Jesus and Judging

Middlesex Guildhall Edit

The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.” Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone.” (John 8:13-18)

Read: 2 Kings 8:23 – 10:31, 2 Chronicles 21:8 – 22:9

Relate: Today I am looking at two different verses in scripture. In each one Jesus is the person doing the talking.  In John 5 He says,

And [The Father] has given [Jesus] authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man... I judge as God tells me.

But here in John 8 Jesus says,

You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone.

React: Here is my question: If the Father has given Jesus the authority to judge everyone and Jesus does use that authority, how can He later say He doesn’t judge anyone?

One time before a while back I chose not to explain a potentially complicated concept but instead throw it open for discussion. I did it then when looking at Paul’s talk about women and head coverings (Men Women Authority and Hair) Now I will do it again today. I feel that I have an answer I could give for the question I proposed but sometimes the best answer isn’t found listening to one person speaking (or writing) but rather by engaging in conversation. Wisdom can be found when the community grapples together on an issue. I know for a fact that the community here includes both an amazing amount of intelligence and an incredible amount of diversity. I know many of you will have ideas, angles, and answers I would have never have thought on my own. So lets hear them. If the Father has given Jesus the authority to judge everyone and Jesus does use that authority, how can He later say He doesn’t judge anyone?

Respond: 

Comments are required. Even (especially) from you lurkers. Thanks much. You guys and ladies are all the best.

 

 

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30 thoughts on “Jesus and Judging

  1. I’m assuming that God gave Jesus the right to judge but He does not judge as the world judges. That is the difference. This is purely my thoughts, probably not correct but its the only way I make sense of it.

  2. The ESV study Bible addresses this very well…

    “When Jesus says, “I judge no one,” he means that during his earthly ministry he did not come as judge of the world but as its Savior (see 3:17; 12:47). However, Jesus’ coming does itself provide a basis for division and thus “judgment” in another sense (see 3:19; 9:39), and at a later time Jesus will come to judge the entire world (see 5:22, 27, 29; 12:48). In yet another sense, where “judge” means “rightly evaluate,” Jesus does judge events and people throughout his earthly ministry (see 5:30; 7:24; 8:16, 26).”

  3. BJ–I’m going out on a limb here as an English educator. It would appear that the statement is an “ellipsis” or elliptical sentence–meaning the end was omitted. If completed, it might read, “…I judge no one by human standards.”

  4. Someone brought me the phrase (unless my memory us iffy): I speak of what is in the bible, I do not speak of what is not in the bible:

    On that basis: I judge as God tells me + I do not judge anyone = God does not judge

  5. Thank you for addressing this, I have wondered about the same things. Maybe because Jesus uses the present tense he means that he didn’t judge anyone while he was alive, but that he judges during the time of judgment. So maybe it is a matter of timing. But that is confusing because God is not subject to time like us.
    Don’t listen to me, I’m a woman (covers head) 🙂

  6. Maybe Jesus was more interested in loving people than judging people.Repeatedly throughout the Bible He is in the company of those who are judged as unworthy in society yet He spoke with them, ate with them and loved them, Through His love, not condemnation Jesus drew people unto Himself and they were transformed by His presence and desired to change.

    Maybe God the Father is the ultimate Judge but thankfully Jesus, our Savior is our lawyer. The intercession of Jesus gives us grace enough that we are not sentenced to the maximum penalty on “Judgement Day” We would all be found guilty, yet through Jesus our sentence is overturned.

    There are many intricacies in the Bible I will never understand and I’m okay with that. I don’t think the human brain is adequate enough to absorb all there is to know about God. I don’t feel like I have to know all the answers. Great question though, you made my brain hurt!

    • Id rather come to know our dear savior, first a big bro for all of us, in turn he decides when to give defence and help us when we need it the most than all the time wanting help. Big sisters and bro does that all the time, to love someone is to be more unconditional, but when you judge someone. That is the real power of assuming the best of intentions.

    • It’s more about timing. Jesus will one day come and Judge the world (the second coming. But while Jesus was on the earth (the first coming), he came to seek and save the lost. Two comings, the first for “grace and truth” (John 1) and the second for judgment and victory.

  7. I don’t have the scriptures on this off the top of my head. But, While God says “judge not lest ye be judged” ; He also tells us to “test the spirits”…meaning flesh vs the Holy Spirit and WHO we listen to. In one hand Jesus says not to anger, in another with the money changers his temper erupted over the way they pharisees desecrated the church with evil, calling them “hypocrites”. He says, what you quoted, about not judging? Well in Rev. 3:15-16 We will ALL be judged, the saved AND unsaved…and with this, I’m a firm believer along with Hagee, that we can loose our salvation, when he says; 3:15-16 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot..I would rather you were cold or hot…So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (vomit) you out of MY mouth,,” (*There us no prospect of repentance here on the part of the church..In fact, there is DIVINE REJECTION…and a loss of salvation..)* Expositors Study Bible. So therefore, I have always, deemed the Lord to be a God of balance, law (Roman’s 8), Justice, grace and mercy…A balance in all things, unless we as in Rev. do our own thing, thinking we are saved and can push it. Oh no we can’t. He sees all.

