19 Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.” 20 These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.
The argument that Jesus made in the previous verses did not satisfy the Pharisees. They continued to argue from a finite perspective.
Then they said to Him,
The Pharisees asked Jesus to produce evidence for who His Father was.
“Where is Your Father?”
The asking of this question demonstrated that the Pharisees were estranged from the Father. They thought only in terms of a human father. Their question carried the air of disdain. Jesus’ teaching fell on deaf ears.
Jesus’ response to the Pharisees was to evaluate their judgment.
“You know neither Me nor My Father.
The Pharisees did not truly know Christ or His Father. Jesus’ opponents were incapable of understanding eternal truth because they operated in the sphere of purely human viewpoint.
Jesus’ Father was inaccessible to the Pharisees. It is only possible to know the Father through someone who was eternally with the Father. It is exclusively through the Son that the we can know the Father (Jn 1:18). That was Jesus’ point in His claim that He was “the light of the world.” Where knowledge of Jesus as the light is lacking, so knowledge of the Father is absent.
If you had known Me,
If Jesus’ enemies had come to Christ personally, they would have known the broader reality of what He was all about. Coming to Jesus is the way to know the Father.
The “if” in the Greek is contrary to the fact. “If, and it is not true, you had known Me . . .”
you would have known My Father also.”
If the Pharisees had known Jesus, they would have known the truth of who His Father was. If they had known the Father, they would have known what Jesus said was true. This statement concludes the argument over witnesses. The argument was finished as far as Jesus was concerned.
These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple;
The “treasury” was next to the Court of the Women in the temple complex. There were 13 trumpet-shaped collection boxes located there to place donations.
and no one laid hands on Him,
The Pharisees wanted to arrest Jesus, but they could not do it at this time even though He was in a very public place.
for His hour had not yet come.
No one could arrest Jesus, because He worked on the Father’s time schedule.
To reject Jesus is to put oneself out of reach of the Father.
There is no need to present the human being with the option to decide what only One from eternity can make. Man cannot come to eternal viewpoint from human viewpoint. Everyone is under God’s initiative to reveal Himself.
There is a division of philosophy that deals with how we know what we know (epistemology). That is the question before us in John 8. Finite human beings can never come to infinite truth. There is no point in presenting people with the option to begin with the self (solipsism). The reason there is so much skepticism in the world today is that man has given up the possibility of coming to truth. He rests now in a state of total skepticism. Skepticism is now the norm for evaluation of truth. Jesus said, “You know neither . . . had you known . . .” The people of Jesus’ day could not come to truth because of the limitation of their capacity to come to truth, and the same is true in our day.
For a formal summary of epistemology, go to http://versebyversecommentary.com/articles/doctrine/biblical-epistemology/
For a detailed study of this subject, my book Certainty, a Place to Stand deals with it.