Try to Keep Up, Okay?

The Pharisees don't like having to struggle.

John 8:12–20

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.”

Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”

Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?”

Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”

These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.

The Pharisees are scrambling to find a counter-argument to Jesus and His claims. Their first argument in this passage appears reasonable. “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.” They’re not saying He’s lying; they’re saying that you can’t be your own witness. In a sense, they’re right. You can’t.

But their argument is faulty because Jesus isn’t bearing witness to a claim; He’s making a claim. Of course, you make your own claims. Words aren’t what bear witness to His claims anyway; actions are.

So, Jesus just plays with them. They think Jesus is from Galilee. In fact, they’re sure about this; they know His father and He’s a Galilean. They also think this somehow disproves all of Jesus’s claims.

Jesus just riffs on this. Jesus isn’t from Galilee and Joseph isn’t Jesus’s dad.

Everything Jesus says is true, and these guys can’t understand a word of it.

You’d expect this to infuriate the Pharisees. It does, though we get confirmation of that in a curious way.

These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.

So, someone must have wanted to lay hands on him. That confirms their reaction.

As always, this fits perfectly into Jesus’s plan to get crucified. He’s ticking off the Pharisees more and more, all the while broadcasting the essential truths that will make perfect sense after He’s risen.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.