Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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In the name of Love

Never before has anyone spoken like this one. (John 7:46)

While the intellectuals of Jerusalem debated and argued about who Jesus was, the Temple guards probably had the best response: “Never before has anyone spoken like this one” (John 7:46). Unlike the scholars and theological experts of their day, these worldly-wise soldiers showed a great openness to Jesus’ words about the love of God.

This contrast raises a question: how do we distinguish between knowledge that is beneficial and knowledge that is harmful? The apostle Paul warned his readers that knowledge by itself “inflates,” but that “love builds up.” He then went on to make a bold, and often misunderstood, statement: “If anyone supposes he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by him” (1 Corinthians 8:2-3).

God gave us amazing minds that were meant to learn. In this sense, knowledge is valuable. Yet there is a point at which knowledge can become an idol, when we begin to treasure what we know more than we treasure the God who has helped us learn it. All true knowledge, whether it is practical, theological, or philosophical, is meant to help us love God and serve our neighbor. It’s meant to help us share his good news and build his kingdom here on earth.

The Temple guards probably knew that the Pharisees would reject their kind words about Jesus. The guards probably suspected that their decision not to arrest Jesus could land them in trouble, too. Still, they chose to disobey their orders because his words touched their hearts. Jesus’ enemies, on the other hand, were so proud of what they thought they knew about God that they cursed Jesus and persisted in trying to get rid of him.

Pride moves us to love ourselves. Humility moves us to assess our motives carefully. Pride leads us to love our thoughts and to blur the truth when it challenges us. Humility leads us to listen humbly and judge the truth on its own merit. May we always choose the humble path and not allow ourselves to become puffed up with self-love.

“Jesus, help me to be humble each and every day so that I can hear you. You speak like no one else.”

Jeremiah 11:18-20; Psalm 7:2-3, 9-12

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