John 8:14
Jesus replied, "Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is valid, because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I came from or where I am going.
Sermons
Excluded from the Destination of JesusD. Young John 8:1-23
Chest the Light of the WorldPhillips Brooks, D. D.John 8:12-20
Christ an Unsetting LightJohn 8:12-20
Following ChristJ. Vaughan, M. A.John 8:12-20
Following ChristJ. Vaughan, M. A.John 8:12-20
Following Christ the Path of LifeH. C. Trumbull, D. D.John 8:12-20
He that Followeth Me Shall not Walk in DarknessArchdeacon Watkins.John 8:12-20
Light Brings PowerC. Vines.John 8:12-20
Light for UsW. Hoyt, D. D.John 8:12-20
Light InterceptedH. C. Trumbull, D. D.John 8:12-20
Light the Emblem of GladnessC. Vines.John 8:12-20
Moderated LightJohn 8:12-20
Perpetual Daylight for the ChristianBrentius.John 8:12-20
Rays from the Sun of RighteousnessRichard Newton, D. D.John 8:12-20
Revelations of LightW. H. Van Doren, D. D.John 8:12-20
The Believer's Life is a WalkC. H. Spurgeon.John 8:12-20
The Connection of Christ's Discourse with the Previous Incident and the FeastR. Besser, D. D.John 8:12-20
The Effects of SunlightH. W. Beecher.John 8:12-20
The Force of the AllusionArchdeacon Patter.John 8:12-20
The IncidentC. Vince.John 8:12-20
The Light of LifeF. B. Meyer, B. A.John 8:12-20
The Light of the WorldBp. Ryle.John 8:12-20
The Light of the WorldHomilistJohn 8:12-20
The Light of the WorldT. Mirams.John 8:12-20
The Light of the WorldW. M. Taylor, D. D.John 8:12-20
The Light of the WorldA. Maclaren, D. D.John 8:12-20
The Light of the WorldW. Hawkins.John 8:12-20
The Light of the WorldNoah Porter, LL. D.John 8:12-20
The Light of the WorldE. Bersier, D. D.John 8:12-20
The Light of the WorldJ. M. Randall.John 8:12-20
The Light of the WorldA. McAuslane, D. D.John 8:12-20
The Relation of the Light of the World to the IncarnationI. Williams, B. D.John 8:12-20
The Safety of LightH. B. Hooker.John 8:12-20
The Saving and Health-Giving Influence of LightW. Birch.John 8:12-20
Walking in the LightClerical LibraryJohn 8:12-20
We Must Follow ChristJohn 8:12-20
We Must not Refuse the LightBp. Villiers.John 8:12-20
We Must Walk in the LightJohn 8:12-20
Christ's Witness to HimselfBp. Alexander.John 8:14-17
False JudgmentsDr. Guthrie.John 8:14-17
Judging After the Flesh is Often Altogether MisleadingJohn Bate.John 8:14-17
Judging by Appearances FallaciousE. H. Chapin, D. D.John 8:14-17
The Concurrent Judgment of the Father and the SonF. Godet, D. D.John 8:14-17
The Self-Evidencing Power of the Sun of RighteousnessJohn 8:14-17
The Witness of Christ as Seen in Some Contradictory Phenomena of His Life and CharacterLl. D. Bevan, D. D.John 8:14-17
Then Said They unto Him, Where is Thy Father?W. H. Van Doren, D. D.John 8:14-17
Ye Judge After the Flesh: I Judge no ManJ. Donne, D. D.John 8:14-17


Whether this figurative language was suggested by the morning sun, as it rose in the east over the crown of Olivet, or by the great lamps which were, during the Feast of Tabernacles, kindled in the temple court at evening, in either case its appropriateness and beauty are manifest.

I. THIS SIMILITUDE EXHIBITS THE GLORY AND POWER OF CHRIST IN HIS OWN NATURE. Light is a form of universal force, proceeding from the sun, the vast reservoir of power, and acting by the motion of the ethereal medium in wave-like vibrations. Artificial light is only the same force stored up in the earth, and liberated for purposes of illumination. The sun may therefore be regarded as, for us, the centre and source of all light. By its rays we know the glories and beauties of earth and sea; and to them we are indebted, not only for knowledge, but for much enjoyment and for many practical advantages. If, then, anything created and material can serve as an emblem of the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, this majestic luminary may well fulfil this purpose. He who first said, "Let there be light!" gave to mankind the great Sun of Righteousness who has arisen upon the world. None but the Divine Lord and Saviour of mankind could justly claim to be "the Light of the world."

