They said therefore to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me, nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also. — John 8:19, World English Bible version.
This scripture is sometimes cited as a proof that Jesus is Jehovah or that Jesus is a person of a triune God. Trinitarians often cite the scripture, but do not usually offer any explanation as to how it would mean that Jesus is a person of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Somehow, it is evidently being imagined and assumed that when Jesus said that if those disobedient Jews had known Jesus, they would have known his Father, that Jesus was claiming to be God Almigty. I have never yet seen any good explanation presented by any trinitarian as to how they are reading such into Jesus’ words; they usually simply refer to the text or quote Jesus’ words with the assumption that that their triune God dogma is there.
In reality, there is definitely nothing here that can be construed to mean that Jesus was declaring himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, nor a person of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. At most, one could imagine, assume and add to what Jesus said that Jesus was declaring himself to be his own Father (as many “oneness” believers claim), but trinitarians do not usually claim that Jesus is not his Father. Of course, the context shows that he was not claiming to be either God of Abraham, or that he was claiming to be his Father.
Jesus had just stated to those Jewish leaders: “I am he who testifies about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies about me.” (John 8:18) He later declared that he was sent by the only true God and in such excluded himself from being that only true God. (John 17:1,3) And he also stated: “I say the things which I have seen with my Father… But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God.” (John 8:38,40) And Jesus later stated: “The word which you hear isn’t mine, but the Father’s who sent me.” — John 14:24.
Jesus never claimed originality, either in the truth he spoke or in the principles he inculcated. No! Jesus was, is, and always will be, the representative of his God and Father. In John 10:36 we read that the Father “sent him into the world.” John 8:28 declares that what he heard of the Father, he spoke. And thus, we read in John 8:19 that Jesus so completely exemplified the Father’s characteristics that anyone who had known him had also known his God and Father. Jesus declared that he did nothing of himself, but as the Father taught him, he spoke those things.—John 8:28; 17:8.
This all agrees with the prophecy that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was to raise up a prophet like Moses, who would speak the words of Yahweh. — Exodus 3:14,15; Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Acts 3:13-26; Hebrews 1:1,2.
Rather than declaring himself to be “God”, Jesus stated that he was declaring that which he had heard “from God”. (John 8:40) It is because Jesus faithfully declared and represented his God in every way that he could say that if one knew him, they would also know his God and Father.
Seeing the Father in Jesus
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