John 8:19-20 (NIV)
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 area near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come.
A subtle accusation against Jesus promoted these days as well as in Jesus’ own time, is that He was illegitimate. Rumors of His unorthodox conception had been whispered in Nazareth from the moment His mother, Mary, had returned visibly pregnant from her journey to see her cousin in the hill country of Judea (Luke 1:39-50).
Even though Joseph had been persuaded by the angel Gabriel that her pregnancy was legitimate, the result not of unfaithfulness but a miracle brought about by the Holy Spirit, and even though he had married Mary and raised Jesus as his own son, the people of the town had not completely bought into it. They were not told the miraculous nature of the pregnancy, so they drew their own conclusions.
Now these suspicions and accusations were being thrown back in Jesus’ face by the Pharisees and teachers of the law, who considered illegitimacy to be a complete disqualification for leadership, let alone for the Messiahship. This was the source of the taunt, “Where is your father?”
But Jesus was unfazed by the taunts and the insinuations that lay behind them. He knew where He had come from as well as He knew what His mission was. But these peopled, the faith leaders of God’s own people, would not be able to really hear or understand who Jesus Father truly was: God Himself. So instead, Jesus merely informed them that their question/accusation simply demonstrated their ignorance of who Jesus really was and where He had actually come from. And it demonstrated their ignorance of God, the God that they claimed to serve, and of what He is capable of doing. (Unfortunately, these leaders couldn’t hear the capitalization of the word “Father” as Jesus spoke, and wouldn’t have been able to understand its significance if they had.) To really know Jesus is to know God; and to really know God is to know Jesus. But, equally, ignorance of the one results in ignorance of the other.
Father, I have heard the accusation against Jesus that He had been born an illegitimate child. But those accusations have usually been made by people who refuse to accept the reality of miracles and who do not have a relationship with You through Jesus (or by those who have been falsely instructed by them). Help us, as those who DO know You, to make You truly known every day through our lives, our actions, and our words. Amen.