John is inspired to record in intimate detail the conversation Jesus had with the religious leaders who challenged him. They thought they knew all the answers! The same spirit exists today- not on religious matters – but in so-called scientific knowledge as to the ‘natural’ origin of life – the need for a ‘Creator’ is left entirely out of the picture. Jesus challenged them, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life … you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” [ch. 5 v.39,40] Jesus bluntly told them, “I know that you do not have the love of God within you.” [v.42]
Genuine love – is total commitment – and this leads to a wonderful relationship. How challenging are the words of Jesus in v.44, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” This pinpoints the underlying weakness in all human thinking – the aim, consciously or sub-consciously, to achieve self-glory: we all have this weakness in some measure and have to strive to overcome it.
Do we realize Jesus experienced this!? We will read an instance of Jesus resisting, indeed, fleeing from, this in tomorrow’s ch. 6 After the miraculous feeding of the of the 5,000, the one miracle recorded in all 4 gospels, the resultant attitude of the people led them to say “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!’ What happened then!? Jesus “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” [v.14,15]
But Jesus was to become king! But not this way! Let us learn the lesson and constantly seek to give all the glory to God – and keep none for ourselves. Let us fully appreciate the point made in Hebrews 4 v.15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
One of our more subtle temptations – is to do the ‘right’ thing – the ‘wrong’ way – not in God’s way! This was the temptation before Jesus. Our world is full of people seeking their own ‘glory’. Let us imprint into our minds our Master’s words, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” [v.44]
These words are ‘food’ for our careful meditation, let us offer David’s prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! ” [Psa. 139 v.23,240]