But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret.
It seems Jesus’ teachings had become general knowledge but in the absence of tabloid journalism his face had not. He attended the festival apart from family and disciples so he could teach without the prejudices built up by the controversies interpreting his words for him.
He became for a time just another itinerant teacher making squawking sounds at a religious festival. But his words drew attention. And controversy followed.
Then Jesus responds: My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own.
Can we take this as a guide for reading scripture? Unless we commit to doing God’s will — we will not have it revealed to us. If this were true — what does that do to our little Bible study? What does it mean for faith?
It takes some thought (and prayer) to stretch the mind around it all. I can know that roses are red without committing to growing them. But the will of God isn’t that kind of knowledge. I must commit to doing God’s will before I can hear it and know it to be so. Thus, it is impossible to know God’s will in the abstract only in the particular. Not do not steal but do not steal this thing now.
And later we will hear:
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers. (John 10:3-5)