Knowing Where Jesus Went: 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!

Part way through Jesus ministry, some Pharisees got together and challenged Him about making claims about Himself that appeared to be invalid, because no one else had validated them. When responding to this challenge, Jesus opens by making a startling statement. To begin His response, Jesus tells the Pharisees, “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.” (v. 14)

Before answering their challenge, Jesus first acknowledges He does make some startling claims, but this is because they don’t know who Jesus’ Source of knowledge is. The point Jesus is making is that just because they don’t agree with His claim doesn’t make the claim any less true.

Jesus counterchallenges these leaders by making the point that they really don’t know what they are talking about because they don’t know where Jesus is really from or where He is going. However, Jesus does know where He came from and where He is heading – and this detail is crucial for us to have faith in Him.

The reason this is important is because Jesus is the only one who can take us to heaven. While there are plenty of worldviews that claim to have the knowledge about how to get to heaven, none of them can compare with the offer Jesus has given to us. With all the other claims about religions leading to heaven, Christianity is the only one where everything has already been done for us. With other worldviews, the focus is on what we have to do; Christianity’s focus is on what Jesus has done for us.

In this passage, Jesus tells us that the religious leaders are clueless regarding Him, which shouldn’t surprise us if we read the gospels with the goal of learning about Jesus. But just because the most religious people in the first century didn’t understand Jesus, we can trust Jesus knew what He was talking about. Jesus knew He came from heaven and He knows how to take us back with Him.

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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