  8. Impressive BJ, not all of us are humble or honest enough to admit when we do not have all the answers.
    Equally commendable is the seeking of further enlightenment. We can hope that people may share some insight, but the true teacher of the wonders of God will always be the blessed Holy Spirit. So let us pray that He is pleased to guide us all into the Truth!
    What is judgement if it is not an examining of the relation of one thing to another. As Christians, we pause to examine beforehand our adjustment to God the Father. Jesus Christ, as the Sacraficial Lamb, was made a crucial part in the overall picture of our race. In both texts Jesus points up out of the trappings of shallow ideals and up into the lofty realms of the workings of God. In this there is no contradiction at all
    We may look forward to the day when we can sit at His feet and hear in detail all the intricacies involved. But for now, we know authority has been given, whether or not He is exercising His right or not. All creation we know will one day have to find its correct relation to the Father through the Son.
    If we cannot find a satifactory answer, hope is not lost. We can draw closer to the One who IS the answer. If we manage to wrap ourselves sufficiently in Him, for sure His knowledge will cover us as does His righteousness.
    Enjoy your searchings my friend

    • Scott:
      Indeed! I like what you said: “What is judgement if it is not an examining of the relation of one thing to another. As Christians, we pause to examine beforehand our adjustment to God the Father. Jesus Christ, as the Sacraficial Lamb, was made a crucial part in the overall picture of our race. In both texts Jesus points up out of the trappings of shallow ideals and up into the lofty realms of the workings of God. In this there is no contradiction at all
      We may look forward to the day when we can sit at His feet and hear in detail all the intricacies involved. But for now, we know authority has been given, whether or not He is exercising His right or not.”

      Very good ~Zoey

  9. I think there is a difference between judging and showing discernment. We are always instructed to discern; that’s how we stay out of trouble and avoid situation and people that can bring trouble into our lives. And I think we’ve completely misunderstood what “judging” means. We think that if we say something is wrong, we’re judging. Hardly. If we say someone is wrong to do what they did, we are judging..The problem occurs when we take those evaluations and treat people in an unloving way. Jesus was able to judge and love at the same time.

    As far as Jesus judging, we are talking about a perfect person. Perfect people operate on a different plane than the rest of us.I agree with one of the comments that Jesus judges differently than we can.

  10. Unfortunately, the English language really sucks sometimes when it comes to Bible translation, which is why it is so important to go deeper and look at other resources such as Strong’s Concordance, Vine’s Expository Dictionary, and other study materials.
    Take a look at John 5:22 in the Geneva study Bible – For the Father (g)judgeth (h)no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
    (g) This word “judgeth” is taken by the figure of speech synecdoche to represent all governing.
    (h) These words are not to be taken as though they simply denied that God governed the world, but rather they deny that he governed as the Jews imagined it, who separate the Father from the Son, whereas indeed, the Father does not govern the world, but only in the person of his Son, being made manifest in the flesh: so he says in John 5:30, that he came not to do his own will: that his doctrine is not his own.
    In Vine’s, judgement in this verse is translated from the Greek “krisis,” meaning tribunal. This suggests that Jesus and the Father are acting in tribunal, or as one unit. So, even though Jesus has the authority to judge, He will not do so without the Father.

    John 8:15 – “You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.” (NKJV), has a very different meaning when looked at in different versions. If you look at the 1599 Geneva Bible version, it provides the rest of the meaning of the verse, “I do now only teach you, I condemn no man: but yet if I list to do it, I might lawfully do it, for I am not alone, but my Father is with me.” Again, this is suggesting a tribunal between Father and Son concerning judgement. In this passage, I believe that Jesus is trying to show the Pharisees that their ways of looking at someone and forming an opinion based on what they see is NOT how Jesus forms His opinion of someone (thank God!)

    Judgement is coming, there is no doubt about that, and Jesus will be the judge; but in the meantime, He gave us His life as the ultimate sacrifice and His blood to cover any judgement in the coming tribunal and continues to teach us and love us.

    • Yes! Thank you for this explanation, gypsi! There is a difference between judging to discern and judging to render a verdict, which speaks to the idea of a tribunal, as you pointed out. The Pharisees had rendered the verdict that Jesus was lying (bearing false witness) and, therefore, condemned Him, unrighteously so, because they did it not according to knowledge. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn it, but that the world might be saved through Him.

  11. If being judged mean, condemned for/because of sin, then it makes a lot more sense to me: The Father judges no one gives all authority to the son who doesn’t judge either.. Mankind want a god who judges, God is revealing He will never condemn someone for sin, simly because He was made sin for us and crucified to take it with him into the grave!

    • God will judge. This is a central message of the Gospel. Jesus said “Unless you repent you will likewise perish.” He was handing down his judgment.

      Jesus has said that he doesn’t judge (first comig) but on the last day (second coming) he will judge those who do not receive his words.

      Joh 12:47 “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”

  12. I’ve always thought that when he says, “I don’t judge.” He means that it isn’t on his own authority, but his Father’s. Someone may have said this, but as a lurker I was required to join the discussion. 🙂

  13. “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
    The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”
    (John 12:47-48)

    Verse one describes his first coming; salvation not judgment.

    Verse 2 describes his second coming – where he judges -too late for those who did not repent!

    You know how Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”? Well in Revelation people are fleeing “from the wrath of the Lamb”

  14. I see this as a direct response to the Pharisee. Jesus knew that their hardened hearts would not see the truth because they were set on persecution. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is gentleness. Gentleness is being confident in your position/conviction and not feeling the need to be abrasive with your position. ‘He knows where He came from and where He is going’ shows His position and His refusal to judge even though He was given the right. This is Christ’s example of His wisdom and gentleness through the Holy Spirit which He left to be written on each of our hearts.

  15. Ive read these really great comments and they are awesome … when I read the original post I think of when God was going to allow the Israelites to rule themselves but they insisted on a King and ended up with Saul. They wanted a human leader instead of God and for some reason that makes me think they preferred human judgement over Gods. It angered Him. He keeps trying to give us Heavenly judgement but we wont accept it unless it comes from somebody else.

  16. In John 5 He said, “I judge as God tells me.” So perhaps in John 8 He meant “I do not judge anyone apart from my Father.”

    I confess I didn’t read the comments yet and I apologize if someone already put this forth.

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