The Father who sent me is with me. Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.”
“Where is your father?” they asked.
Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come. (John 8:16-18)
Relate: Look at this conversation:
Jesus: “I AM the Light of the World.”
The Pharisees: “You’re talking about yourself. That doesn’t count.”
Jesus: “My testimony is valid because I know who I am and where I’m going. But the Father also testifies about me.”
The Pharisees: “Oh really? Where is He?”
Jesus: “Since you don’t know me, you don’t know Him. But if you did learn of me, you would know the Father as well.”
Is it just me or does it sound a bit like Jesus is using circular reasoning? I guess you could say that it was except for the fact that three times the Father does testify about the Son. Three times He makes a statement about Jesus that anyone else around was able to hear. The first time was at the beginning of Jesus ministry. He was at the river getting baptized by John when Father God says, “This is my dearly loved Son who brings me great joy.” The second time was near the middle of His ministry. Jesus was on top of the mountain with three of His disciples when Father God says, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to Him.” Near the end of His ministry Jesus asks that the Father would be glorified. There in the city the Father responds by saying for all to hear, “I have glorified it and I will glorify it again.”
React: The times, locations, and audiences of each of these testimonies by the Father are hugely important, but as tempted as I am I will leave that rabbit trail alone. All I want to focus on here is the fact that the Father was more than willing to testify about the Son. He was just not about to do so because the Pharisees snapped their fingers demanding an answer. He wasn’t a trained puppy to bark at their command.
Jesus felt no urge to justify Himself to His critics. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that He didn’t care what they believed about Him. Jesus did long for everyone to believe and become followers, but He did not allow their criticism or demands to change His words or actions. He had a mission and a calling and that calling was not about to be derailed by petty arguments about legitimacy. I wish we could display that same level of focus and determination. All too often we find ourselves distracted by critics both “loving” and “hostile”. The loving critics are the ones may or might not have good intentions. They just want us to move away from what God has called us to do so that we might fit into the mold of what they think we should be doing. The hostile critics, well, they just want to take us down any way they can. Both are distractions and time wasters. We need to take a lesson from Jesus and let the Father be the one who speaks in our defense.
God, let me play only for You. Let me live and work only for Your glory. It is so easy to find myself caught up trying to do my own reputation management. It is so easy to get caught up trying to defend myself before my critics. It is so easy to find myself going down rabbit trails that lead me further and further away from the path You have laid out for me. Forgive me for the times I have done so in the past. Keep me alert to the times I am about to get distracted into doing so in the future. I want to sing only for You. I want to write only of You. I want to listen only to You. You are my everything. My reputation doesn’t matter. Let me strive only for Your glory.