When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
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.
Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”
This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”
But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”
“Who are you?” they asked.
“Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Even as he spoke, many believed in him. (NIV)
Does Jesus contradict himself?
Very well, then, he contradicts himself. (He has loaves and fishes, he feeds multitudes.)
2 thoughts on “Trolling the Pharisees (like a boss)”
So does Jesus contradict himself or not? And, if so, why?
He quite unambiguously states, “I judge no man.”
But then goes on to say, “And yet if I judge, my judgment is true …” Then a few verses later he says, “I have many things to say and to judge of you.” Does this mean that he judges no man now, but will judge all men later? Or that he has already judged some men but has self-imposed an embargo on releasing said judgements?
It’s pretty clear from verses elsewhere in the Gospels that Jesus judges, e.g., John 10:30 and Matthew 25:31-46.
Something got lost in transmission and/or translation. That’s the easy resolution. But the apparent contradiction remains as an insuperable problem for inerrantists (“Bible-believers” as they like to call themselves) and the doctrine of sola scriptura.
As always, I ask WWJCS (What would John Chrysostom say):
The conversation is in the context of whether Jesus is just some dude, or whether He really has divine authority. As a man, and even by Himself as a person of the Godhead, He judges no-one. He can only judge in Trinity, because He has the authority of the Father as His Son. Likewise, the Father does not judge by Himself either (John 5:22). It’s a deep mystery of Trinitarian theology that is best seen as a paradox rather than a contradiction.