Jesus Knows God - Letters to the Prison
From the series - Letters to the Prison
Hello, everyone. We miss you. We continue to pray that we will be able to come and worship our great God and Savior with you in person soon. Gratefully, we are assured that those who choose to do so may worship God “in Spirit and in truth” wherever they are (John 4:23-24). Jesus assures us also that “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). Friends, even if you are alone (or feel alone), let this encourage you: John 14:15-20 makes it plain that even a single person praising and worshipping God by themselves is not alone. God is with you. Worship Him in Spirit and in truth and pray for encouragement. You might be surprised by how He answers you! Maybe He just did!
We’re examining John’s Gospel in view of the question: “is Jesus who he says he is?” Last week, we saw a hostile group of so-called “believers” ask Jesus quite bluntly (and angrily) “who do you make yourself out to be?” (John 8:53). This would be the modern equivalent of asking someone, “who do you think you are??” It is not a curious inquiry, but rather a hostile rhetorical question on the heels of Jesus’ shocking assertion that “if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death” (John 8:51). What Jesus is about to say about himself in response is nothing short of astounding. Jesus answers in three ways… each more shocking than the next. First, he says:
- “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ -John 8:54
Jesus asserts that the God his accusers claim to know is his Father and that God the Father glorifies Jesus. This is the same God of the Old Testament who says, “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other” (Isaiah 42:8). This is also the same God whose entire purpose in all things is to be glorified (Psalm 46:10). God is worthy of all glory (Revelation 4:11). So, Jesus is claiming at once to be equal with God and worthy of all glory… and that God gives all glory to him… yet nevertheless seeks not his own glory, but the glory of God the Father (John 12:28). This is a profound, mind-blowing claim by Jesus to be God… yet distinct from God the Father in a way that can only be explained by the unique relationship known as the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. One member glorifies the other, yet all three are uniquely and exclusively worthy of all glory, honor, and praise.
As if that’s not enough of a stunner, Jesus is just getting started. Look what he says next to the people who claim to “know God:”
- But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. -John 8:55
There’s nothing mysterious about these words. No deep hidden meaning. No heavy philosophical model or heady metaphor to consider. They are simple words, and their meaning is clear: Jesus knows God. His accusers don’t. They are liars who don’t keep God’s word. Jesus is telling the truth and keeps God’s word. We should just sit with what Jesus is saying here for a while and consider all that it clearly implies. Given that the group of people Jesus is addressing at the moment consists of highly respected Jewish leaders who supposedly know God and keep his word better than anyone else, what Jesus says in John 8:55 is nothing short of a scathing and brutal accusation by a man claiming to be God himself. And Jesus is not done. We’ll continue to examine what Jesus says about himself here next week. We love you!