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Where is Your Father

John 8:12-20


The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.’ (Verse 13)


This challenge comes to Jesus right after they had brought the adulterous woman to Him, with the plan to stone her and trip Him up.  Of course their plan did not go their way, which fueled their rage against Him even more.  Their statement to Him in this verse is convoluted as they twisted what Jesus had said the day before.  You see it was still fresh in their minds of the event from the previous day when Jesus had healed the crippled man by the pool Bethesda (John 5:1-15).  They were blind with rage because Jesus was not obeying the law of the Sabbath. 


When Jesus had said “If I bear witness of Myself, my witness is not true” (John 5:31) the Pharisees said that He was admitting that the witness He bore regarding Himself was not true.  Jesus was speaking in regards to the Mosaic Law of which the Pharisees claimed to uphold at all times.  So, He was stating if it was only by His own witness that He was the Son of the Father it would not be true.  The Pharisees objected that the witness of Jesus was true because He spoke for Himself, whereas two witnesses were necessary.  Jesus reported that the Father added his testimony both by the written Word and by the works of Jesus.


Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going.”  (Verse 14)


The lord inspired Moses to require two witnesses when writing the law for human benefit.  Simply, because as humans we have an imperfect knowledge and of our untrustworthiness of individual veracity, however, Jesus knew every circumstance affecting that of which He testified, was valid, for the perfection of His knowledge implied that He was divine.  
We as humans do not have a clue from where we came from nor where we are going; yet Jesus having appeared in human form knew the origin and issue of His life.  I can say without a doubt in my mind that I came from Detroit and I know what that place is like having lived there.  Yet, I cannot say (like Jesus can) that I know where heaven is and exactly what it is like.  I do know that I am going there because of His promise and that I will one day meet my heavenly Father.  So, just as I know the place I grew up from whence I came from, Jesus knows from where He came from and that His Father is there waiting for Him.


“You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.”    (Verse 15) 


The Pharisees (who weren’t very fair you see, just had to toss that in) were judging Jesus from appearances, and their judgment was very condemnatory, simply because it was based on a worldview.  Unfortunately many Christians can fall into this trap of judging in the same manner as the Pharisees, it can be called Pharisaism. 


Let me give you an example:  A third grade public school teacher was teaching her students about mammals of the sea.  She stated that whales were the largest and yet they had very narrow throats, so therefore, they could not swallow a human being. 


A girl spoke up “But one swallowed Jonah!” 


“No,” the teacher said, “It just cannot swallow an adult human being.  Because, as I said, even though it is a large animal, it has a very narrow throat and so cannot swallow an adult human being.”


The girl persisted, “Well, when I go to heaven, I will ask Jonah.”

“What if Jonah is not in heaven; what if he is in hell?” the teacher asked.


The girl’s response, “Then you ask him!”


We all may have found that story cute, and yet, most likely we all made a value judgment on that teacher and that girl.  The girl was going to heaven and the teacher was going to hell.  But more importantly you most likely injected yourself into the equation by the knowledge that you yourself will be going to heaven, because unlike that teacher, you believe the Word of God.  This is a definition of pharisaism.  Pharisaism is making a value judgment on someone else based on one’s own assumed secure position.


We make value judgments all the time, and the value judgment on that teacher may not be wrong, especially sense the worldview has a strong opposition towards evangelical Christianity today.  However, what we have to be aware of is that before we begin to make a value judgment on someone else, we must examine how secure our own assumed position is.  When it comes to pharisaism, sincerity really does not matter.  You can be extremely sincere, and yet sincerely wrong!  Just like the Pharisees that were judging Jesus at that moment.  They had their own preconceived idea of what God’s Savior would look like, and Jesus certainly did not fit that bill.


“And yet if I judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me.”  (Verse 16)


Jesus mission was not to judge; yet when He did His judgment was true because it was the manifestation of the Light (John 3:19).  In the cases where Jesus made a judgment it was not according to the flesh, it was in accord with the essential truth.  Jesus judgment is not a value-based judgment in regards to where or what someone’s social standing is, it is based on their spiritual condition, because of the Light of God that reveals the darkness of man’s heart.  His judgment was concurring with the Father who sent Him, that is why He states that He is not alone, that the Father is with Him.


