John 7:28-30 – Yeshua is the Sent One

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POSTED 05 NOVEMBER, 2017

“Then Yeshua cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, ‘You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me.’ So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.”

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume I

From time to time, supporters of a low Christology of Yeshua being a supernaturally exalted human, may quote the Messiah’s words of John 7:28a to make their point: “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from” (NIV). This is to imply that the Jewish people encountering Yeshua knew that He was a Galilean, and that perhaps they could never perceive of the Messiah as having anything other than terrestrial origins. As it is previously narrated,

“So some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill? Look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Messiah, do they? However, we know where this man is from; but whenever the Messiah may come, no one knows where He is from” (John 7:25-27).

From these statements, it can be gathered that there were some Jewish people present who regarded Yeshua to be the Messiah, there were some who thought His teachings and words to be compelling, and then there were those who were hostile to Him. Yeshua had previously pointed out how many were evaluating Him inappropriately, by saying, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Something more than mere human or mortal reasoning would be required in order to properly determine who Yeshua truly was.

The key statement of John 7:28, appearing in the source text is kame oidate kai oidate pothen eimi, “both me you know and you know from where I am” (Brown and Comfort),[1] which a version like HCSB has as, “You know Me and you know where I am from.” However, it has to be recognized that examiners have approached Yeshua’s statement from a variety of different angles, based on how some English versions have punctuated this statement:

  • “You know me, and you know where I come from?” (RSV/ESV).
  • “You know me? you know where I come from?” (Moffat New Testament).
  • “So you know me and know where I have come from?” (Phillips New Testament).
  • “Do you really know me and know where I am from?” (Good News Bible).
  • “Do you really think you know me and where I came from?” (Contemporary English Version).
  • “Indeed you do know me! And you know where I’m from!” (CJB/CJSB).
  • “You know both who I am and where I am from!” (TLV).
  • “You know me! You know where I come from!” (Kingdom New Testament).
  • “You know me and where I am from?” (Common English Bible).

Whether they be interrogative (?) or exclamatory (!), these renderings of John 7:28 all point to how the Messiah is probing His audience as to whether they really understand who He is, and indeed, where He truly is from. And, changing the punctuation of John 7:28 from the more standard, “You know me, and you know where I am from” (NRSV), is not necessary for one to textually deduce how Yeshua’s audience really does not know who He is and where He is from. Thinking that He has entirely terrestrial origins, as Yeshua is clear to tell His audience, “I have not come on My own, but the One who sent Me is true. You do not know Him, but I know Him because I am from Him and He sent Me” (John 7:28b-29, TLV). Yeshua’s true identity and origins are predicated on His being sent from the Father in Heaven.

It is useful to review a number of observations made by commentators on John 7:28:

  • F.F. Bruce: “Jesus gave a public answer as he continued to teach in the outer court ‘You know me and you know where I come from? You may think you do, but in fact you do not know. I did not come on my own initiative, I was sent by God. I have come from him who is altogether true, the very source of truth; and when I speak the words which he has given me to speak, I speak the truth.”[2]
  • Leon Morris: “He agrees that they know Him and that they know where He came from, but this is almost certainly ironical: ‘So you know me and my origin!’ While there is a sense in which this is true (they knew that He came from Nazareth), there is a more important sense in which it is not true (they did not know that He came from God and this is the important point). Jesus proceeds to enlighten them.”[3]
  • George R. Beasley-Murray: “‘You know me, and you know where I come from’ is an admission that the Jews are right, in so far as they know Jesus was reared in Nazareth, of the family of Joseph and Mary. But the further declaration, ‘I have not come of my own accord, but the one who sent me is true,’ specifies something that has not dawned on their horizon. Not only did Jesus not venture forth from Nazareth on his own volition; the starting point of his mission to Israel was elsewhere.”[4]
  • Colin G. Kruse: “In this declaration Jesus acknowledged the people’s problem when working from their assumptions, and said in effect, ‘You think you know me; you think you know where I come from, and therefore you think I cannot be the Messiah.’ They did not know Jesus had come from the Father.”[5]
  • Bruce Milne: “[H]e simply points out that though many may indeed be aware of his human origins, these do not in fact disclose his true origin. He has come from the Father who is true.”[6]
  • Craig S. Keener: “In 7:28 Jesus may speak on two levels: although his opponents do not know that Jesus is from ‘above,’ judging purely on the basis of appearance (7:24), they are correct concerning his earthly origin. Even their knowledge of his earthly origin may be partly incorrect, however…Conversely, Jesus may say ‘you know’ only in the sense that he had made the knowledge available to them (14:4). But whatever else they knew or did not know, tragically they did not know God (7:28). Jesus, by contrast, knew him, because (cf. 3:13; 6:46) God was where Jesus was really from, and Jesus was God’s agent or representative (7:29).”[7]

It is entirely inappropriate to quote John 7:28a, “You both know Me and know where I am from,” to claim an entirely terrestrial origin for the Messiah, when John 7:28b-29 speak to the Messiah’s origins as coming from the Father in Heaven: “and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me.” The audience who heard Yeshua knew that He was presenting Himself in terms of coming from a place greater than Planet Earth, and was claiming a knowledge and experience with the Heavenly Father that they did not, or could not, have. The hostile reaction of many to the words of Yeshua, bears ample testimony to how He was presenting Himself as having significant supernatural origins: “Then they were trying to seize Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come” (John 7:30, TLV).

Yeshua the Messiah is One who has been sent from the Father in Heaven (John 7:29). Our investigation as to who He truly is begins with this; our investigation as to who He truly is does not begin with approaching Him solely as a compelling teacher from Nazareth.


NOTES

[1] Brown and Comfort, 348.

[2] Bruce, John, 178.

[3] Morris, John, 413.

[4] Beasley-Murray, John, 111.

[5] Kruse, John, 188.

[6] Milne, 119.

[7] Keener, John, 719.

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