Shelby G. Floyd
In John, chapter five, we have the record of Christ going up to Jerusalem, and healing a man at the pool of Bethesda who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years. Jesus was condemned by the scribes and Pharisees because he made the man whole on the Sabbath day. Eighteen months later, when Jesus returned back to Jerusalem, these same people sought to kill him on the pretext that he had violated the Law of Moses by heal¬ing a man on the Sabbath day. When Jesus appeared in the temple during the feast of the tabernacles, he said to his critics,
“Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”… “Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath. Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment” (John 7: 19, 22-24 NIV).
There is a common human tendency to condemn in other people that which we allow in ourselves and our friends. The Jews had condemned Christ in that which they allowed themselves to do. This was plainly inconsistent and unrighteous. The apostle Paul once said, “Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves” (Romans 14: 22 NIV).
In condemning Christ for healing a man on the Sabbath day the Jews had condemned themselves. Moses had given them the law, and yet none of them kept the law. Why then should they go about to kill Christ for allegedly not keeping the law? A good rule works both ways. If Christ should be put to death for allegedly breaking the law, then also they should be put to death, for they had not kept the law. But the old adage which says, “They measure our corn by their bushel,” certainly applied to them. As an example therefore of their unrighteous judgment and inconsistency, Jesus applied to his critics an Argumentum ad Hominem—an argument to the man, his interest and prejudices.
Moses had given unto them the law of circumcision which stated that a male child should be circumcised on the eighth day. Sometimes the eighth day would fall on the Sabbath day, and they would circumcise a man on the Sabbath day. They did not condemn themselves as a violator of the law for circumcising a man on the Sabbath day. Therefore, if they could circumcise a man on the Sabbath day and not be guilty of breaking the law, why could not Christ then heal a man on the Sabbath day, who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years, and not be guilty of breaking the law of the Sabbath? But on the other hand if Christ was to be condemned as a law violator for healing a man on the Sabbath day, then they must condemn themselves as being law violators for circumcising a man on the Sabbath day. If not, why not?
If Christ were a law violator, they were much more so, for it was more of a secular work to circumcise a man than it was for Christ to heal a man on the Sabbath day by simply speaking the word. They had allowed a privilege for themselves which they would not allow for Christ, and therefore, they were unrighteous in their judgment which they had pronounced upon Christ for the good work which he had performed. From this Jesus draws the following conclusion, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7: 24 KJV.) Their judgment of Christ had been based on the outward appearance. Their judgment of Christ was not righteous. Continue reading “Do Not Judge…But Judge”