Training In Discernment

It is midway through the Feast of Tabernacles. The boy who stayed after the Feast of Passover amazing them with his understanding in the temple at age 12 is back as an adult providing foundational instruction in discernment. They marvel because there has been no formal training in the interim. At this Feast to celebrate God dwelling with them in the wilderness they fail to see God dwelling with them in the person of Jesus.
How can we be aware of God and know His will? This passage provides numerous guideposts in discerning God's will. It begins with our desire to want only the will of God. Listen slowly. Wait unit you really hear the heart of Jesus in his words, demeanor and intention.

John 7:14-24 NLT
Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. 15 The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?”a they asked.
16 So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. 17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. 18 Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. 19 Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.”
20 The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?”
21 Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed. 22 But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) 23 For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? 24 Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
a from the Greek word gramma meaning: a letter, writing, letters of sacred learning

For Reflection and Prayer:
What caught your attention-a word, a phrase, an image or emotion-as you listened to the text? Have a conversation with Jesus about what you heard.

Was there a particular feeling you experienced as you listened to the conversation? Bring that feeling into your prayer. How do you need Jesus to meet you in that feeling?

At the “remembrance of God dwelling with them in the wilderness” Jesus is teaching on discernment. Prayerfully reflect on your own discernment – where have you noticed God’s presence with you or God’s word to you?

Be still and savor any consoling words or pictures in your prayer.

The One Who Keeps Seeking Us Out

Lingering a little longer in the healing by the pool story, we witness Jesus seeking out the healed man a second time. This time it is in the temple. Imagine that, God seeking us out in our places of worship, in our moments of inhabiting the Sabbath stop.

Jesus speaks some curious words to the man found in the temple. At first hearing, the words might sound jarring or abrupt. Notice how you hear these words each time. What do you notice? What are you feeling? You are invited to make room to stop and listen. The One who seeks us out, might have something more to say.

John 5:9-15 (NLT)
Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, 10 so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!”
11 But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
12 “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.
13 The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. 14 But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” 15 Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, phrase or image which caught your attention you as you listened to or slowly read the text? Quietly reflect on it in your prayer with Jesus. Journal your conversation.

Was there any particular emotion which emerged as you listened to the scripture? Talk it over with Jesus in your prayer.

Where have you noticed Jesus inviting you or giving you permission to stop and share sacred time with him?

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God.