SEEKING GOD’S GLORY FOR GOD’S SATISFACTION
As One who lived a restricted life, a life restricted from doing things for self, the Lord sought the glory of God for God’s satisfaction. When the Lord Jesus taught in the temple, the Jews marveled and said, “How does this man know letters, having never learned?” (v. 15). The Lord Jesus answered, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but He who seeks the glory of Him who sent Him, this One is true, and unrighteousness is not in Him” (vv. 16-18). Here we see that the Lord did not seek His own glory, in that He did not speak from Himself. Rather, He sought the glory of the One who sent Him.
The Lord’s being a person who sought God’s glory for God’s satisfaction did not depend on what He did or on His works; it depended instead on the fact that He was of God, that He was sent by God, that He came from God, and that He spoke God. This chapter does not record any work done by the Lord Jesus. This chapter reveals that He was a person restricted by God, that He was of God, that He was sent by God and came from God, and that He did not speak His own word but spoke God. When the Lord spoke God’s word, God was expressed through His speaking. God came forth from Him through His words.
QUALIFIED TO BE THE BURNT OFFERING
Because the Lord lived a life of restriction and a life of seeking the glory of God, He was fully qualified to be the burnt offering. In the book of Leviticus we have five basic offerings: the burnt offering, the meal offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. The burnt offering is unique in that it is not mainly for redemption. The burnt offering is wholly for God’s satisfaction. According to Leviticus 1, this offering was burned to ashes as God’s food to satisfy God. In chapter seven of the Gospel of John we see that the Lord Jesus is the reality of the burnt offering. He lived a life that was wholly restricted by God and for God. He was of God, He came from God, and He was sent by God.
Although John 7 does not record the Lord’s works, it does give us an account of His speaking. In this chapter the Lord seemed to be saying to the religionists, “You do not understand My word because you are not in My kingdom. In My kingdom I live a life that is restricted from doing things for the self. I live such a restricted life for God. I live a life of speaking God and of expressing Him for His glory and satisfaction. But you do everything for your own glory. This proves that you are in another kingdom. But if you have a will to do God’s will, if you have the desire to please God, then you will understand My word and know concerning My teaching whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself. If you decide to live a life for God, you will immediately understand My word.”
When the Lord Jesus was on earth, the religious people were busy doing things for their own glory. The situation is the same in principle among religious people today. In the religious sphere people are active; they are very busy doing all sorts of things. But who is living a life restricted by God and expressing Him? Who is seeking God’s glory for His satisfaction? It is rare to find such a living among Christians today. Because most Christians do not live a life of restriction and a life of seeking God’s glory for His satisfaction, they are not able to understand John 7. If we would understand this chapter, we need to be those who are willing to be restricted and seek God’s glory. This is a life for the burnt offering.
SLANDERED AND PERSECUTED
As the One who lived a life for the burnt offering, the Lord Jesus even seemed to be misleading in speaking with His brothers. First, He told them that He was not going up to the feast (v. 8). But “when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He also went up, not publicly, but as in secret” (v. 10). Some of those at the feast claimed that He was leading the crowd astray (v. 12). This indicates that He was criticized and accused of misleading people.
In John 7 the Lord Jesus was also slandered and persecuted. The Lord said to the crowd, “Has not Moses given you the law, and yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” (v. 19). Then the crowd replied, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” (v. 20). Some even went so far as to slander the Lord by saying that He had a demon. Furthermore, according to 7:25, some were seeking to kill Him, and verse 30 indicates that they were seeking to seize Him. This proves that the Lord Jesus, the One who lived the life for the burnt offering, was slandered and persecuted.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 21, by Witness Lee)