In response to an angered Jewish leadership, Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). It is amazing that, on this occasion, Jesus would be so public in His teaching since the “Jews sought to kill Him” (v. 1) and even his own family “did not believe in Him” (v. 5). Jesus knew His message was not going to be readily welcomed but this did not deter Him from broadcasting the Good News. He knew that, often, one does not see the eternal benefit of standing in the face of unrighteous condemnation to teach truth. Truth, indeed, has nothing to fear.
It was not long after Jesus reproved these Jewish non-believers that “they sought to take Him” but were not able “because His hour had not yet come” (v. 30). A noteworthy point one can make is found in verse thirty-one: “And many of the people believed in Him, and said, ‘When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?’” (v. 31).
Our judgment of conduct is justified by John in this passage with the proviso that we judge righteous judgment. That means we will endeavor to see the bigger picture. It may well have been that the target audience, though it might appear to be those rebellious Jews who were challenging him, was, instead, those who were watching the truth unfold through the teaching, signs and conduct of the Son of God. Before we make the decision that our breath is wasted, that we are casting our pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6), perhaps we should remember the silent observer on the perimeter of the event, taking everything in and basking in the light of the truth of God. Judge righteously.