John 8:14
Jesus answered and said to them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know from where I came, and where I go; but you cannot tell from where I come, and where I go.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true.—For “record” read in each instance witness, as in John 8:13. The pronoun is emphatic. “Even if I do bear witness of Myself, yet My witness is true.” He had before quoted their law of evidence (John 5:31), and showed that He fulfilled its canons. He is about to show this again (John 8:17-18), but He claims first that in reality the law cannot apply to Him. They claim a human proof of that which transcends human knowledge. They claim the evidence of a witness, to a truth for which there could not possibly be a human witness.

For I know whence I came, and whither I go.—The requirement of two witnesses was based on the imperfection of individual knowledge, and the untrustworthiness of individual veracity. His evidence, as that of One who knew every circumstance affecting that of which He testified, was valid, for the perfection of His knowledge implied that He was divine. He and He only of all who have appeared in human form, knew the origin and issue of His life; He and He only knew the Father’s home from which He came, and to which He was about to return. For the same words, “I go,” or, I go away, as applied to His voluntary death, comp. John 7:33.

But ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.—The Greek word for “cannot tell” is the same as that for “know” in the previous clause. For “and” most of the better MSS. read or. Making these corrections we have, But ye know not whence I come, or whither I go. The change of tense is to be noted. Speaking of His own knowledge, He refers to the Incarnation in the historic past, “I came.” Speaking of their continued ignorance, He refers to the coming as continuing in the present. Every renewed act and word was a coming to them from God. (See John 3:31.) He knew, in the fulness of knowledge, the whence of past coming and the whither of future going. They knew neither the one nor the other. They do not even know His present mission. Once again His present teaching takes up words uttered before. They had said, “When the Christ cometh no man knoweth whence He is” (John 7:27). He has, then, fulfilled their test. He had said, “Ye both know Me, and do know whence I am” (John 7:28); but that knowledge was of the earthly life only, and He now speaks to them of heaven.

8:12-16 Christ is the Light of the world. God is light, and Christ is the image of the invisible God. One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a dark dungeon would the world be without the sun! So would it be without Jesus, by whom light came into the world. Those who follow Christ shall not walk in darkness. They shall not be left without the truths which are necessary to keep them from destroying error, and the directions in the way of duty, necessary to keep them from condemning sin.Jesus answered ... - To this objection Jesus replied by saying, first, that the case was such that his testimony alone ought to be received; and, secondly, that he had the evidence given him by his Father. Though, in common life, in courts, and in mere human transactions, it was true that a man ought not to give evidence in his own case, yet in this instance, such was the nature of the case that his word was worthy to be believed.

My record - My evidence, my testimony.

Is true - Is worthy to be believed.

For I know whence I came ...but ye ... - I know by what authority I act; I know by whom I am sent, and what commands were given me; but you cannot determine this, for you do not know these unless I bear witness of them to you. We are to remember that Jesus came not of himself John 6:38; that he came not to do his own will, but the will of his Father. He came as a witness of those things which he had seen and known John 3:11, and no man could judge of those things for no man had seen them. As he came from heaven; as he knew his Father's will; as he had seen the eternal world, and known the counsels of his Father, so his testimony was worthy of confidence. As they had not seen and known these things, they were not qualified to judge. An ambassador from a foreign court knows the will and purposes of the sovereign who sent him, and is competent to bear witness of it. The court to which he is sent has no way of judging but by his testimony, and he is therefore competent to testify in the case. All that can be demanded is that he give his credentials that he is appointed, and this Jesus had done both by the nature of his doctrine and his miracles.

14. for I know whence I came, and whither I go, &c.—(See on [1805]Joh 7:28). There is a seeming difficulty to reconcile the words of our Saviour, John 5:31, If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true, and his assertion here,

Though I bear record of myself, my record is true: but the resolution of it is clear by considering that he speaks in the former chapter of his own single testimony with respect to them, as not of sufficient validity to authorize his Divine vocation, according to the rule of their law, that required a double testimony for confirmation of things; but here he speaks of the verity of it in itself.

