What Jesus Did! 'Discerning What is False' — John 8:13-16

Thursday, June 12, 2014

But the Pharisees said to Jesus, "When you talk about yourself, you are the only one to say that these things are true. So we cannot accept these things you say." Jesus answered, "Yes, I am saying these things about myself. But people can believe these things I say. Why? Because I know where I came from. And I know where I am going. But you don't know where I came from or where I am going. You judge me the way people judge other people. I don't judge any person. But if I judge, my judging is true. Why? Because when I judge I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me."
— John 8:13-16
Illustration of John 8:13-16 — "When you talk about yourself, you are the only one to say that these things are true. So we cannot accept these things you say."

Key Thought

At first glance, we rush past these passages on false teaching. In a culture where the only real value is tolerance, we don't have much stomach for the possibility of dangerous false teaching. Jesus and his early followers knew there was a danger of false teaching. Just because Jesus was labeled a false teacher didn't mean he wasn't concerned about it. In fact, the accusations against him give us some tools for denoting false teachers. Do they do the work of God? Do we know where they came from? Have we seen the quality and character of their lives? Is their judgment and discernment reflective of God's truth? Jesus, when examined, shows himself to be true. Do these teachers who claim to come in his name?

Today's Prayer

Father, I believe that Jesus is your standard of truth and righteousness. Please help me discern that truth in my life. Please help me guard my steps from those who claim to come in his name but who are false. Please guard my heart against those whose teaching does not come from you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Later, Jesus talked to the people again. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. The person that follows me will never live in darkness. That person will have the light that gives life." But the Pharisees said to Jesus, "When you talk about yourself, you are the only one to say that these things are true. So we cannot accept these things you say." Jesus answered, "Yes, I am saying these things about myself. But people can believe these things I say. Why? Because I know where I came from. And I know where I am going. But you don't know where I came from or where I am going. You judge me the way people judge other people. I don't judge any person. But if I judge, my judging is true. Why? Because when I judge I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. Your own law says that when two witnesses say the same thing, then you must accept what they say. I am one of the witnesses that speaks about myself. And the Father who sent me is my other witness." The people asked, "Where is your father?" Jesus answered, "You don't know me or my Father. But if you knew me, then you would know my Father too." Jesus said these things while he was teaching in the temple area. He was near the place where all the people came to give money. But no person arrested him. The right time for Jesus had not yet come.

John 8:12-20

Related Scripture Readings

"Be careful of false prophets. They come to you and look {gentle} like sheep. But they are really dangerous {like} wolves. You will know these people because of the things they do. Good things don't come from bad people, the same as grapes don't come from thorn bushes. And figs don't come from thorny weeds. In the same way, every good tree makes good fruit. And bad trees make bad fruit. A good tree cannot make bad fruit. And a bad tree cannot make good fruit. Every tree that does not make good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. You will know these false people by the fruit they make (things they do).

Matthew 7:15-20

My dear friends, many false prophets are in the world now. So don't believe every spirit. But test the spirits to see if they are from God. This is how you can know God's Spirit. One spirit says, "I believe that Jesus is the Christ who came to earth and became a man." That Spirit is from God. Another spirit refuses to say this about Jesus. That spirit is not from God. This is the spirit of the Enemy of Christ. You have heard that the Enemy of Christ is coming. And now the Enemy of Christ is already in the world. My dear children, you belong to God. So you have defeated them (the false teachers). Why? Because the One (God) who is in you is greater than the one (the devil) who is in {the people of} the world. And those people (the false teachers) belong to the world. So the things they say are from the world, too. And the world listens to what they say. But we are from God. So the people who know God listen to us. But the people who are not from God don't listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit that is true and the spirit that is false.

1 John 4:1-6

Be careful for yourselves and for all the people that God has given you. The Holy Spirit gave you the work of caring for this flock. You must be like shepherds to the church (people) of God. This is the church that God bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, some men will come into your group. They will be like wild wolves. They will try to destroy the flock. Also, men from your own group will become bad leaders. They will begin to teach things that are wrong. They will lead some followers {of Jesus} away from the truth. So be careful! Always remember this: I was with you for three years. During this time, I never stopped warning you. I taught you night and day. I often cried for you.

Acts 20:28-31

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.