The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” John 7:46
The person who judges by appearances makes superficial judgments about Jesus, but the person who exercises right judgment listens to Jesus.
When Jesus went to the feast in Jerusalem, He did not begin by performing miracles. He began by teaching:
About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching (7:14).
So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me” (7:16).
So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple… (7:28).
When we judge by appearance alone, we make superficial judgments, much like the people in Jesus’ day who said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee?” (7:41). They knew that Jesus grew up in Nazareth, and that the family home was not in Galilee. (Though further investigation would have shown that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.) They had a question that did not have an easy answer, so they judged by appearance and rejected Jesus.
A person who makes superficial judgments latches onto an issue or a problem that makes faith seem implausible, and so rejects the claims of Jesus.
Some officers arrived on the last day of the feast to arrest Jesus, and they heard Him say, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (7:37-38).
This teaching made such an impact on these officers that they returned to the Pharisees without arresting Jesus. When the Pharisees asked why they did not arrest Him, they said, “No one ever spoke like this man!” (7:46). The officers judged Jesus by His teaching, not His town.
Are you judging Jesus simply by what you’ve heard about Him? Or are you really listening to what He says?