For I know whence I came, and whither I go; that is, I know from whom I have received my commission, (though secret to the world), even from the Father: and yet, after the accomplishing of my embassy for his honour, I shall return to heaven, and be glorified with the glory I had with him before the world was, John 17:5. The reason alleged implies his being the Son of God; and his Father’s entire approbation of his office, and fidelity in the discharge of it; and the concurrent testimony of the Father with him: therefore his record was authentic and true. But they did not believe his mission from heaven, nor that he was to ascend thither, and accordingly did not value his testimony. Jesus answered and said unto them,.... In vindication of himself, and his testimony:

though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true; which seems contradictory to what he says, in John 5:31, and may be reconciled thus; there he speaks of himself as man, and in the opinion of the Jews, who took him to be a mere man; and also as alone, and separate from his Father, as the context shows; therefore his single testimony, and especially concerning himself, could not be admitted as authentic among men; but here he speaks of himself as a divine person, and in conjunction with his Father, with whom he was equal; and therefore his testimony ought to be looked upon, and received as firm and good, giving this as a reason for it:

for I know whence I came, and whither I go; that he was truly the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father, and had his mission and commission from him into this world; and which, as he knew himself, he was able to make known, and make appear to others, by his credentials, the doctrines taught, and the miracles wrought by him; which proved him to be what he said he was, the light of the world; and he knew that when he had done his work he came about, he should go to his God and Father, and take his place at his right hand:

but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go; they took him to be the son of Joseph, and that he came out of Galilee; in which they were mistaken; and when he talked of going away, they did not understand him, nor know whither he was going; they ask if he was going to the dispersed among the Gentiles, to teach them? and at another time, whether he would kill himself? they knew not, that through a train of sufferings and death, he must, and would enter into his glory: the Persic version inserts another clause without any foundation; "but ye know not from whence ye come, and whither ye go", and then follows the former; there might be a truth in this, they did not know their true original, that they were from beneath; nor whither they were going, to what dismal abode, when they expected to enter, and enjoy the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus answered and said unto them, {b} Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.

(b) That which he denied before in Joh 5:31 must be understood as Christ granting their position in a way, for in that place he talked of himself somewhat in line with the opinions of his hearers, who acknowledged nothing in Christ but his humanity, and therefore he was content they should not regard his own witness, unless it were otherwise confirmed. But in this place he stands and affirms Godhead, and praises his Father, who is his witness, and agrees with him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 8:14. Jesus replies: κἂνὑπάγω, “even if I witness of Myself, My witness is true”. The difference between καὶ εἰ and εἰ καί is clearly stated by Hermann on Viger, 822; Klotz on Devarius, 519; and is for the most part observed in N.T. On the law regulating testimony, which was meant merely for courts of law, see John 8:31. The expressed ἐγώ indicates that He is an exception to the rule; the reason being because He knows whence He comes and whither He goes, ὅτι οἶδαὑπάγω. He knows His origin and His destiny. He knows Himself, and therefore the rule mentioned has no application to Him.—πόθεν ἦλθον cannot of course be restricted to His earthly origin. He knows He is from God, so ὑπάγω refers to His going to God. Cf. John 13:3. Moreover, He is compelled to witness to Himself, because ὑμεῖς οὐκ οἴδατεὑπάγω. He alone knew the nature of His mission, yet it behoves to be known by all men; therefore He must declare Himself. They would no doubt have replied, as formerly, John 7:27, Mark 6:3, that they did know whence He was. Therefore He reminds them that they judge by appearances only: ὑμεῖς κατὰ τὴν σάρκα κρίνετε. They had constituted themselves His judges, and they decided against Him, because “according to the flesh” He was born in Galilee, John 7:52. “For my part,” He says, “I judge (condemn) no one”; ἐγὼ οὐ κρίνω οὐδένα. As if He said, “I confine myself (John 8:16) to witnessing, and do not sit in judgment,” cf. John 3:17. “But even if I do judge (as my very appearance among you results in judgment, John 3:18-19, John 5:22) my judgment is true; there is no fear of its being merely superficial or prejudiced, because I am not alone, but I am inseparably united to the Father who sent me.” Cf. John 5:30, “as I hear I judge”. In Pirqe Aboth, iv. 12, R. Ishmael is cited: “He used to say, judge not alone, for none may judge alone save One”.14. Though I bear record] Better, even if I bear witness. God can testify respecting Himself, and there are truths to which He alone can testify. Yet He condescends to conform to the standard of human testimony, and adds to His witness the words and works of His incarnate Son; who in like manner can bear witness of Himself, being supported by the witness of the Father (John 8:16).

