Jesus Was Logical

The view of Jesus that prevails in popular culture is one that portrays Him as unconcerned with logic and correct attention to doctrinal detail. Diluted Christendom has conjured up a Jesus that is non-confrontational, “politically correct,” and would never be “judgmental” or “intolerant.” Nevertheless, the New Testament—the only source for ascertaining the identity of Jesus—depicts Him in a completely different light.

Take, for example, the occasion in John 7 when the Jews were critical of Jesus for having healed on the Sabbath a man who suffered from a 38-year-old ailment (John 5:2-9). Many would suppose that Jesus would not be concerned with careful conformity to the Law. They would assume that Jesus would chide the Jews for their nit-picky, legalistic approach to religion, and that He would be quite willing to dismiss the requirements of the Law in order to give priority to human need in the name of compassion. Unfortunately, this viewpoint is fraught with error, not the least of which is its demeaning assessment of law—law which God, Himself, authored. Law, according to God, is given for human well-being (Deuteronomy 6:24; 10:13; Proverbs 29:18). God’s law is “holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12), and serves divinely-intended, positive purposes (e.g., Romans 3:20). Indeed, Jesus’ handling of His persecutors on this occasion illustrates the high regard He had for law, the necessity of carefully conforming to it, and the critical importance of applying it accurately.

Calling attention to the miracle He performed, Jesus offered a logical rebuttal to the allegation that He violated the Sabbath. Here is that argument placed in syllogistic form:

  1. If the Law of Moses requires the circumcision of a male infant on the 8th day after birth—even when the 8th day falls on the Sabbath—then healing a man on the Sabbath is equally legal.
  2. The Law of Moses requires the circumcision of a male infant on the 8th day after birth—even when the 8th day falls on the Sabbath.
  3. Therefore, healing a man on the Sabbath is equally legal.

Jesus then offered a concluding admonition that cinched the validity of His argument: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (vs. 24). Making application of God’s laws based on “appearance” refers to doing so based on how things seem or look to the person making the judgment, i.e., forming an opinion based on inadequate evidence. To the contrary, to “judge with righteous judgment” means to make accurate assessments by drawing only warranted conclusions from the evidence, i.e., thinking and acting rationally.

This one incident in the life of Christ is typical of His behavior on other occasions, proving that Jesus was logical in His approach to life. It demonstrates the high respect He had for law. It spotlights Deity’s concern for careful compliance with law. All who desire to be like Christ must emulate these same concerns. As Jesus Himself stated: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).


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