posted on Aug, 20 2021 @ 05:02 PM
“Not to know me argues yourselves unknown”-
Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV, l830
Anyone who claims to speak for God must come from God, in one sense or another.
That is why the Jewish authorities, in John’s gospel, complained about Jesus;
“We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from” (ch9 v29).
They meant they had no awareness that he had come from God. They thought this gave them a reason for doubting that he had come from God.
The people of Jerusalem thought they DID know where Jesus came from, but that was because they were defining “come from” in other ways.
They said (ch7 v27) “Yet we know where this man comes from”. Here they were using “come from” in a purely geographical sense. They meant that
they knew he came from Galilee.
Then they added “When the Christ appears, no man will know where he comes from.” That is also true, as long as it is taken to mean “No man will
know that he has come from God”. The prediction was being fulfilled in the case of Jesus, because the general public, at least, did not understand
that he had come from God.
The people were setting the two statements against each other, and trying to use the apparent conflict as an argument against Jesus being the Christ.
But it was a false argument, based on understanding both statements in a geographical sense. They seem to think that the birthplace of the true Christ
would be unknown. Though another party, later in the chapter, points out the scripture indicating that Christ would be born in Bethlehem, which also
appears to conflict with “comes from Galilee”.
Jesus responds immediately with an observation which the RSV treats as a challenging question;
“You know me and you know where I come from?”
Then he explains what “come from” really means in reference to a Christ;
“But I have not come of my own accord; he who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, because I come from him, and he sent me.”
Jesus really had been sent by God just as Moses had been sent by God, and he spoke with at least as much authority. This theme is prominent in
“The Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me” (ch5 v37).
“For he whom God has sent utters the words of God” (ch3 v34).
“My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me” (ch7 v14).
“We must work the works of him who sent me” (ch9 v1).
But there is a much deeper sense in which Jesus had “come from God”, something which the people around him were not yet ready to understand.
He had “come from God” in the sense of having his origin from God. “He comes from Galilee” was only half the story.
As readers of the gospel, we know about this from the first chapter. We know that “the Word was with God” and “the Word became flesh and dwelt
We know from his words to Nicodemus (ch3 v13, v17) that the Son of man has “descended from heaven”, because “God sent the Son into the
Jesus means this deeper sense when he says to the people “I know whence I have come and whither I am going, but you do not know whence I come or
whither I am going” (ch8 v14). This is as close as he can get to telling them about the Incarnation and the Ascension.
In other words; “It is true that you do not know where I come from, but that is a judgement against you, not a judgement against me”.