In this running dialog Jesus has with the Pharisees, he invites them to truly know him and, through him, to know the Father.
John 8:13-20 — An Outstretched Hand — Aneel Aranha
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel with Aneel Aranha. Today we will reflect on John 8:13-20. Listen.
The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”
Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”
Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”
“You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.
In this running dialog between Jesus and the Pharisees, the Pharisees, ever the skeptics, challenge Jesus, trying to trap him in a legal loophole. They argue that his testimony about himself isn't valid. But Jesus, always a step ahead, isn't confined by their narrow viewpoint. He responds, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going." It's as if he's saying, "I see the bigger picture; do you?"
Then, Jesus drops a line that might seem puzzling. He says: "I pass judgment on no one." Wait a minute! Isn't Jesus the ultimate judge? The Scriptures are loaded with references reminding us that a day will come when Jesus will judge all (see (Acts 17:31; 10:42; 5:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1).
But here's the twist: in this particular moment with the Pharisees (and in our lives today), Jesus' primary mission isn't to condemn but to save. He's like a doctor who diagnoses our ailment, not to blame us for being sick, but to offer a cure. As he says himself at one point, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:31-32).
The Pharisees, with their legalistic lenses, miss this entirely. They're stuck on credentials and validation. But Jesus is offering them —and us— something far more profound: he is offering a relationship. "If you knew me, you would know my Father also," he says. It's an open invitation, not just to understand him, but to truly know him and, through him, to know the Father.
So, what can we take away from this? Maybe it's to remember that while Jesus sees our flaws, he's not here to point fingers. He's here to extend a hand, to guide us from darkness to light, and to introduce us to the love of the Father. In a world quick to judge, Jesus offers a refreshing alternative: grace, understanding, and salvation.
Let us grip that outstretched hand and journey together with him into eternal life.
God bless you.