22 If I had not come and spoken to them they would have no sin; but now they have no excuse about their sin.
23 The person hating Me also hates My Father.
24 If I had not done among them the works that I did, which no other man has done, they would have no sin. However, they have seen the works of power and have hated both Me and My Father.
During my time as an Approved Driving Instructor I had to assess the driving of many people, especially those who wanted to train to become a driving instructor. Before they signed up for training I would take them on a test drive, and afterwards I would have to let them know in what areas their driving needed to improve in order to pass the rigorous driving test.
On that first assessment they would not know how to drive correctly, because they had not been told. However, after their training they would know what was expected of them, and, therefore, if they made a mistake it was their doing.
This is a little like what Jesus said about those whom He came and spoke to, the Jews. He was saying that if He had not given them His teaching, then they would not have sinned, because they would not have known.
However, they had no excuse, since He had come and had spoken to them. He had revealed the Father’s ways to them, He had revealed, through His words and deeds, that He and the Father are One. There was no excuse for their disbelief.
What about us?
We are in a very privileged position in that we have God’s word written down for us. Also, His word is illuminated to us by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we have no excuse if we dismiss the word of God as being out of date, or not relevant to today’s society.
God’s word does not change.
We know that Jesus said:
“Heaven and earth will disappear, but My words will never disappear” – Matthew 24.35 (NLT).
Having received the word of God, we have no excuse when we ignore it. If a driving test candidate ignores the teachings of his instructor they have no excuse if they fail the test.
Jesus came to reveal to us the way to the Father, and there is no other way than through Him. We must not neglect His ways for us.