II. THIS SIMILITUDE EXHIBITS THE BLESSINGS WHICH CHRIST BRINGS TO THE WORLD.

1. The world of humanity is in the darkness of ignorance, and the Lord Jesus brings to it heavenly knowledge. Christ is the true Light, instructing men who are very ignorant of God, of his designs of mercy, of the prospects of the future, and indeed of everything that is most important for man as a spiritual being to be acquainted with.

2. The world of humanity is in the darkness of sin, and the Lord Jesus brings to it the light of forgiveness and holiness. As when a dark dungeon is thrown open, so that the sunlight streams into it; so was it with the world when Christ came to the dark places of the earth, and irradiated them with his holy presence. They who sometime were darkness now became light in the Lord.

3. The world of humanity lay in the darkness of death; the Lord Jesus brought to it the light of life. Vitality is hindered by darkness, and is fostered by daylight; the plant which is pale and sickly in the cellar grows green and healthy when exposed to the sunshine. Mankind when in sin are liable to spiritual death. Christ introduces the principle of spiritual vitality, and they who partake of it, and pass from darkness into glorious light, bear in abundance the blossom of piety and the fruit of obedience.

4. The world of humanity is in darkness and danger; the Lord Jesus brings the light of safety. He is a Lamp to guide the searchers, a Lantern to light upon the path of safety, a Torch to those who explore the cavern, a Pharos to those who sail the stormy seas, a Harbour light to guide into the haven of peace, a Pole star to direct the wanderer's course, a Pillar of fire to light the nation's desert march. So our Saviour warns men of spiritual perils, directs their steps into spiritual safety, directs in circumstances of difficulty and perplexity, brings to eternal peace.

III. THE SIMILITUDE REMINDS US OF OUR DUTY WITH REFERENCE TO CHRIST.

1. To admire and adore the light. The old Persians worshipped the rising sun; Christians may well worship their glorious Lord.

2. To walk in the light. Let it be remembered that the sun shines in vain for those who conceal themselves from his beams; and that even to admire is not enough, if we fail to make use of the heavenly shining to guide our steps aright.

"Thou Sun of our day, thou Star of our night,
We walk by thy ray, we live in thy light;
Oh shine on us ever, kind, gracious, and wise,
And nowhere and never be hid from our eyes." T.









Though I bear record of Myself, yet My record is true.
The sun pours forth his beams so that it becomes bright day, and we question not his being the sun, because he bears witness of himself; and shall we say to the eternal Sun, who is shedding His light upon us, "Thou bearest record of Thyself, Thy record is not true?" Be that far from us! A light not only reveals other things, but itself also. Therefore the light bears witness of itself; the eye, if healthy, it brightens up and is its own witness that we may know it as being the light.

( Augustine.)

Consider what this witness is. If any of us know a holy man, we know a humble man. The holiest are the most conscious of their sinfulness. It is not a fashion of speech. It is not cant or hypocrisy. The writer who is perfectly satisfied with his lines is not a poet. The painters or sculptors who have no noble dissatisfaction with their work may be ingenious and dexterous, but they are not artists. They have none of that straining forward to an unattained ideal of beauty which is the heritage of genius. So, too, the man who is perfectly content with his own spiritual condition may have a mechanical regularity of habit. He may be a respectable Pharisee; but he is utterly without saintliness, which is, as it were, the genius of goodness. Now Jesus had the loftiest idea of duty. He was also the meekest and humblest of men. Yet in His life there is one fundamental difference from the lives of the saints. They are full of burning words of penitence; they are burdened with cries of confession. But we have long discourses of Jesus. We have one soliloquy with His Father in chap. John 17. Yet there is no confession of sin. He can bare His noble breast to His enemies, and say, "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?" He can go further: He can declare, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me." Farther yet — in those solemn moments when death is near; when moral natures, seemingly made of the strongest granite, crack and crumble before the fire of eternity — He can lift His calm and trustful eyes to heaven and say, "I have glorified Thee on the earth; I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do." And with this we know that His spiritual insight was so keen and piercing, that not one mote could have floated on the tide of his purity without being detected by that eagle eye; that one speck or stain could not have rested on the very skirts of the garment of His humanity without soiling in His sight the raiment that was white as snow. This holy Man, with the highest idea of duty; this humble Man, who prays falling upon His face; this keen-sighted Man, who sees further into sin than any other, declares that His life and the perfect rule of goodness are in unbroken harmony. What witness is comparable to this witness of Jesus to Himself?

(Bp. Alexander.)

