Where are you from?

Which denomination are you? What group do you belong to? Which Bible college or Theological college did you go to? What books have you read and which tapes have you listened to? Do you speak in tongues? Tell us more about your background, because we want to know where you’re coming from. You say things that are different from what we have been taught. All this will help us to know whether we can trust what you say. You should be properly labelled, so that we can know whether or not you are safe.

Where did Jesus come from? Which synagogue did he belong to? What rabbis had taught him the scriptures? What was his background?

Jesus himself gave us the simple answer to all these questions. He said, “I came from the Father”.

He was not from the Nazareth synagogue. They had in fact thrown him out of it. Nor, in the sense that really mattered, was he a prophet from Galilee. He was not even from the land of Israel or the Jewish people in the final analysis. He was from God. That was the only source that really counted.

The same was true of John the Baptist: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”

Peter inwardly knew and understood this and expressed his faith in the familiar words, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” How did he know this? In the words of Jesus: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” (Matt 16:16,17).

The Pharisees failed the test. “We know that God spoke to Moses,” they said, “but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from” (John 9:29).

They failed the test for just one fundamental reason. They did not know the Father. They could not recognise the voice of the Good Shepherd.

We need no great discernment to recognise past men of God. For the Pharisees this meant Moses or Abraham or David. For us it might be Luther or Wesley or JNDarby or Smith Wigglesworth and of course, above all, Jesus. With hindsight and helpful biographies we can look back at what they achieved and honour them for it, and declare ourselves their followers. In their day they were often rejected and persecuted.

So the Pharisees “built the tombs of the prophets and decorated the monuments of the righteous” (Matt 23:29), but crucified the Son of God when he came to them.

The test for us is to know the God of today and to receive his word of today and accept his messengers of today.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” If we truely want to be his sheep, we will learn to recognise and love his voice and to distinguish the true from the false.