“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.”1 It seems paradoxical that we were created with the ability to form judgements but Jesus is constantly telling us our perceptions are wrong. Right judgment requires correcting not only our tendency to judge the faults of others, but also correcting our vision of God, ourselves, and our expectations.
We have much more confidence in our own judgment in general than is good for us. We can recognize from our human experience that it is wiser to suppose that perhaps we do not know than to be convinced we are right. Socrates said, “The only thing I do know is that I do not know.” Things that seem good don’t always turn out to be so, and God brings greater goods out of apparent evils. Faith moves us to hit pause on our snap judgements so that we can listen to a higher perspective.
“Thus, as sunlight is in a certain way useless for one with a disease of the eyes, and he receives no benefit because his illness prevents it; and as healthy food seems more useless to sick people than to others, though by it they would recover the health they desire; so also the Lord seemed useless to the Jews, though he was the author of salvation. They, in fact, did not love salvation.”2
“You who are sick, drink the bitter chalice if you want to be healthy, because now your viscera are not healthy. Do not tremble with fear, because the doctor drank it first, that you might not tremble. The Lord, that is, drank the bitterness of the passion first. The one who had no sin drank, the one who had nothing to be healed of. Drink, therefore, until the bitterness of this world passes, until that world comes where there will be no scandal, no anger, no sickness, no bitterness, no fever, no deceit, no enmity, no old age, no death, no quarrels.”3Augustine, Expositions of the Psalms 48.1.11.[/note]
“The Evangelist adds, “from Jerusalem,” for the greatest display of miracles had been there. And there the people were in the worst state, seeing the strongest proofs of his divinity and yet willing to give up all to the judgment of their corrupt rulers. Was it not a great miracle that those who raged for his life, now that they had him in their grasp, all of a sudden became quiet?”4
“How then did this notion of the Jews arise, that, when Christ came, no one would know where he came from? It arose from this reason, that is, that the Scriptures asserted both. As man, they foretold where Christ would come from. As God, he was hidden from the profane but revealed himself to the godly.… This notion they had taken from Isaiah, “Who shall declare his generation?””5
“The reason why they do not know who Christ is, is that they do not know from whom he is. None can confess the Son who deny that he was born; none can understand that he was born who has formed the opinion that Jesus is from nothing. And indeed Jesus is so far from being made out of nothing that the heretics cannot tell from where he is.”6
“[They did not lay hands on him] because he did not want them to.… For our Lord was not born subject to fate. You must not believe this even of yourself, much less of him by whom you were made. And if your hour is in his will, is not his hour in his own will? His hour then here does not mean the time that he was obliged to die, but the time that he decided to be put to death.”7
- Jn. 7:24.
- Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of John 11.12.
- Chrysostom, HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 50.1. Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 260). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Augustine, TRACTATES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 31.2. Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 260). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Hilary of Poitiers, ON THE TRINITY 6.29. Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 261). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Augustine, TRACTATES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 31.5. Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 262). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.