Ye Neither Know Me nor My Father
© 2022 C. O. Bishop
Last week, we examined the statement Jesus made, identifying Himself both as the Light of the World, and (because of His use of the “I AM” phrase,) as God. Anyone who heard Him and who was willing to consider the implication of His words would have seen that He was claiming to be the Creator, as well as the Judge, and the Lawgiver—the Light of Israel, and their Savior. From their response it is pretty clear that the majority did not see those truths.
The only verbal response of the Pharisees, to that simple statement, was that since he was bearing witness of himself, His testimony must not be true. That is illogical, as, ultimately, every testimony regarding oneself (including the times they demanded that He identify Himself) have to be one person confessing their own identity. But Jesus didn’t argue with them regarding the lack of logic: He addressed the real issue: He was telling the truth, and there were other witnesses to His identity as well.
13 The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. 14 Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. 16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. 17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
19 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. 20 These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.
My Record is True
Jesus’s first defense is that He Himself actually knew where He had come from, and they did not. They couldn’t ascertain the truth of His testimony, as they made no investigation as to His lineage or place of birth, let alone to see what other prophecies He had already fulfilled. They tried to brand Him a liar, simply because they wanted to silence Him!
I have several times heard people denouncing the Bible as “fairy tales, fiction, lies, etc.” Why were they saying such things? Because the Bible offended them, and they wanted to silence it. But, in every case where I was able to question the accusers at all, it turned out they knew virtually nothing of what the Bible actually teaches, and understood nothing of the little they knew. They were acting exactly as the Pharisees acted, and for the same motive! We know from 1st Corinthians 1:23 that the Gospel will always offend people. What they do about that “offense” will ultimately determine the outcome in their life.
Why does the Gospel Offend People?
As we have mentioned in the past, every example of “good news” (that is what “Gospel” means) is predicated upon some pre-existing “bad news.” In this case the “bad news” is that the entire World is condemned, and guilty before God for two reasons:
- Because of the Sin of Adam, (what we call “Original Sin) which plunged us all into spiritual death, being separated from God, and unable to approach Him or fellowship with Him, and,
- Because of our personal sins, which we commit by choice. Romans 1:18-32 outlines the overall slide of the Human Race, down through History, away from a relationship with God.
Responding to Guilt and dealing with Sin
There are four possible responses to that fact of guilt:
- We can simply deny that Sin exists, and thereby brush away any such accusations. To achieve this, one has to deny that there is such a thing as “right and wrong,” Most people have a pretty clear recognition that right and wrong exist, even if they can’t quite define either one of them. Therefore, since most people do see “right versus wrong” as a legitimate concern, most will not choose this response.
- A second option is to admit that Sin exists, but deny that it really matters, because “God is so loving and forgiving that He surely will not judge us harshly.” (Funny…that is exactly what the Serpent told Eve, in Genesis, too! “Thou shalt not surely die!”) But, since most people also are aware of a concept of justice; that “wrongs should be righted:” that “Evil should be punished,” and “Good should be rewarded,” most people are also uncomfortable with saying “sin doesn’t matter.” (They know it does matter!)
- We can deny that we personally are sinners, angrily “wrapping ourselves in the rags of our self-righteousness,” saying “Well, yes, there is Sin in the world, but I’m GOOD!” This requires deep self-delusion, to ignore the marks of sin in our own lives. So, most world-religions start with this idea and go just a little further, saying, “Well, yes, we are sinners, but not very “bad” sinners, and what little guilt there is in our lives, we will overbalance by our good works!” Human Religion builds upon this concept: “I can DO things to make God accept me!” It ignores the concept of God’s Holiness: it assumes He can be “bought off” by our trivial human works. Paul addressed this idea in Galatians 2:21 “I do not frustrate the Grace of God, for if righteousness come by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain!”
