When Jesus said, “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true,” He may have included the idea, “If I promote myself, my self-promotion does not honor God.” Self-promotion seems to be what the scribes and Pharisees did when they loved to be honored by the crowds for their seeming piety.
What is wrong with self-promotion? The world tells us that if we want to “get ahead,” we need to look for ways to promote ourselves in the eyes of those who can help us “get ahead.” Maybe self-promotion works for many. Consider the successes of the Pharisees.
When the Pharisees gave alms to the poor or prayed on the street corners for all to see, they were promoting themselves for reasons probably unknown to us, but Jesus said they had received their reward. So, self-promotion can be rewarding in some way or another. But the Pharisees who through their self-promotion had received their reward in this world were not going to be rewarded again by God in the next world—they had received all the reward they were going to get.
Again, what is wrong with self-promotion? Perhaps nothing. But if our true task is to promote the business or career of someone else, and we use their time and money to promote our own self-advancement or profession instead of doing what they employed us to do, that would not be right.
What example did Jesus leave us? First and foremost, Jesus promoted the purposes of His Heavenly Father instead of His own self-interest. What is our purpose? Jesus perfectly agreed with the purposes of His Heaven Father. Do we agree with the purposes of God? Jesus came to do the will of His Father who sent Him, and Jesus never opposed His Father’s will. Jesus completed the work He was sent to do. If we have responded to Jesus’ call to follow Him, have we also decided to do the will of Jesus and never oppose God’s will for us, the Lord being our Helper, though we still disobey God sometimes?
At all times, Jesus came to do the will of His Heavenly Father and He did; therefore, the Father promoted Jesus among the people He came to serve. With single-minded love and devotion for His Father, Jesus did His Father’s will. Unlike the Pharisees, who needed the crowds to promote their self-interests, Jesus chose to promote the interests of His Father who had sent Him; therefore, the Father promoted Jesus to the right hand of God after Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection. Jesus received the reward of His suffering.
As followers of Jesus Christ, as Bible students and teachers, whose purposes do we seek to fulfill first and foremost with the time, talent, and opportunities God gives us? God the Father testified in behalf of Jesus, who did His Father’s will. For almost 2,000 years, God the Father has testified in behalf of those who have promoted His work through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Let us prayerfully seek to know and do the Father’s will and obey Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit according to the Scriptures, rather than try to use Jesus and truths we learn from the Bible as means of self-promotion.
What do you think? Make your comments below. Do you or someone in your Bible study group have a question? Send your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer them (or try to) on the Forum.
Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to email@example.com.
May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!