Is this not in conflict with John 5:22, and with the whole tenor of the New Testament, viz., that Christ is the present and final Judge of all men? No. Christ was indeed Judge; but there were some manner of judgments which He never exercised, and had no commission to execute; for He did all His Father's will.

1. Christ usurps no man's jurisdiction; that were against justice.

2. Christ imputes no false things to any man; that were against charity.

3. Christ induces no man to desperation; that were against faith: and against justice, charity, and faith, Christ judges not. Christ, then, judgeth not —

I. IN SECULAR JUDGMENTS.

1. In civil matters (Luke 12:13).

2. In criminal matters (ver. 11). When Christ says this, may we not ask of His pretended vicar, "Who made you judge of kings that you should depose them? or proprietary of kingdoms that you should dispose of them?" If he says, Christ; did He it in His doctrine? If so, where? Did He do it by His example? Yes, when He whipped the traders out of the Temple and destroyed the herd of swine. But these were miracles; and though it might seem half a miracle that a bishop should exercise so much authority, yet when we see his means, massacres, assassinations, etc., we reply that miracles are without means.

II. BY CALUMNY, as did the Pharisees when they judged Him.

1. Calumny is —(1) Direct.

(a)To lay a false imputation.

(b)To aggravate a just imputation with unnecessary circumstances.

(c)To reveal a secret fault when not bound by duty.(2) Indirect.

(a)To deny expressly some good in another.

(b)To smother it in silence when our testimony is due.

(c)To diminish his good parts.

2. These Pharisees calumniated Jesus with the bitterest of all calumny — scorn and derision.

3. Since Christ, then, judges no man as they did, judge not you.(1) "Judge not, that ye be not judged" — i.e., when you see God's judgments fall upon a man, do not judge that he sinned more than others, or that his father sinned and not yours.(2) Especially speak not evil of the deaf that hear not (Leviticus 19:14) — i.e., calumniate not him who is absent and cannot defend himself. It is the devil's office to be the accuser of the brethren.(3) Always remember David's case, who judged more severely than the law admitted, which we do when in a passion. But Christ judges no man; for Christ is love, and love thinks no evil.

III. SO AS TO GIVE A FINAL CONDEMNATION HERE. There is a verdict against every man in the law, the consequence of which men might well despair; but before judgment, God would have every man saved by the application of the promises of the gospel (John 3:17). Do not, therefore, give malicious evidence against thyself; do not weaken the merit or lessen the value of the Saviour's blood, as though thy sin were greater than it. Can God desire thy blood now, when He hath abundantly satisfied His justice with the blood of His Son for thee?

(J. Donne, D. D.)

Were men to be guided by the appearance of things only in forming their judgment, how erroneous and deceptive it would be! The sun would be no more than a few miles distant and a few inches in diameter; the moon would be a span wide and half a mile away; the stars would be little sparks glistening in the atmosphere; the earth would be a plain, bounded by the horizon a few miles from us: the sun would travel and the earth stand still; nature would be dead in winter and only alive in summer: men would sometimes be women, and women men; truth would often be error, and error truth: honest men would be rogues, and rogues honest men; wealth would be poverty, and poverty wealth; piety would be wickedness, and wickedness piety. In fine, there is scarcely any rule so deceptive as the rule of appearance; and there are multitudes who, in many things, have no other rule by which they form their judgment. Hence the errors of their speech and life; ridicule and blunders into which they plunge themselves before the world.

(John Bate.)

If you go into a churchyard some snowy day, when the snow has been falling thick enough to cover every monument and tombstone, how beautiful and white does everything appear! But remove the snow, dig down beneath, and you find rottenness and putrefaction, "dead men's bones, and all uncleanness." How like that churchyard on such a day is the mere professor — fair outside; sinful, unholy within! The grass grows green upon the sides of a mountain that holds a volcano in its bowels.

(Dr. Guthrie.)

We are shallow judges of the happiness or misery of others, if we estimate it by any marks that distinguish them from ourselves; if, for instance, we say that because they have more money they are happier, or because they live more meagrely they are more wretched. For men are allied by much more than they differ. The rich man, rolling by in his chariot, and the beggar, shivering in his rags, are allied by much more than they differ. It is safer, therefore, to estimate our neighbour's real condition by what we find in our own lot, than by what we do not find there...Surely, you will not calculate any essential difference from mere appearances; for the light laughter that bubbles on the lip often mantles over brackish depths of sadness, and the serious look may be the sober veil that covers a Divine peace. You know that the bosom can ache beneath diamond brooches; and how many blithe hearts dance under coarse wool!

(E. H. Chapin, D. D.)

