|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:17-20 If we knew Christ better, we should know the Father better. Those become vain in their imaginations concerning God, who will not learn of Christ. Those who know not his glory and grace, know not the Father that sent him. The time of our departure out of the world, depends upon God. Our enemies cannot hasten it any sooner, nor can our friends delay it any longer, than the time appointed of the Father. Every true believer can look up and say with pleasure, My times are in thy hand, and better there than in my own. To all God's purposes there is a time.
Verse 18. - I am the (one) that bears witness concerning myself - I have said it, and abide by it, and I know what I say and how fully I am fulfilling these words - and the Father that sent me heareth witness concerning me. His words reflected his own Divine self-consciousness. They bore one witness to his unique position. They brought out the inner thoughts of Christ, and revealed the life that was light. The word, the speech, of Christ was a fire kindled which would never be extinguished - it was the formal utterance of the eternal reality but it did not stand alone. The Father that sent him, by a long chain of events and revelations, by miracles and mighty energies, by the conference of the spirit of conviction upon the minds that gave candid attention to his verbal testimony, by the providential concurrence of facts with prophetic anticipation, was bearing witness concerning him. The argument is sufficient, so soon as we admit the terms used by Jesus, so soon as we recognize the ideas of the Son of God and of the Father, both alike revealed in the Person of Christ. We can understand, and to some extent sympathize with, the perplexity of the Pharisees. Later experiences have made it easier for us to understand the testimony of the Father, the presence and witness of God over and above the testimony of men and coincident with it (cf. John 15:27; Hebrews 2:4). All great spiritual revivals have given ample proof of the twofold testimony (see 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 8:17, where Paul, the writer of the Epistle, shows himself familiar with this "Johannine" thought; cf. Hebrews 2:4).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I am one that bear witness of myself,.... As he does of his sonship, in 1 John 5:7.
And the Father that sent me, beareth witness of me; as he did, by the descent of the Spirit upon him at his baptism, and by a voice from heaven, both at that time, and at his transfiguration, and by the miracles which he wrought; and particularly he bore testimony of him, long before, in prophecy, that he was the light of the world he now said he was, Isaiah 42:6; so that here were two testifiers, his Father and himself; which show them to be two distinct divine persons, and equal to each other: and now if the testimony of two men is true, firm, and authentic, and to be depended upon and received, then much more the testimony of two divine persons; see 1 John 5:9.
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