"If God were your Father, you would love me ..." (John 8:42-43)

Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say." (John 8:42-43)

Are the translators confusing 'Father' with 'Lord'?

As discussed with Jesus' previous statement about Abraham and the statement of the Pharisees, this exchange is about fatherhood. They were speaking of Abraham, who walked the earth at least a thousand years before. So they could not possibly be Abraham's children, and therefore Abraham could not be their father.

They were speaking of being followers of Abraham, and thus the reference would be to "Lord" rather than "Father."

As this exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees continues, it moves to accepting the Supreme Being being as Lord (again, not father). Just as indicated by the reference to Abraham could not be a father/children relationship, the reference to God here also is not a father/children relationship - as in a family of the physical body.

Yes, the Greek word πατήρ (patēr) can refer to one's direct physical father. But also to an ancestor, a guide, a spiritual leader, or the Supreme Being, depending upon its context. Here Jesus is referring to God as their LORD, not their physical father.

This is confirmed by the previous statement, where the pharisees say:
"The only Father we have is God Himself." (John 8:41)
Which, translated* correctly, would be:
"The only Lord we have is God Himself." (John 8:41)
Only this translation* makes sense, because they are debating about who is their lord - not who is their father.

Didn't Jesus already clarify this?

Jesus' response indicates the misunderstanding these Pharisees have about Jesus. Jesus states clearly that they are not hearing him, as he has already clarified the matter:
"Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say."
And what is it that the Pharisees are not hearing him say? This becomes clear from the previous sentence:
"I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but He sent me."

Why would they love Jesus if God were their lord?

Jesus is stating that he is God's representative and loving servant. If these Pharisees had a loving relationship with God they would also love Jesus.

That's because Jesus is serving God and loving God. If they had a loving relationship with the Supreme Being too, then they would also love Jesus. It is like a family. You can't love God and hate God's representative at the same time.

Did the Pharisees think Jesus was claiming to be God?

This misunderstanding is caused by the mistranslation of using the word "father" instead of "lord" in this translation.* 

The Pharisees saw that Jesus' followers were considering him their spiritual teacher, and were thus using "lord" as they referred to Jesus. The Pharisees considered that Abraham was their spiritual teacher, and they would only consider him as their "lord" (not father). They would not consider Jesus to be their lord. They were upset that others did.

The Pharisees were concerned about Jesus undermining their authority. They were concerned that someone other than them was being respected as God's representative.

What made it worse was that Jesus was also criticizing what they are doing. This further undermined their attempted authority. Therefore, they are not hearing Jesus because they want to hold on to their positions of authority.

The Pharisees were politically-appointed teachers (elected by councils) who sought to maintain the authority of their institution. And they were paid to hold their positions. 

By virtue of their appointment, they were given respect and authority by the Israelites at the time. By rite, they were to be held in esteem and respected. Anyone not respecting a Pharisee would become an outcast, and denied their position in Jewish society.

Jesus saw through this false authority. He understood their positions claimed they represented God. But Jesus knew they had not been empowered by the Supreme Being. And because of this, they wanted Jesus out of the way.

Does this false authority also exist today among sectarian institutions?

Yes. Today we find so many sectarian institutions that claim to follow Jesus, yet they follow in the footsteps of the Pharisees.

It is ironic that this ecclesiastic authority by the Pharisees is so similar to that created among the sects claiming to follow Jesus over the past 16 centuries. Many sectarian priests, cardinals, bishops, popes, ministers, reverends and preachers were elected to their positions just as the Pharisees were. Many have also been compensated (some handsomely) for their positions.

This is despite the fact that when Jesus sent his followers out to preach, he told them not to even bring a purse or even sandals when they went to preach:
"Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road." (Luke 10:4)
If they didn't have a purse or a bag, they could not collect money. They could not accumulate money or other possessions as a result of their teaching.

Do they teach what Jesus taught?

Ironically, though they claim to represent Jesus, they don't teach what he taught. They maintain their professional titles and their positions of authority by teaching the Pauline philosophy that Jesus was God and all we have to do is accept that he died on the cross for our sins and we are "saved" - or "born again" as they profess.

Is this what Jesus taught? No. Paul did teach this, but Paul was not a disciple of Jesus. In fact, Paul argued against the teachings of Jesus' own disciples, James and Peter.

Paul made up his own philosophy in order to attract many followers who were not believers in God. (Yes, the word translated to "Gentiles" actually means "pagans" or "atheists.")

If Jesus did die for our sins and all we have to do is accept that and we are saved, then why would Jesus have spent so many years teaching? If his dying on the cross would automatically save humanity, he would not need to teach anything.

Like the Pharisees Jesus speaks to here, these teachers say they have the authority, but they do not teach what Jesus really taught (or in the case of the Pharisees, what Abraham taught). 

They made up their own teaching in order to maintain their authority.

Jesus did not teach that all we have to do is accept that he is God and died on the cross for our sins and we are saved. Rather, Jesus stated that the Supreme Being sent him:
"I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but He sent me."
Could Jesus be any clearer than this? And what did God send Jesus to teach?
“ ‘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.” (Matt. 22:37-38)
And why should someone who accepts God - and that God sent Jesus - love Jesus?
"If God were your Father you would love me"
Because Jesus came to this hellish place, and suffered greatly, just to teach us to love God in hopes that we will have a change of heart and return to our relationship with the Supreme Being. In other words, Jesus came to take us home with him.

How could we not love someone who cares so greatly for us?


*Here is the translation of Jesus' statement according to the Lost Gospels of Jesus:

They said to him, “We do not subject to idols; we have one lord, God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your lord, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is it you do not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear my teachings.” (John 8:41-43)