39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men; 42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
Jesus is calling us out here. He is showing us what our “problem” is. We focus so much on the words of man but ignore the words of God. He is calling out religious piety and self righteousness. He talks about the bible (the Scriptures) and exemplifies that while yes, they tell of God (notice here He actually said “that testify about Me” although the New Testament hasn’t been written yet?). He is saying how we tend to worship the words in the scriptures instead of who the scriptures are written about. They focus on following “the letter of the Law” instead of the one who created the Law in the first place! The Law was not made for man to exalt himself, rather for God to be exalted and worshipped by them. Yet we focus on what we do instead of who we do it for.
I can feel Jesus’ frustration here. Heck, I’m frustrated because yes, I too do these things. Just imagine this: we accept the words of man, we worship men, lift them up, praise them for their deeds or position or power. Yet when God presents Himself to us, what do we do? We turn away, we doubt, we question, etc. etc. What is wrong with us???
Verse 44 smacks us in the face: how can we truly seek out God when we worry about our status with others? How can we seek God and know Him if we are concerned with what men or women say about it? We let men tell us how to serve God. We follow the directives of men, yet don’t ask God what He would have us do. We’d rather be herded like cattle and sublimely chew grass than ask God what He would have us do or believe.
I find it interesting what Jesus says in verse 46. You see, Moses was the leader of the Jews out of Egypt. For many years he led them. They relied on Him so much, that when he disappeared for a mere 40 days, they lost all hope and begged for another God, hence the golden calf. Why did this happen? Because they worshipped Moses and his leadership, not God, whom Moses was following. This is what happens when we put our faith and hope in a man. Likewise, Jesus calls out how ironic it is that we will follow a man, yet we question the validity of the scriptures because it was “written by man”. I’ve witnessed this first hand: someone told me they don’t believe the bible because man wrote it, yet in the next sentence defended one of their beliefs because its what they were taught. How foolish is this? Do we not see our own hypocrisy? Yet we avoid going to church because its “full of hypocrites.”
Who do you follow: God or man? Why do you follow them? My point is not that we should avoid teachings from others, for the communion of others is a great way to learn from the experiences of others. Rather, do not rely on man for your own faith and growth, but rather seek out God for who He really is and trust in Him who is trustworthy. As my pastor would say, “don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself!”