Discrediting Jesus: John 8:12-20

Focus Passage: John 8:12-20 (NCV)

12 Later, Jesus talked to the people again, saying, “I am the light of the world. The person who follows me will never live in darkness but will have the light that gives life.”

13 The Pharisees said to Jesus, “When you talk about yourself, you are the only one to say these things are true. We cannot accept what you say.”

14 Jesus answered, “Yes, I am saying these things about myself, but they are true. I know where I came from and where I am going. But you don’t know where I came from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards. I am not judging anyone. 16 But when I do judge, I judge truthfully, because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. 17 Your own law says that when two witnesses say the same thing, you must accept what they say. 18 I am one of the witnesses who speaks about myself, and the Father who sent me is the other witness.”

19 They asked, “Where is your father?”

   Jesus answered, “You don’t know me or my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father, too.” 20 Jesus said these things while he was teaching in the Temple, near where the money is kept. But no one arrested him, because the right time for him had not yet come.

Read John 8:12-20 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

In this journal entry, we look at Jesus responding to an accusation that the Pharisees bring towards Him. In the scope of all the accusations the Pharisees bring, this may be the most practical one, but also the one that shows them to be the most blind to the evidence.

In this passage, the Pharisees try to discredit Jesus’ ministry by saying that He is only speaking for Himself, and that they cannot accept His testimony, because there is not a second witness. This is a valid argument, but first we must ignore and/or discredit the other evidence.

Prior to this event, John the Baptist has publically declared that Jesus was the Messiah they should follow. Also, the miraculous events surrounding Jesus’ birth and early childhood serve as a more than credible second witness. These are two easy examples of a second witness that would need to be ignored in order to make this “one witness” accusation.

However, Jesus chooses instead to focus on the clearest second witness: The Father (and to a lesser extent, The Holy Spirit). Two times before this event, God the Father had spoken directly to the people to confirm Jesus as His Son: First at the Baptism (Mark 1:9-11 / Matthew 3:13-17 / Luke 3:21-22), and secondly at the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-13 / Matthew 17:1-13 / Luke 9:28-36). This is two direct times where The Father acts as a second witness. The Holy Spirit supported Jesus’ ministry through the countless miracles that Jesus performed.

However, Jesus counters their argument by saying that He did not come to judge them, even if they are judging Him. Too often we pick shallow arguments in order to discredit following Jesus in our own life today, but that is not Jesus’ issue, it is ours.

Jesus will be the Judge in the future, but now, He seeks to draw us to God through His testimony, the testimony of the Father, the testimony of eye-witness accounts who lived in the first century, and the testimony of thousands of believers who have lived and died during the last 2,000 years.

It is not enough to believe that Jesus existed. Instead we must believe in Jesus, which means placing our faith, hope, and trust in Him. He had the required number of witnesses – and more. Are we going to accept His testimony?

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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