Jesus spoke these words in the temple court, during one of His visits to Jerusalem. The last time he had been in the city he had healed the invalid at the Pool of Bethesda, on the Sabbath, and now his presence there again stirred new controversy.
The occasion of this visit to the city, along with thousands of other pilgrims, was the Feast of Booths. But before he even left Galilee on this trip to Jerusalem, his own family cast a cloud of doubt over him and his mission. Mocking him, they said, “Go to Judea so your disciples may see you. No one works in private if he seeks to be known openly. Show yourself to the world” (John 7:3-4).
Jesus did delay his trip to Jerusalem and chose not travel there with the crowds, because he knew there were those in the city who wanted to kill him. And in his answer to his brothers, he acknowledged that the world hated him because he “testified about it that its works were evil.”
When he did arrive in the city, John records that there was “much muttering about him.” Some said he was a good man. Others said he was leading the people astray.
Jesus was surrounded by doubters. They doubted his identity. They doubted his motives. They doubted his mission. They doubted the source of his mighty works.
Now, I know you believe that Jesus was fully God.
I do too!
But do we really believe he was fully man?
Because if you believe he was fully man, Jesus had to have been affected by the rejection and ridicule everywhere he turned in John 7. Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was, “tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
I have to say that one of my greatest temptations is insecurity and self-doubt, even though in my situation I am surrounded by family and a church that lavishes encouragement on me. Still insecurity persists!
So, Jesus’ answer to the doubters in John 7 is huge for me!
Jesus said of the Father, “I know him, for I have come from him, and he sent me.”
Now, I know we are not Jesus, but could that be our response also to crippling insecurity, negative self-talk, and doubt?
I know him!
The New Testament uses the word, know, to refer to intimate relationship, not the accumulation of facts.
The Christian life is not an intellectual assent to a set of propositional truths. It is nothing if it isn’t a personal, life-long intimacy with God in Christ Jesus. And it is in the context of this intimacy that we hear him assure us that we are his, that he loves us, and that he takes pleasure in us.
We have a good friend who has been a powerfully used of God in two decades of effective ministry in China, but still is plagued by insecurity. His method of combatting self-doubt is, every morning, to get out of bed and say out loud, “He loves me. He takes pleasure in me.” This is the security of our salvation!
I come from him!
Jesus’ intimacy with the Father was the starting point and source of his mission to the world… and ours.
In different places in the gospels Jesus says that he does only what he sees the Father doing and speaks only what he hears the Father saying.
In a striking indictment of the religious leaders of Jeremiah’s day, God says about them, through the prophet, that “if they had stood in my council (chamber) then they would have proclaimed my words to my people” (Jeremiah 23:22).
Our confidence in ministry (and we are all ministers) is in direct proportion, not to the strength of our personality or our natural giftings, but in proportion to our intimacy with God in His council chamber.
And he sent me!
Jesus’ authority to do what He was sent to earth to do came directly from the Father. That in itself was the answer to all his critics, from his own family to the crowds in the temple precincts. The Father sent me!
But, at the risk of sounding arrogant, can’t we humbly say exactly the same thing?
No, we are not sent to save the world.
Jesus already did that.
But Jesus himself said to his disciples, and therefore us, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21).
The apostle Paul writes that “we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
An ambassador is someone who carries the full authority of his or her sending nation or regent, while they are in a foreign land, to act on behalf of your regent.
The last thing this world wants is a bunch of arrogant Christians acting like they are all that. At the same time, the last thing they need is a bunch of wimpy, apologetic, retiring, Christians-in-hiding.
Step into the needs where God has deployed you to be salt and light. Lift up your heads, shed your insecurities, and with your actions and words say, “I know him, for I have come from him, and he sent me.”