54 Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. 55 Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
Jesus’ response to the abusive language of the Jews toward Him was calm.
“If I honor [glorify] Myself, My honor is nothing.
Jesus did not promote Himself. The glory of a pretender is empty. He had no reason to boast before these religious leaders. However, to the contrary, Jesus had a basis for His offer of eternal life (Jn 8:51). His Father would uphold His claim.
It is My Father who honors Me,
It is the Father who would vindicate Jesus. God continuously honors or glorifies Jesus (present participle). This is the One from whom Jesus wanted esteem. Jesus’ identity was evident by what He did.
of whom you say that He is your God.
The Jews claimed God as their own, but it was their God who glorified Jesus constantly.
Yet you have not known Him,
The Jews had a mechanical relationship to God; they did not know Him personally or spiritually.
but I know Him.
The term “known” in the previous clause means to know by perception. The word in this clause “know” conveys the idea of to know instinctively. Jesus came to communicate His personal relationship with the Father. The religious leaders did not have a personal relationship with the Father, although He fully revealed Himself to them. Jesus, however, knew the Father intuitively and directly (He was in the presence of the Father for all eternity). Jesus knew the Father inherently and intuitively.
And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’
Jesus here offered a hypothesis that He did not know the Father or the Father’s plan.
I shall be a liar like you;
If Jesus were silent about what He knew, He would betray the truth of what He knew. Religious leaders were liars because they claimed to know God but they did not. He called them liars to their faces.
but I do know Him and keep His word.
Jesus knew the Father both intuitively and by experience. He kept the Father’s word or plan for Him. The Father honored Him by the works He gave Jesus to do.
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day,
The physical father of the Jews (Abraham) looked forward to see the coming of the Messiah. His attitude was completely different than the Jews’. He was extremely joyous at the coming of the Messiah into the world.
and he saw it and was glad.”
The Jews’ pride was unwarranted. Abraham had an entirely different attitude about the coming of Christ than they had. He eagerly anticipated Jesus’ day.
There is irony in the idea that the Jews displayed no understanding of the Father’s commitment to His Son while their father Abraham did (Jn 5:37f).
We should allow others to sing our praise.
God promised to give a son to Abraham, who was full of joy when Isaac came. The promise and realization of that promise was a point of great joy. However, the promise to Abraham was greater than His single son Isaac. God promised to give an entire nation whereby all the families of the earth would be blessed. Abraham was the father of the Messiah (Ge 15:4-6; 17:1-8; Mt 1:1). Abraham gloried in what God was doing.
Self-praise or self-glory independent of God means nothing. Jesus submitted Himself to the Father in an absolute way. He allowed the Father to glorify Him. He did not look to people to give Him glory.