Read John 8:12-20.
The Pharisees Attack The Light Of The World
While teaching in the temple Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
The Pharisees took offense at this: You’re bearing witness about yourself, so, your testimony isn’t true.
Jesus said: Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, because I know where I came from, and I know where I’m going, but you don’t know where I come from or where I’m going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your Law it’s written that the testimony of two people is true. So I bear witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.
The Pharisees said, So where’s your Father?
Jesus answered, You don’t know me or my Father, because if you knew me, you would know my Father also.
All this made the Pharisees angry, angry enough to want to arrest Jesus. But they couldn’t, because it wasn’t yet God’s time for Jesus to be arrested.
Jesus’ 3 Point Rebuttal
1) “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true.” (John 8:14)
In other words, Just because I testify about myself doesn’t mean that my testimony isn’t true. To decide that what I say about myself is untrue, simply because you’ve only heard it from me is a logical fallacy. It might be reasonable to decide to investigate further, but to outright reject a claim simply because you’ve only heard it from one person about himself doesn’t make sense.
2) I know where I came from, but you don’t. You judge according to the flesh. (John 8:14-15)
Jesus knew he originally came from Bethlehem, the tiny village where Messiah was prophesied to come from. But the Pharisees’ research only went skin deep. They assumed Jesus came from Nazareth, the place where he had resided for most of his life. The Pharisees went with their assumption and didn’t take the time and energy to investigate. We know that they knew Bethlehem was the birthplace of Messiah. (see John 7:41-43) So had they made the effort to really take a close look at Jesus’ life, they would have realized he was born there, in Bethlehem, fulfilling the prophecy found in Micah chapter 5.
3) The other witness. (John 8:16-18)
Jesus points out that there’s another witness testifying about him: his Father. His Father’s testimony is seen in the miracles Jesus performs. His Father’s testimony is seen in the prophetic scriptures Jesus’ life and death fulfilled. (See the Jesus in the Old Testament series, parts 1-5) And his Father’s testimony was heard, audibly, at Jesus’ baptism when He said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Your Investigation Of Jesus
I’ve written about it before. I was like the Pharisees. I judged “according to the flesh.” My study of Jesus was only skin deep. Then I was challenged by an older, wiser, more godly man than myself, to study Jesus in a deeper way. To really study Jesus. When he said this to me I laughed to myself inside, after all, I’d been studying the Bible for thirty years. But out of respect for this godly man, and after realizing I had nothing to lose, I decided to dig deep.
And it was when I took a closer look at Jesus that my world was dramatically illuminated by the light of the world. It was then that the light of the world became the light of life. He lit up my life. I mean, things really changed. I was already impressed with Jesus but after looking at his life closely, in the gospels, really looking, it was then that I became overwhelmed with love for him. It was then that I wanted to live my life for him. It was also then that I realized more profoundly what a sinner I am, and how great He is. Since that closer look at Jesus, my life has never been the same, in the best possible way.
The same can happen in your life but I don’t want you to take my word for it. Look close, really close. Study Jesus with intentionality.
Study him closely, in the gospels, and see for yourself.
Study Jesus intently and he will light up your life too.
I promise, you’ll never be the same, in the best possible way.
[Image of Christ Accused by the Pharisees by Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308 via Wikimedia Commons]
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I would really like to do what you recommend and study the life of Jesus closely. Can you give me some pointers so that I will be effective in my study. How did you go about really studying the life of Christ?
I just very prayerfully went through the gospels from beginning to end. It helped me to write about Jesus too, but the main thing was to read, pray, read, pray, and repeat. I saw things about Jesus that I’d never seen before and learned things about Jesus’ words that I’d never noticed before. It really did change me. Peter, if you want to, you’re welcome to email me to talk about it further. It would be my privilege to help you in any way I can.
Thanks Kurt. I have actually started reading the gospels and I have come to the point where Jesus was asked by His mother to take care of the wine “issue”. Jesus says, “Woman, it is not yet my time.” However, Jesus performs the miracle anyways. Why would He do that when it is not yet His time? I have looked at commentaries and have not seen a good explanation. I am hoping you may have contemplated this story and have an answer. I have prayed on this story and have not gotten an answer yet. It has been several days and I have not moved progressed in my readings. Also, I am trying to really scrutinize everything I read, believing that everything in the Bible has a teaching purpose. Otherwise, it would not be in there. Thanks for offering to help through this process. By the way I really enjoyed the Traveler and the Chaplain. Peter
That is a great question Peter. I really like the way you’re approaching your study of Jesus by scrutinizing and believing everything has a teaching purpose. I approached it the same way. Specifically, I was looking for ways that I could become more conformed to the likeness of Christ. In this particular passage I saw how perfectly and beautifully Jesus obeyed Exodus 20:12. As usual, I was humbled and recognized my own shortcomings in this area, and I was inspired to change. That’s where God’s Spirit took me concerning this part of Jesus’ story. Thank you for asking and ask again anytime!