- The fourth response is full confession of both who we are, as lost sinners, and the fact that we cannot save ourselves. We don’t like that! It offends us! We want to claim the “innate goodness of the Human Race,” when God says quite the opposite: He says, “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags!” (Isaiah 64:6)
You see, the “Bad news” is that “All we like Sheep have gone astray, and have turned every one to his own way!” But the Good news is the other half of that same verse: “The LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all!” (Isaiah 53:6)
Embracing the Cross
Do you see the difference in that fourth response? It does not deny that Sin exists. Nor does it deny that Sin is serious. It does not deny personal guilt, nor does it claim that we can somehow save ourselves: Instead, it confesses that Jesus alone can take away my sin and give me a right standing before God. It places my only hope right where it belongs, casting myself completely on the Mercy and Grace of God, which He provided for all sinners, at the Cross.
We embrace God’s chosen sacrifice by faith. Every saved person in history has done exactly the same thing, from Adam and Eve, being clothed with the Blood Sacrifice that God made for them in the Garden of Eden, to the Children of Israel huddling under the Blood of the Passover Lamb, and trusting God to save them from the coming Judgment, and the Thief on the Cross, trusting in Jesus for Mercy. And every single one received the same promise in return: Eternal life, freely given and never revoked. Jesus said, “He that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out.”
Make it Personal
We make it personal, by personal choice. The people at that first Passover knew that God was judging Egypt that night: They killed the Lamb, and they dipped a bundle of hyssop in the blood of that Lamb, and they struck the blood onto the lintel and the two doorposts. But that wasn’t all: remember, every individual in each house personally ate of that Lamb. They did not just sit back and say, “I approve of this sacrifice!” They confessed that the Lamb was killed for their sake, personally, by eating of the Lamb, personally.
It is one thing to agree that “Jesus died for the Sins of the Whole World,” but entirely another to recognize that “He died because of my sins.” I need to personally embrace the Cross by faith, confessing that His sacrifice is for me, personally, not just a nice “theory” about which we all should “feel good.”
Jesus said (v. 15) that the Pharisees were “Judging after the Flesh.” They had corrupt motives and they judged accordingly. In this particular ministry (v. 16,) Jesus was not judging people: He came to offer Grace. (We saw that, exemplified, in verses 1-11.)
The amazing thing about that verse, though, is that He really is the Holy and Eternal Judge of all the Earth! He was temporarily setting aside His position as our Judge, in order to offer us His Grace. He said “I’m not judging anyone, but when I do judge (and He will!), My Judgment will be true, because it will be in full agreement with God the Father.
The only way for us to survive that judgment, is to embrace the truth: Embrace the fact of our sin, and embrace the fact that Jesus’s blood takes away sin. Embrace the “Bad News” that God hates sin, and that Judgment is coming… but also embrace the “Good News” that Jesus Saves!
Knowing The Father and the Son
Interestingly, this passage does not use the Greek word “ginosko,” which means an ongoing, experiential, relational knowledge. I had always assumed that was the “knowledge” Jesus said they didn’t have. But this is the other Greek word for “Know,” (“oida”) meaning simply knowing as a fact, or knowing about someone or some concept. Jesus was saying “You don’t know even who I am nor do you understand who my Father is at all!”
One place we see both of those words used, side by side, and contrasted, is in what I find to be a hilarious passage in Acts 19:11-16 There were certain unbelieving Jews who had been selling their services as “exorcists.” They saw that Paul was “the real McCoy,” so to speak, so seven of them attempted to use the Name of Jesus, as Paul did, to cast out demons.
They stood before a demon-possessed man, and said to the evil spirit, “We command you by the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” And the evil spirit answered, saying (KJV) “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?!” And He jumped on them and savagely beat them all, so that they ran away, bleeding and without their clothes! (Ha! I love that story!)
Two Ways to Know
But what was really happening there? The spirit actually said “Jesus, I know personally (“ginosko:”) I have experiential knowledge of Him. And I have heard of Paul (“oida”) I know about him. But you are not connected with either of them: you have zero authority!”