“It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true.” (Verse 17)


For the sake of man, God had ordered that by His Divine law (Deuteronomy 17:6), that every thing should be established by the testimony of two witnesses.  The term “your law” is material, as addressed to those who were professed expounders of it and accused Him of being a transgressor of it.  Jesus had no need to say “our law” because of His perfection, He had no need to come under the law, and He mentions it to show in each case that He fulfilled it.


“I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.” (Verse 18)


Because of the relationship between Jesus and the Father, verses 16 and 18 are so closely connected.  His judgment is not individual because of the union with the Father.  We have clear evidence of the Father bearing witness of Jesus throughout His ministry especially noted in Matthew 3:17 after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am will pleased.”  The Father also bore witness through the many miracles as well as by the prophecies of the Old Testament.


Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?”  Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father.  If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.” These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple, and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.   (Verse 19-20)


The Pharisees most likely had asked this question with scorn and hopes that Jesus would respond with an answer that they could use against Him, such as “My Father in heaven”.  It was not yet Jesus time so of course He did not answer like that.  Jesus’ answer reveals to them just how much they did not know Him or the Father.  The treasury where it was that Jesus spoke was the most public area of the temple, which reveals how openly Jesus spoke and taught, He was not hiding anything, and all that He taught was for all to hear.


Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin.  Where I go you cannot come.” (Verse 21)


Because Jesus was speaking in the treasury there were most likely two groups of people there. The first were the religious leaders who studied the scriptures and supposed they knew God and yet were in moral and intellectual bondage.  They sought to bind with fetters any heart that was truly seeking God and truth.  The other group was the unlearned, those that did not daily handle the scriptures and were not prepared to argue.  And yet they had honest hearts that were seeking and attempting to grasp the truth.  It was this group of people that Jesus was now speaking to instead of the ones in John 19.


So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”  And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above.  You are of the world; I am not of this world.  Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (Verse 22-24)


This the people knew, that man did not know the hour of ones death unless of course they planned to end their life by taking it by one’s own hand.  Jesus clearly states where He is going by giving a double answer to the people.  He is from above, they are from below, simply put, He was from heaven and they are of the world.  We must also note that at the end of this statement Jesus states, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”  It’s very plausible that He is using the “I AM” in the context as when Moses met God at the burning bush, and which is used again in verse 28 and 58 of this same chapter of John.  And if one does not believe that this is the case they will die in their sins.


Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”  And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning.  I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but he who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard from Him.” They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father (Verse 25-27)


It appears this question is asked in scorn and that they may have chosen to not hear the “I AM” earlier because of the holiness of the name, or they missed it because of the way that Jesus responded.  Also in this answer one could almost derive two meanings as to what Jesus was referring to when He said that He was telling them from the beginning.  Could He have been referring from the beginning of His ministry or the beginning of creation as recorded in their Torah?   I tend to lean toward this latter thought sense He was speaking to the teachers, leaders and scribes who were familiar with the scriptures.


Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.  And He who sent Me is with Me.  The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”  As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. (Verse 28-30)


Jesus is referring to the Crucifixion and the Ascension as the means of His return to the Father and the fact the He  (Jesus) would be glorified in His death, and then they would know who He was.  The veil would be torn and understanding would come.  At the present moment they could not understand, but after His death they would know that He and the Father are one, and that the Father sent Him.  He is appealing to their knowledge of His holy life and all that He had done; every act that He did was in obedience and pleasing to the Father and that He was always with Him.  Those that believed were at first expecting a declaration of His divinity, that they did not get, yet their belief stemmed from irresistible power of truth in regards to His plea about His holy life, something they could not deny or refute.


This takes me back to verse 12 of this chapter.


Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world.  He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”


Jesus would be returning to that heavenly place where His Father resided in pure light, where no darkness can be seen or found.