And if I Judge, My Judgment is true.
The Mosaic law required at least two or three witnesses to make a testimony valid (Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15). Jesus declared that He satisfied this rule because the Father united His testimony to that which He bore of Himself. Where the fleshly eye saw but one witness, there were in reality two. It is usual to refer this testimony to miracles, in accordance with John 5:36. But ver. 16 sets us on the road to a far more profound explanation. Jesus was here describing an inward fact, applicable both to the judgments He pronounced on others and the statements by which He testified to Himself. He was aware that the knowledge He possessed of His origin and mission was not based wholly on the fact of consciousness. He felt that it was in the light of God that He knew Himself. He knew, moreover, that the testimony by which He manifested His inward feeling bore, in the eyes of all who had a sense for the perception of Deity, the seal of this Divine attestation. An anecdote may perhaps better explain this. About 1660, Hedinger, chaplain to the Duke of Wurtemburg, took the liberty of censuring his sovereign — at first in private, but afterwards in public — for a serious fault. The latter, much enraged, sent for him and resolved to punish him. Hedinger, after seeking strength by prayer, repaired to the prince, the expression of his countenance betokening the peace of God and the feeling of His presence in his heart. The prince, after beholding him for a time, said, "Hedinger, why did you not come alone, as I commanded you?" "Pardon me, your highness, I am alone." The duke, persisting, with increasing agitation, Hedinger said, "Certainly, your highness, I came alone; but I cannot tell whether it has pleased God to send an angel with me." The duke dismissed him unharmed. The vital communion of this servant of God with his God was a sensible fact, even to one whom anger had exasperated.

(F. Godet, D. D.)

I am one that bear witness of Myself.
The conflict of Christianity is ever being narrowed to the question of the person of Christ. Unitarians have either abandoned their old positions and Christianity with them, or returned to views not easily distinguished from orthodox. Both friends and foes write lives of Jesus, and seek in that for proof of Lordship or evidence of delusion. Men have largely forsaken metaphysical arguments. "What think ye of Christ?" is the question of apologist and infidel. The issue here is vital. Victorious at this point all the rest is easy; defeated here the Christian Church expires. In this line of argument it is natural to ask what testimony Christ gives of Himself, and we propose to point out certain paradoxes and find their explanation.

I. THE PHENOMENA. A candid observer will notice in Jesus —

1. His sublime self-consciousness of Divinity, together with His ceaseless subjection to God.(1) Compare Him with all religious teachers, and we find Him dreaming no dreams, seeing no visions. We never hear Him saying, "Thus saith the Lord," but "I say unto you." He consoles His disciples. "Let not your hearts be troubled." Why. "Ye believe in God, believe also in Me." "Show us the Father," says one: the response is, "He that hath seen Me," etc. In discussion with Jews He says, "Abraham rejoiced to see My day" — wild words to scribe and Pharisee. "Thou art not yet fifty years old"; the rejoinder is, "Before Abraham was I am." There is an endeavour to explain away the simple meaning of all this. Much greater force will therefore be found in the indirect words of Christ. Take one, "If I go not away the Comforter will not come," etc. What must He claim who says He will send God's Spirit? and who must He believe Himself to be?(2) On the other hand, a young man asks, "Good Master, what good thing," etc. Jesus replies, "Why callest thou Me good," etc.? Although He said, "I and My Father are one," He also says, "The Father is greater than I." "I came not to do My own will." Nowhere does the contrast appear more distinctly than in that scene in the Temple, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business;" and then He meekly places His hand in His mother's and becomes "subject unto Joseph and Mary."

2. His pronounced self-assertion and His humility and self-abnegation.(1) He appeals to no authority but His own as the ground on which men should accept Him. When He propounded His law on the Mount, He contrasts His teaching with that of the ancient law, although Divinely given, with the words, "I say unto you." What a significant scene is that in which He upbraids the cities for their unbelief, and then hearken to the words which follow, "Come unto Me all ye that labour," etc. From His disciples He learns how men misunderstand Him; and how calm, resolute, inspiring, the words in which He replies to these misapprehensions, and rewards the confession of Peter. "On this rock I will build My Church," etc. Is this arrogance, egotism? It is the sublimest ever witnessed. If true, the noblest; if unfounded, the wildest and most vain.(2) But what a contrast. The child of a carpenter's wife; He is fitly born in the outhouse of an inn, and moved for thirty years amidst the humblest surroundings. When He came into public life His career opened to Him no affluence or dignity. "The foxes have holes," etc. His moral characteristics were in keeping with His circumstances. "I am Meek and lowly of heart." "He is led as a lamb to the slaughter," and prays for His murderers.

