Summary: In John 8, Jesus claims a relationship and union with God that His enemies could not. Jesus knows (oida, “to know inherently or intuitively”) the Father, but they did not know (ginōskō, “to come to know by experience or observation”) Him.
Text: John 8:51-59
At this point in the gospel of John, the dialogue between Jesus and his Jewish audience took a decidedly angry turn. Since they had no answer for his clear diagnosis of their spiritual sickness, Jesus’ audience reacted with a verbal attack against him. They charged him with two of the most offensive terms at their disposal: “Samaritan” and “demon-possessed.” Name-calling usually indicates that a person or group has run out of intelligent comments. Up until this point, Jesus’ opponents reserved one final accusation against him: blasphemy. But as Jesus responded to their angry tirade he finally led them to realize the full extent of his claims. He used the “I am” phrase in 8:58 to state his unequivocal claim to divinity. He left no more room for debate. The crowd took up the stones to carry out judgment for blasphemy, but Jesus removed himself from that place. He would choose the time and place for final confrontation.
In verse 55 Jesus states that the reason they would not accept Him was that they did not truly know the Father.
“He is our God” was the basic confession of the covenant in the Old Testament (e.g., Exodus 6:7; Leviticus 26:12; 1 Chronicles 17:22; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:28); those loyal to the covenant, those who truly keep God’s law, were said in the Old Testament to “know” God (e.g., Jeremiah 9:24; 31:31-34; Hosea 2:20).
8:55. In the deepest intimacy Jesus has a relationship and union with God but His enemies did not. Jesus knows (oida, “to know inherently or intuitively”) the Father, but they did not know (ginōskō, “to come to know by experience or observation”) Him.
I. Know God by His Creation
A. Who is not amazed when they look up at the stars?
Psalms 19:1 ( NASB ) The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard.
1. God has created a universe that carries His 'signature'. We can see this signature in the wonderful order of creation.
a. We might think that the evidence in creation is not so persuasive these days.
Perhaps we are all here because of the Big Bang, or a long process of blind chance?
2. But in recent years scientists have been surprised to discover many unexpected ways that the universe is 'just right' for us to live in.
a. For example, if the forces inside the nucleus of atoms were slightly different, either there would be no hydrogen atoms at all or else the universe would be nothing but hydrogen atoms. Either way, you and I would not be here.
If the electromagnetic forces inside atoms were just a tiny fraction different, the various kinds of atoms needed for life could not exist, and our lives would be impossible.
If the speed of light was either slightly more, or slightly less than it is ... well - you get the idea.
One author lists more than twenty such remarkable 'coincidences' in the way the universe is made. The chance of all these things being 'just right' for us is much less than the chance of the same person winning the lottery not just once, but ten times in a row.
3. Scientists call this the 'anthropic principle', and they are struggling to know what to make of this.
a. With all that scientists are discovering, surely it would take more faith to be an atheist than to believe that the universe was designed by a powerful, wise, and loving God?
Of course, scientists have tried to come up with other explanations of the anthropic principle. The Bible says:
Romans 1:20 ( NASB ) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
This is as true today as it ever has been - in some ways, with the discovery of the anthropic principle, it is more true now than ever before. So the first way that we have to know God is the creation itself - a universe that carries God's signature - a universe 'just right' for us to live in.
II. Know God by His Word
A. God gave us His word so that we might know Him
1. 2 Timothy 3:16 ( NASB ) All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
a. The entire Bible is inspired, “God-breathed”. Over 40 Authors spread over more than 1500 years wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)