John 8:55 MEANING

John 8:55
(55) Yet ye have not known him; but I know him.--The frequency of lip-assertion was not accompanied by any true heart-knowledge. The Father who glorified Him was the God whom they professed to serve. Their question, "Whom makest Thou Thyself? "has its explanation in the fact that this service was independent of any real knowledge of God. The two verbs "know" and "known" here do not represent the same Greek word. More exactly the rendering should be, And ye have not come to know Him: but I know Him. The one clause expresses acquired recognition; the other expresses immediate essential knowledge. (Comp. Note on John 14:7.)

If I should say, I know him not.--The thought of their want of perception of God has led to the assertion by contrast of His own full intuitive knowledge of God. To assert this knowledge is to make Himself greater than Abraham and the prophets; but there is untruth in silence as well as in utterance, and His very truthfulness demands the assertion.

But I know him, and keep his saying.--Or better, His word, as in John 8:51-52. Again the positive statement is made in the certainty of His full knowledge, and this is followed by a statement of the observance of the same condition of communion with the Father which He had made necessary for communion of the disciples with Himself.

Verse 55. - And (i.e. while you thus speak, and though you call him your God; cf. a similar use of καί, very nearly expressed, but not exactly, by the "yet" of the Authorized Version) ye have not come to know him by all the experiences through which you have passed (cf. John 7:29; John 17:25; and ver. 19). You do not know the only true God, you have not the knowledge which is life eternal. But I know him, absolutely, intuitively, by the open eye of clearest consciousness, with invincible and perfect assent. The use and contrast of the two verbs ἐγνώκατε and οϊδα, here and elsewhere, is very striking (see John 3:10; John 21:17). When our Lord, however, was broadly contrasting the Jewish knowledge of God with that of the Samaritans, and identifying himself with the Jews (John 4:22), he uses οϊδαμεν. If I should say that I know him not - which I do not and dare not say. Christ could not admit that his absolute knowledge was a delusion. The reality of the Father in his Divine-human consciousness, expressing itself through his human thought and word, was supreme, overmastering, sublime - I shall be, like you, a liar; I should deceive you wilfully, as you are deceiving yourselves. We cannot fail here again to observe the severity of Jesus as portrayed in this Gospel. (There is nothing surely here, or in other numerous utterances in this discourse, inconsistent with the Son of Thunder.) No cowardly modesty (Lange) is possible to him. He knows, and must speak. He cannot, dare not, be silent, or allow these bitter enemies, with their ready malice and perverse and continuous misinterpretation of his words, to be ignorant, either of the ground of his self-consciousness or his penetration of their flimsy excuses. So once more he adds, But I know him, and keep (τηρῶ) his word. He will not allow this Divine consciousness to be taken from him, even by the shame and agony of the cross (Lange).

8:54-59 Christ and all that are his, depend upon God for honour. Men may be able to dispute about God, yet may not know him. Such as know not God, and obey not the gospel of Christ, are put together, 2Th 1:8. All who rightly know anything of Christ, earnestly desire to know more of him. Those who discern the dawn of the light of the Sun of Righteousness, wish to see his rising. Before Abraham was, I AM. This speaks Abraham a creature, and our Lord the Creator; well, therefore, might he make himself greater than Abraham. I AM, is the name of God, Ex 3:14; it speaks his self-existence; he is the First and the Last, ever the same, Re 1:8. Thus he was not only before Abraham, but before all worlds, Pr 8:23; Joh 1:1. As Mediator, he was the appointed Messiah, long before Abraham; the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Re 13:8. The Lord Jesus was made of God Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption, to Adam, and Abel, and all that lived and died by faith in him, before Abraham. The Jews were about to stone Jesus for blasphemy, but he withdrew; by his miraculous power he passed through them unhurt. Let us stedfastly profess what we know and believe concerning God; and if heirs of Abraham's faith, we shall rejoice in looking forward to that day when the Saviour shall appear in glory, to the confusion of his enemies, and to complete the salvation of all who believe in him.Yet ye have not known him,.... Not as the Father of Christ, nor as in Christ, whom to know is life eternal: they had no spiritual knowledge of him, nor communion with him; nor did they know truly his mind and will, nor how to worship and serve him as they ought:

but I know him; his nature and perfections, being of the same nature, and having the same perfections with him; and his whole mind and will lying in his bosom: nor did, or does any know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom he is pleased to reveal him:

and if I should say, I know him not, I should be a liar like unto you. Our Lord still intimates, that they were of their father the devil, and imitated him not only as a murderer, but as a liar: this is quite contrary to the character they give of themselves, for they say (x), that an Israelite will not tell a lie.

But I know him, and keep his saying: do his will, and always the things that please him, observe his law, preach his Gospel, fulfil all righteousness, and work out the salvation of men, which were the will and work of his Father he came to do.

(x) Maimon. in Misn. Pesachim, c. 8. sect. 6.

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