and whither I go] i.e. by Death and Ascension.

but ye cannot tell] Better, But ye know not. They knew neither of these points respecting themselves; how should they know it respecting Him? Man knows not either the origin or the issue of his life. ‘Ye’ is emphatic.

whence I came, and whither I go] For ‘and’ read or with the best MSS. Note the change from ‘came,’ which refers to the Incarnation, His having once come from the Father, to ‘come,’ which refers to His perpetual presence with mankind. Note also the balanced parallelism of the verse and comp. John 8:35; John 8:38, John 7:6.John 8:14. Κἄν, even though) He does not speak conditionally, but affirms, that He bears witness of Himself, John 8:18, “I am one that bear witness of Myself.” After that He has taught them many things, He demands of His hearers, what He had not before so demanded.[219]—οἷδα, I know) It is from sure and confirmed knowledge that true testimony proceeds.—πόθεν, ποῦ, whence, and whither) The doctrine concerning Christ can be reduced to these two heads. The former head is treated of at John 8:16, etc., “If I judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent Me;—the testimony of two—is true;” the latter head is treated of at John 8:21, etc., “I go My way, and ye shall seek Me,” etc.—ὑμεῖς, ye) It is with you the fault rests, that you do not attain to perceiving the truth of My testimony. “What you need is, that I should tell you, what no one of mortals can tell you.—ἔρχομαι, I come) To be distinguished from the preceding ἦλθον, I came. By the expression, I came, Jesus signifies, that He always knew; by the expression, I come, He signifies, that the Jews not even now know.

[219] Viz., that they should believe Him, though bearing witness of Himself.—E. and T.Verse 14. - Jesus answered and said to them, Even if I bear witness concerning myself - in case I bear testimony, I, being who and what I am, and surrounded by Divine attestations, charged with a consciousness of a whole army and legion of approving witnesses, and, above all, with the Father's own testimony to me - my witness is true - I satisfy in superlative fashion your own demand and also my own conceded test - because I know - οϊδα, with clear undisturbed self-consciousness I know, absolutely, invincibly, with perfect possession of the past and future - whence I came, and whither I am going. The whole of our Christian verities turn upon the consciousness by Jesus of that which lay before and after that human life of his. He embraced the two eternities in his inward self-consciousness. That "whence" and that "whither," with all their infinite sublimity and solemnity, give adequate evidence and sufficient weight to his personal claim to be the Light of the world, because he is the temporary Embodiment of the eternal life which was with the Father, but is manifest to men (cf. 1 John 1:4). But ye know not whence I come - am ever coming forth to you with Divine judgment and calls of mercy - nor whither I am going. "Neither the one nor the other;" not that Christ had not repeatedly told them in various and most expressive form. They could neither grasp the origin of his Personality, nor the method in which, as Messiah, through suffering, through an equation of his lot with man's (through the form of a slave and the death of a cross), he was doing the Father's will (cf. notes, John 7:27, 28; John 9:29). Though (κἂν)

Literally, even if.

I know (οἷδα)

With a clear inward consciousness. See on John 2:24.

Whence I came and whither Igo

Two essential facts of testimony, viz., origin and destiny. "The question was one about His own personal consciousness, of which only Himself could bear witness" (Lange). "If the sun or the day could speak, and should say: 'I am the sun!' and it were replied, 'No, thou mayest be the night, for thou bearest witness of thyself!' how would that sound? Argue it away if thou canst" ("Berlenburg Bible," cited by Stier, "Words of the Lord Jesus").

And whither Igo

The best texts read, ἢ, or.

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