15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me.
You judge according to the flesh;
The word “judge” carries the idea of a well-informed decision. The Pharisees’ conclusions about who Jesus was were superficial.
“According to the flesh” means according to the norm of the flesh in the Greek. The Pharisees judged by human standards. They were limited to finite criteria to make their determinations. Finiteness cannot possibly grasp infiniteness. Jesus in effect judged their restricted capacity to judge.
I judge no one.
“You” and “I” are set in stark contrast in this verse. “No one” is an emphatic double negative. Jesus unquestionably did not make determinations from human viewpoint; His evaluation was from divine viewpoint.
This phrase means that Jesus did not judge from a finite perspective. He did not judge the way the Pharisees did. His judgment came from His eternal presence with the Father; He was the conveyor of the Father’s judgment in His humanity. He pronounced judgments from the Father. The contrast is between judging and witnessing what the Father said.
Jesus came to make judgments in the world (Jn 9:39). However, He did not practice the kind of judgment that the Pharisees did. Jesus contrasted His judging with the Pharisees’. Jesus made no judgment independent of the Father.
And yet if I do judge,
When Jesus did judge, He did it one with the Father as God Himself. His was a very different kind of judgment than the Pharisees’. Their judgment was “according to the flesh”; that is, from a strictly human viewpoint. His judgment was from divine viewpoint, not human viewpoint.
My judgment is true [authentic];
Jesus’ judgment was not based on finite limitation but on divine viewpoint; that is why it was authentic. His judgment was therefore fully competent; He penetrated all facts so He could pronounce the right judgment. He was one with the Father (Jn 10:30). That is why His judgment would be proved to be right.
As God, Christ’s witness was true. He had the right to testify about Himself.
for I am not alone,
Jesus had someone who was omniscient who could vouch for Him, the Father. His judgment was authentic because His was a joint-judgment, a judgment of both Jesus and the Father. Jesus acted as the Father’s agent or representative in His humanity.
but I am with the Father who sent Me.
Jesus’ unique relationship with the Father allowed Him to speak from the Father’s viewpoint. The Father had positioned Jesus in a place to judge by the very purpose of His coming. His judgment was part of the Father’s judgment.
As Jesus represented the Father by revelation, so He would represent the Father by judging. He did what He did by divine authority. Christ’s judgment was exactingly sound when He judged from His deity.
No human witness can authenticate a divine relationship.
When it comes to God, there is no witness outside Himself to which we can appeal. He is absolute, eternal, and infinite. No finiteness has the capacity to grasp infinite dimensions. No finite witness can authenticate a divine relationship; that can come only by God’s initiative and revelation (1 Co 1:21; 2:14; 2 Co 5:16).
All certainty rests on who and what God is. It fixes on a point of reference beyond self. Archimedes, who sought a place to stand in the universe, said that if he could find a place to stand, he could “move the earth” with a lever.
We need a place of certainty to stand, a point of reference beyond the self. Pou sto is the Greek term for “a place to stand.” Only God can provide that ultimate perspective for where to stand on certainty; the place that Jesus referenced was His deity. As God He had eternal viewpoint, making His knowledge absolute. Man’s knowledge is fragmented and limited. That is why we cannot come to truth by the self.
God’s knowledge is coextensive with all that there is. There is no brute fact with Him. There is no ultimate certainty without God disclosing Himself.
For a study on how we can know what we know (epistemology) go to http://versebyversecommentary.com/articles/doctrine/biblical-epistemology/
As well, my book Certainty, a Place to Stand deals extensively with this.