John 8:38-47 – Yeshua’s Origins Are From God



“‘I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.’ They answered and said to Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Yeshua said to them, ‘If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.’ They said to Him, ‘We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.’ Yeshua said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.’”

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume I

In previous discussion, Yeshua spoke to His followers—which were notably indeed “those Jews who had believed Him” (John 8:31a)—about the need for abiding in His word and His truth (John 8:31b-32). Obviously as He was speaking to His followers, there were detractors nearby, as the Messiah would explain the difference between those in slavery to sin (John 8:33-34), and how a child of God has a different status than such a slave (John 8:35). Yeshua forthrightly declares, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36), as belief in Him will reckon men and women free from the condemnation and guilt of sin. Yeshua recognizes how many present regarded themselves as being of the seed or offspring of Abraham, and thus inherently free, yet they seek to kill Him (John 8:37)—surely something that is not becoming of those who regard themselves as demonstrating the faith example of the Patriarch.

The statements which follow in John 8:38-47, mainly have Yeshua comparing and contrasting the character and motives of His detractors—presumably among the Jewish religious leadership—and Himself. Yeshua is one who is “from God” (John 8:40, 42, 47); Yeshua’s opponents, thinking that they are children of Abraham (John 8:39), are actually out to serve themselves, and are in reality children of the Devil (John 8:44). While the discussion of John 8:38-47 mainly involves the motives of Yeshua versus those of His opponents, there are some statements which appear, which do beg some questions about the nature of the Messiah.

The sentence, “I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father” (John 8:38, RSV), is something which definitely begs a closer look. Here, you have Yeshua contrasting His experience of what He has seen with His Heavenly Father, ha egō heōraka para tō patri lalō, “the things I have seen with the Father I speak” (Brown and Comfort)—to the actions of the opponents, kai humeis oun ēkousate para tou patros poieiete, “and you therefore the things you heard from the (your) father you do” (Brown and Comfort).[1] As is witnessed in the slight extrapolation of the NIV, “I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence,” there are interpreters who have taken John 8:38a as reflective of Yeshua’s pre-existence. Bruce comments,

“Jesus’ claim to speak the things which he had ‘seen’ in the Father’s presence (verse 38) echoes his language in John 6:46: ‘he who comes from God, he has seen the Father’. The truth which he teaches is heavenly truth, although it is presented for acceptance by men and women on earth. But no one can speak of heavenly realities except one who has come down from heaven and imparts to his hearers on earth what he has seen and heard in that transcendent realm (cf. John 3:11-13).”[2]

A second remark in this dialogue, necessary to probe regarding the nature of the Messiah, appears in John 8:42, which is mainly intended to highlight how His opponents—who think they were serving God—were really not: “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me” (RSV). Yeshua’s origins are stated in the source text as egō gar ek tou Theou exēlthon, “for~I from – God came forth” (Brown and Comfort). Rather than being a child of fornication (John 8:41), Yeshua’s origins are from God. Morris describes, “He came out from God,” also stating “the tense points to a moment of time, the incarnation.”[3] That Yeshua is not out only for His own self-serving interests—in stark contrast to any of the gods, goddesses, or other supernatural entities which would come down from the Heavens to the Earth—is clear from the dialogue transcribed with kai ēkō oude gar ap’ emautou elēlutha, all’ ekeinos me apesteilen, “and I come for~not from myself I have come but that one sent~me” (Brown and Comfort).[4] Once again, our investigation into the nature of Yeshua, particularly as seen in the Gospel of John, is to widely involve what it means for Him to be sent to Earth from the Heavenly Father.


[1] Brown and Comfort, 354.

[2] Bruce, John, 198.

[3] Morris, John, 462.

[4] Brown and Comfort, 354.