John 8:19-20

Hello everyone. Welcome back to another Deeper Waters blog. As regular readers know, we’ve been going through the Bible trying to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. Right now, we’re in the New Testament and more specifically, we’re in the gospel of John. We’ve been in this one for quite awhile, but it is certainly one quite deep with Trinitarian thought. Today, we’re going to be looking at John 8:19-20.

19Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”

   “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20He spoke these words while teaching in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come.

Jesus has just been speaking about his Father who testifies about him on his behalf. The Jews immediately want to know where this Father is. (Interesting that they don’t ask who he is. Apparently, they must have thought him someone human that they could bring out and try with questions.) 

Jesus instead tells them that they don’t know the Father. Naturally, if they had known who they were asking for, they wouldn’t have had to ask where he was. However, while saying that they do not know the Father, Jesus makes it just as clear that they do not know him either.

Had they known who Jesus was, they would have known who the Father is. The conclusion is that if one does not know Jesus, they do not know who the Father is. Consider it if we put it in the form of a syllogism.

If p, q.

p, therefore q.

If you know the Son, you know the Father.

You know the Son, therefore you know the Father.

Jesus ties himself in again in such a unique way to the Father. This is something that would not be well accepted in our age of pluralism. Contrary to the Oprah Winfreys of our age, Jesus is the means whereby one knows the Father. He is not a means. He is the means.

Now someone might ask if Christianity is an exclusivistic religion. On the contrary, Christianity is the most inclusive religion of all! The ones who may come are whosoever will. Christ simply asks that you come on his terms. All who come are welcomed. Christianity, like all other religions, has core tenets at the heart of it. To deny those is to deny Christianity. You cannot be a Muslim and believe Muhammad was not a prophet. You cannot be a Christian and deny that Jesus is fully God. (I say deny for I realize many come to faith at a young age not reciting Trinitarian terminology, but I believe they can later come to realize just who this Jesus is. It is the denial of it that is a problem.)

Jesus is also speaking in the most populated area of the temple where there would be the most people and no one lays a hand on him. The reason is not because Jesus was good at dodging captors or that they were particularly bad at capturing him. It is another theme we see in the gospel. His time has not yet come. Throughout this gospel, it is God who is in charge of all that is going on. Christ will die, but it will not be because God has let him down or he was caught off guard. It will be because he is fulfilling the plan of God and unknowingly, his opponents are helping him to do that.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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