He that speaketh of himself, etc. - I will give you another rule, whereby you shall know whether I am from God or not: If I speak so as to procure my own glory, to gratify vanity, or to secure and promote my secular interests, then reject me as a deceiver and as a false prophet. But if I act only to promote the glory of God, to induce all men to love and obey him; if I propose nothing but what leads to the perfection of his law, and the accomplishment of its ordinances, you cannot help acknowledging me at least for a true prophet; and, if you add to this the proofs which I have given of my mission and power, you must acknowledge me as the mighty power of God, and the promised Messiah.
And no unrighteousness is in him - Or, there is no falsehood in him: so the word αδικια should be translated here; and it is frequently used by the Septuagint for שקר sheker, a lie, falsehood, etc. See in Psalm 52:3; Psalm 119:29, Psalm 119:69, Psalm 119:104, Psalm 119:163; Psalm 144:8. This is its meaning in Romans 2:8; where αδικια, falsehood, is put in opposition to αληθεια, truth.
That speaketh of himself - This does not mean about or concerning himself, but he that speaks by his own authority, without being sent by God, as mere human teachers do.
Seeketh his own glory - His own praise, or seeks for reputation and applause. This is the case with mere human teachers, and as Jesus in his discourses manifestly sought to honor God, they ought to have supposed that he was sent by him.
No unrighteousness - This word here means, evidently, there is no falsehood, no deception in him. He is not an impostor. It is used in the same sense in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. It is true that there was no unrighteousness, no sin in Jesus Christ, but that is not the truth taught here. It is that he was not an impostor, and the evidence of this was that he sought not his own glory, but the honor of God. This evidence was furnished:
1.in his retiring, unobtrusive disposition; in his not seeking the applause of people;
2.in his teaching such doctrines as tended to exalt God and humble man;
3.in his ascribing all glory and praise to God;
The angels of glory find their joy in giving,—giving love and tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy. Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men; they bring to this dark world light from the courts above; by gentle and patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into a fellowship with Christ which is even closer than they themselves can know. DA 21.1
But turning from all lesser representations, we behold God in Jesus. Looking unto Jesus we see that it is the glory of our God to give. “I do nothing of Myself,” said Christ; “the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father.” “I seek not Mine own glory,” but the glory of Him that sent Me. John 8:28; 6:57; 8:50; 7:18. In these words is set forth the great principle which is the law of life for the universe. All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father's life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great Giver, the law of life. DA 21.2
In heaven itself this law was broken. Sin originated in self-seeking. Lucifer, the covering cherub, desired to be first in heaven. He sought to gain control of heavenly beings, to draw them away from their Creator, and to win their homage to himself. Therefore he misrepresented God, attributing to Him the desire for self-exaltation. With his own evil characteristics he sought to invest the loving Creator. Thus he deceived angels. Thus he deceived men. He led them to doubt the word of God, and to distrust His goodness. Because God is a God of justice and terrible majesty, Satan caused them to look upon Him as severe and unforgiving. Thus he drew men to join him in rebellion against God, and the night of woe settled down upon the world. DA 21.3Read in context »
He now gave a test by which the true teacher might be distinguished from the deceiver: “He that speaketh from himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh the glory of Him that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” John 7:18, R. V. He that seeketh his own glory is speaking only from himself. The spirit of self-seeking betrays its origin. But Christ was seeking the glory of God. He spoke the words of God. This was the evidence of His authority as a teacher of the truth. DA 456.1
Jesus gave the rabbis an evidence of His divinity by showing that He read their hearts. Ever since the healing at Bethesda they had been plotting His death. Thus they were themselves breaking the law which they professed to be defending. “Did not Moses give you the law,” He said, “and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill Me?” DA 456.2
Like a swift flash of light these words revealed to the rabbis the pit of ruin into which they were about to plunge. For an instant they were filled with terror. They saw that they were in conflict with Infinite Power. But they would not be warned. In order to maintain their influence with the people, their murderous designs must be concealed. Evading the question of Jesus, they exclaimed, “Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill Thee?” They insinuated that the wonderful works of Jesus were instigated by an evil spirit. DA 456.3
To this insinuation Christ gave no heed. He went on to show that His work of healing at Bethesda was in harmony with the Sabbath law, and that it was justified by the interpretation which the Jews themselves put upon the law. He said, “Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; ... and ye on the Sabbath day circumcise a man.” According to the law, every child must be circumcised on the eighth day. Should the appointed time fall upon the Sabbath, the rite must then be performed. How much more must it be in harmony with the spirit of the law to make a man “every whit whole on the Sabbath day.” And He warned them to “judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” DA 456.4Read in context »
Meanwhile Jesus had quietly arrived at Jerusalem. He had chosen an unfrequented route by which to go, in order to avoid the travelers who were making their way to the city from all quarters. Had He joined any of the caravans that went up to the feast, public attention would have been attracted to Him on His entrance into the city, and a popular demonstration in His favor would have aroused the authorities against Him. It was to avoid this that He chose to make the journey alone. DA 452.1
In the midst of the feast, when the excitement concerning Him was at its height, He entered the court of the temple in the presence of the multitude. Because of His absence from the feast, it had been urged that He dared not place Himself in the power of the priests and rulers. All were surprised at His presence. Every voice was hushed. All wondered at the dignity and courage of His bearing in the midst of powerful enemies who were thirsting for His life. DA 452.2
Standing thus, the center of attraction to that vast throng, Jesus addressed them as no man had ever done. His words showed a knowledge of the laws and institutions of Israel, of the sacrificial service and the teachings of the prophets, far exceeding that of the priests and rabbis. He broke through the barriers of formalism and tradition. The scenes of the future life seemed outspread before Him. As one who beheld the Unseen, He spoke of the earthly and the heavenly, the human and the divine, with positive authority. His words were most clear and convincing; and again, as at Capernaum, the people were astonished at His teaching; “for His word was with power.” Luke 4:32. Under a variety of representations He warned His hearers of the calamity that would follow all who rejected the blessings He came to bring them. He had given them every possible proof that He came forth from God, and made every possible effort to bring them to repentance. He would not be rejected and murdered by His own nation if He could save them from the guilt of such a deed. DA 452.3Read in context »