surface.
Try looking deeper at people today and see if it makes a difference in your perception.
God thank you for making us complex and deep people. Remind us of that fact as we interact with those around us. Help us not to judge on the surface – but to look beneath it and see in others what you see in them.