MY GOSPEL OR NOT
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.”
Jesus spoke like no other man had ever spoken. He spoke with authority. How could He speak with such authority? Because His teaching was not His, He only spoke the words given Him by His Father. So in one sense the teaching was not His, yet in another sense it was very much His. His teaching was backed by the authority of heaven. That’s how it can be with us today. If we empty ourselves of ourselves and yield our lives to Him, His teaching becomes our teaching. Worldly people will not like it (they killed Jesus too) but the truth remains. Here is how Martin Luther describes this phenomenon in his own ministry.
“Christ answered his adversaries carefully. He showed that he understood them and realized they were accusing and slandering him. They thought his teaching came from the devil. So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.” Does that make sense? If Jesus’ words were not his own, why did he preach, promote, and embrace them so strongly? Why did he refuse to accept the honor of his own words? Why didn’t he say, “This is my teaching”? Christians often say, “This is my sermon, my baptism, my Christ, my God.” Or we might say, “my gospel.” Yet none of these are ours, for we didn’t create them. They didn’t originate in us. They aren’t our works. Yet, at the same time, they are ours because God gives them to us. This is why I insist that this gospel is mine. It’s different than the teaching of other preachers. This is my teaching—in other words, Luther’s teaching. At the same time, I’m saying, “It’s not my teaching. It’s not my work, but God’s gift.” I didn’t create it in my head. It didn’t grow in my garden. I didn’t give birth to it. Rather, it’s God’s gift. So both are true. The gospel is mine, yet it’s not mine, because it’s God’s.”
In today’s secularized society, preaching Christ is becoming more and more despised. If you ever share about holiness or repentance, watch out. You will be accused of being judgmental or having a religious attitude or spirit. In today’s “anything goes” society, any righteous standards are now considered narrow minded or hateful. The message of grace has been dragged through the gutter and has been spun to embrace any type of sinful behavior as being “covered by grace”. Biblical grace forgives the darkest sin but refuses to stop there. True Biblical grace liberates from the snare of sin that we can actually live a moral, and yes, holy life. Drinking from His cup of grace satisfies the part of us that longs for other pleasures. It actually takes away our thirst for other things. This teaching is not mine but it is Paul’s (or Luther’s) or even better, it is Christ’s. If I am not mistaken He said, “If the Son sets you free you are free indeed”.