So, Jesus, far from only saying they lacked experiential, relational knowledge of God, was saying that the Pharisees knew nothing about Him. And they knew nothing of Jesus, as well! He effectively told them “If you knew anything about My Father, you would also know about Me!”
The Pharisees weren’t just lacking a “relationship with God:” they were so far removed from the truth that Jesus said they knew nothing about Him! But some believed, as we see in v. 30. And, in verse 20, we see that they couldn’t take him prisoner, nor attack Him, because He was the One in control: His hour had not yet come.
Once a person has confessed that they need a Savior and has placed their full trust in Jesus as that Savior, they have the “knowledge” Jesus addressed here: But from that point forward, we are encouraged, and admonished, and commanded to grow in the other kind of knowledge: the experiential, relational, personal, ongoing knowledge of the Holy God who has chosen us to be born again. He reached out to the whole world, and paid the sin-debt of the whole world, offering eternal life to the Whole World.
We entered in by faith, and by a free choice, having seen the clear invitation, “Whosoever Will may come!” But once inside, we looked back at that same door through which we entered and see that on the inside, it says “Chosen in Him from the foundation of the Earth!”
And now He says to follow Him, trust in Him, learn from Him! This is how we gain experiential knowledge of God. We study His Word, that we may grow thereby (He commands this!) We learn to use the tools He has given us, and the Light, by which to walk with God.
Most religions give some sort of “lip service” to “honoring Jesus:” they declare him to be “a great teacher, a philosopher, a prophet, a mystic, or a miracle-worker.” They may declare Him to be a “Mighty Spirit-Being.” They may even be so bold as to declare Him to be “a god.” But they will not confess that He is the Almighty Creator; God in the Flesh: God the Son. Eternally God, and the eternally “Anointed One” (Messiah.) “The Lamb Slain from the foundation of the World.”
And that is the Jesus we are confessing: The Biblical Jesus. Not some imaginary, created being, whom we may see with great respect, gratitude, or love, as if He were simply a Human Hero.
No! He is God! He is the Creator who spoke the World into existence. He is the King. He is the Master. (We don’t like that concept, but here it is: He is our Master!)
Each of us still has a sin nature, and we don’t like the idea that “someone else is the Boss!” We still desire self-realization, self-direction, self-rule. We say, “I want to be my own Person.” In strictly Human terms, that sounds fine, but this craving for autonomy actually began in the rebellion of Lucifer, which destroyed him as a holy angel, and destroyed us, through Adam. We can read Lucifer’s five statements of self-will in Isaiah 14:12-15. He wanted to be his own boss!
Embracing the Master
“Embracing Jesus” means embracing Him as our Lord! Embracing Him as our Master!
“Embracing Jesus” means embracing the tasks He gives us, on a day-by-day basis, as well as the overall Job He has given us, as Ambassadors of Christ. We are to shine in this dark world, as we noted last week. How? Well, Jesus said, “So let your light shine before Men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven!”
Every winter I eventually notice that the headlights on my car seem to be getting more and more dim. Finally, I get out of the car and check the headlamps, and sure enough, they are so encrusted with road grime that the burning light on the inside is hardly able to get through the dirt on the outside. We need to check ourselves on a regular basis to see that we are not becoming so “spotted by the world” that the Light of God’s Love is no longer visible. It can happen!
So, we address the “Dirt”…the Sin that is dimming the light in our lives, by confessing it to God. 1st John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
1st John 1:7 says, “If we walk in the light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.”
That is why He calls it “walking:” there is no coasting, or gliding: it is a “one-step-at-a-time” walk of faith and obedience.
Lord Jesus, cleanse our lives and teach us to walk in obedience to Your Word and to Your Spirit. Let our lives shine as quiet testimony of your Grace, and open our mouths to share the Gospel with those around us.