"You do not know me or my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” (John 8:19)
Why don't they know God?Jesus is responding to a question by the institutional temple Pharisees:
“Where is your father?” (John 8:19)Jesus responds that they do not know the Supreme Being. While they wore the robes and had the official titles and official positions in the temple organizational hierarchy, Jesus was clear with them: Despite their titles and positions, they did not know the Supreme Being.
We must now ask: How could they be the high priests and teachers of Jewish law and not know the Supreme Being? How could they have gotten those positions of priests if they didn't know God?
The answer to this lies within the processes many religious institutions use to select their teachers. An ecclesiastical religious organization is not governed and authorized by the Supreme Being. An ecclesiastical religious organization is governed by councils of men (and/or women), and thus they are only authorized by men (and/or women).
They are thus no different from political organizations. Should a person come with recommendations (know someone), follow the various rituals, and act in a manner pleasing to the members of these councils, that person can become elected by the council to their position as teacher. This is called politics.
Therefore teachers of ecclesiastical institutions are not chosen by God and thus do not represent the Supreme Being. They represent those councils that elected them. They also remain, in some manner, subject to the continued approval of that council.
This is seen in many of today's sectarian institutions. Whether the position is pope, cardinal, bishop, priest, minister, reverend, rabbi, imam, or another title, an elected teacher can only represent those who chose them. When a council of men appoints or elects a teacher, that teacher cannot represent God. They are by default representing that council. This applies to councils of cardinals, rabbinical councils, deacons, and other types of councils.
This is the very same situation that Jesus faced with these chief priests. They were elected officials, not representatives of God. They did not know God, evidenced by the fact that they could not see that Jesus was God's representative.
What can they teach, then, if they were not authorized by the Supreme Being? Were the chief priests who challenged Jesus teaching others about God? No. They could only parrot the ritual ceremonial language of their institution. They could only go through the motions, like vultures chewing on dry bones. Because they did not know the Supreme Being, they were not empowered to represent the Living God - Jesus' Father.
How does Jesus know God?Jesus is clarifying that he can know the Supreme Being because he loves Him and wants to please Him. Jesus wants to do God's will. Jesus knows God because Jesus is engaged in a loving relationship with God.
The only way to know the Supreme Being is to be exchanging a loving relationship with Him. The Supreme Being is a very exclusive Person, and He is a loving Person. He only lets in those who want to exchange a relationship of loving service with Him.
Conversely, God graciously hides from those who are jealous or envious of Him. Those who don't want to be with God don't have to see Him. God does not force Himself upon anyone.
Why do we challenge God's superiority?We don't want to see the Supreme Being. We want to be the center of the universe.
Those of us living in the physical world in temporary bodies, away from God, are here because we want to be the Supreme Being. We want to be in charge. We want others to respect us, and idolize us. We want to be the president, or the CEO, or the boss, or the pope (or priest), or the mother or father, or the best player in history, or the most respected actor, or the biggest musician ever. Whatever genre we choose, we want to be the best. We want to be admired. We want to be worshiped. We want to be idolized.
These are all basically the desire to be the Supreme Being, manifesting into specific physical goals. This is simply because the position of 'king of the world' is not readily available to us at the moment. If it were, we'd be struggling for that too. In lieu of that title, we'll just struggle for 'American Idol' or whatever other position is available to us.
Why do you think that God threw Adam out of the Garden of Eden? (So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden. Gen. 3:23) Adam had decided that his relationship with God was not as important as eating the fruit. Adam disobeyed God because he wanted to enjoy like the Supreme Being:
"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:5)The Supreme Being lives in a world of love. There is no envy in that world. Those who live in the spiritual realm do not desire to be God or to enjoy as God enjoys. They don't care about their own enjoyment, because they are too busy doing what pleases the Supreme Being and His associates - because they love Him.
This spiritual world cannot be entered into without purification of our current self-centered consciousness. It would be like the metaphorical bull in a china shop. Letting a bull into a china shop would result in all the dishes being smashed because the bull doesn't have the consciousness to understand the delicate nature of the dishes in a china shop.
In the same way, a self-centered consciousness does not have a place in the delicate nature of the loving relationships between the Supreme Being and His children and friends in the spiritual realm.
Returning home to our natural position in the spiritual world requires us to submit ourselves to God, who is our Best Friend and Benefactor. This is the essence of love, Jesus' first and greatest instruction:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)