From the Pulpit: You don’t need fancy credentials

August 12, 2018

Jerome Huebner, From the Pulpit columnist

When I was young, I was impressed by fancy credentials, but I found that Scripture teaches that fancy credentials are not necessary.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were the elite religious scholars of Jesus’ day. They possessed the fanciest credentials and directed the religious teaching and culture of Israel.

Jesus and his disciples, on the other hand, had no recognized religious credentials. Listen to what those religious leaders said about Jesus: “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son?” “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?”

After Jesus rose from the dead, commissioned his disciples, ascended to heaven and filled them with his Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the religious leaders also took note of those disciples: “They called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching.” “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” “They beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus and let them go.”

But Jesus had a few things to say to those religious leaders: “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.” “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

How could those elite scholars be so wrong? Paul wrote: “Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” “We have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

It’s no different today. Fancy credentials are OK, but they are not adequate to serve the Lord. Those religious leaders had their own agenda. Jesus and his disciples subjected themselves to God’s agenda.

If you are a child of God filled with his Holy Spirit you will find that the Spirit will continually teach you all things and will give you wisdom and understanding to apply that knowledge to your daily life.

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