Let's start off today by looking at verses 13 -20 of the passage:
So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am 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 is written that the testimony of two men is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
Remember what we said on Monday, about the Pharisees kinda knowing what the truth was about Jesus, but not wanting to believe it, or to accept it? We have another clue here in this passage that some of them fit that description -- we can see that the Pharisees are not arguing with Jesus about what He is saying. Instead, they are disputing His testimony on a technicality!
They were really good at finding technicalities and legal issues. They LOVED doing that, and they loved arguing, too. But they were finding out, slowly but surely, that when they tried to use these technicalities with Jesus, they never really seemed to work. So their feathers got ruffled. But that didn't stop them from trying.
They told Him that His words were not valid, because He was bearing witness of Himself. We recall that in the Law, for a thing to be indisputable, you had to have two witnesses, right? So the Pharisees pounced and said, "Your testimony has no weight! It has no worth, legally!"
But wait a minute! Hold on here, partner . . . were the Pharisees and Jesus standing in court?
Their skepticism does not invalidate Jesus' claim.
Let's look at some intangibles: We know what heat is, right? Does heat explain itself, or identify itself? Nope, it just warms things. We know what light is, right? Does light establish itself, or explain itself by talking? Or arguing? Well, no. It shines. That's all. And we know it's light because it is shining. The only people who can't see light are blind people . . .
Jesus has established His identity by shining. He even says, "I am the light." But the Pharisees can't see it. It's like they are blind, and reaching out to grasp something that isn't there -- and then declaring there's no light. They are coming from a place of weakness, and their objections have no worth, no validity. They are demonstrating that they have no knowledge of God. They are so sure of themselves; they think that they are the authorities, and that they are qualified to judge Him. But what they fail to see, is that Jesus is the One that has the authority and is qualified to judge them.
Jesus is well aware of His origin (where He came from) and His destiny (where He was going), and because His relationship with the Father is secure, He is speaking the truth for all to hear.
All of these assaults and accusations mean nothing to Him; they do not bother Him for He knows Who He is, and He knows the Father sent Him and remains with Him. The Pharisees see Him standing there and they believe He is alone; He's a solitary figure in the temple.
Don't they learn? Don't they look back on events after they happen? Here was Jesus teaching at the temple. In the "inner sanctum" of the temple there were whispers, plots and plans on how to kill Him, and remove the threat to their authority. But have they been able to lay a hand on Him yet?
Nope. He slips away through crowds, and vanishes before they can say, "Tabernacle". They wanted to grab Him, and they were willing to do so, but they couldn't. We know why, right? The Father was frustrating their efforts, restraining them from being effective in their plans. "His hour had not yet come."
Let's look now at verses 21-24:
So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”Jesus tells them that they will be separated from Him. When they finally understand, it's going to be too late. They are wasting the opportunities that the Father has given them by arguing, accusing, and opposing Him instead of trusting in Him.
Have you ever known someone who used a lot of sarcasm? Someone who hid their insecurity and their confusion by using sarcastic remarks? That seems to be what the Jewish leaders were doing here in these verses. They were probably hoping that their sarcastic comment was right, and that He was talking about suicide. Why? Well, two reasons: one is that they wouldn't have to worry about Him bothering them anymore, and they wouldn't have to trouble themselves with doing away with Him! Two, they believed that the lowest, worst place in hell was reserved for those who took their own lives. So they could agree with Jesus -- yep, we're not following Him there! These leaders were so full of pride that they didn't even think about death. They were so sure, so certain that they were good and decent people, and God just wouldn't think of sending them anywhere except the most wonderful part of heaven, right?
But Jesus is exposing their most fundamental problem: sin. They, as everyone else, are sinners, and they are going to die in sin. They couldn't recognize that they were in bondage to sin. And if they didn't repent of their sins, they were headed for disaster. They would die with their sins unforgiven.
Jesus is really laying it on the line, here, isn't He? He is speaking forthrightly -- today we'd say He was brutally honest with His listeners. We'll study the last portion of this passage tomorrow. I hope you'll join us!