3. Infinite power combined with noteworthy weakness.(1) Mark the works of Jesus — how easily performed. "Let there be light," says God, "and there was light." He opens the windows of heaven and a race is overwhelmed. And thus Christ works. It is in a storm; the Master sleeps. The disciples cry, "We perish!" He rises, speaks, and there is a great calm. In His dealings with disease, a touch upon the eyelid pours daylight on the darkened orb. "Be clean," He says to the leper, and the loathsome disease is gone. Another word, and the man who had become a wild beast is sitting at His feet in his right mind. Here is no paraphernalia of the magician, or the exercise of delegated power.(2) In contrast with this is Christ's meekness. Take the supernatural out of His life, and what feebleness! He who can multiply the bread is familiar with hunger. "Give me to drink," He says to one to whom He gives living water. With His hand upon a universe He is as helpless as a child.

4. The complete absence of any sense of sinfulness or moral defect. The religious life of the leaders of human thought has been marked by a profound sense of personal unworthiness, but there is no trace of this in Jesus. "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?" asks Jesus of the ages. "I find no fault in Him," re-echo well nigh two millennia.

5. In these series of contrasts we have noted two contradictory qualities — infinity and limitation. The last scenes of His life exhibit these. Our Lord comforts His disciples. Calm and helpful, He promises them Divine strength. But see Him a few moments after in His agony. Where in all literature is an artistic contrast so striking? And this only the simple story of the unlettered, who tell the story as they knew it best. But what is this. An armed hand approaches, and at a word from Him they fall to the ground — yet He submits to be led away.

II. SOME OF THE EXPLANATIONS WHICH HAVE BEEN GIVEN.

1. That Christ is a natural product, the outgrowth of the ages; that all preceding generations gathered in Him, and produced the ideal man. But where in Judaea, Greece, or Rome, can be found the elements from which the nature of Christ could be compounded? And if one Christ could be produced why not others?

2. That Christ is a literary product, the ideal of an individual mind — the grandest triumph of human imagination, but altogether fictitious. But who was the romancer who must have been greater than His romance?

3. That Christ is a mythical product; that a remarkable individual did exist who founded a school, and after death was slowly changed by the loving regard of His followers into the heroic, and at last into the Divine. Granted that such a myth may have grown up in a century, how is it that we have the unique Divine nature of Jesus made the ground of a finished argument in the Epistle to the Romans, published within a generation from the time of Christ, by one whose life overlapped His?

4. The theory that Christ was a deceiver or deceived hardly merits notice. A knave ought to recognize that Christ was truthful, and a fool, would he open his eyes, might see that He was perfectly self-possessed.

III. THE THEORY WHICH ALONE SATISFIES ALL THE CONDITIONS OF THE CASE. In these phenomena —

1. We find evidence of a personality altogether unique. There are contrasts, but there is a unity about the Person, and a consistency in the life which make us feel confident of the truthfulness of the Bible record. All things fall into their place when we are taught that Christ is at once the Son of God and the Son of Man. He is Divine, and all the Divinity of His being is thus accounted for. He is human, and all the humanity of His lot is wholly explained.

2. The origin of this unique personality must be traced to God. The human race could produce no such being. Even were the ideal conception possible, which is doubtful, a person who had formed the idea could never have realized it. But with God all things are possible.

3. The purpose for which such a unique being was sent by God must have been to accomplish some special work.(1) A mere teacher or reformer might have been only man.(2) God would not have become man for His own sake. He can require nothing which He cannot supply.(3) Christ is evidently not the first of a new species, for He has no successor.(4) His mission therefore must have been for man, to establish some new, or modify some old relation between God and man. Such an object is declared by Scripture to have been sought by God and accomplished by Christ, and for this such a Personality as has been described was suited and designed.

(Ll. D. Bevan, D. D.)

The question indicates assumed ignorance of Christ's meaning, or a scornful fling at His ever imagining that God was His Father. How different to the child-like simplicity of Philip (John 14:8)! Their earthborn idea was, "If you are visible, can't we see something of your Father?" They ask about the Father, He replies as to Himself; and when asked about Himself He (vers. 25-27) replies concerning the Father. The primitive Christians were called atheists because they could not show their God. In every age the sneering challenge is repeated. At Orleans the Papists asked the Huguenots in the flames, "Where is now your God?" Mary Queen of Scots, having by French mercenaries forced Protestants into the bleak hills, cried, "Where is John Knox's God?" In Fotheringay Castle she had time to answer her own question.

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