John 8:37-47-Jesus now turns the table and goes from a simple explanation of Who He is and Who His Father is…to a direct rebuttal to those who were attacking Him. The Jews claimed a spiritual legitimacy (legacy), because of a physical lineage. They said that because they could trace their physical, human birth back through their family tree to Abraham…that made him their “father” (their ancestor), and by right of that physical lineage they inherited his spiritual legitimacy. By being the children, the descendants of Abraham, physically; they were also the chosen people of God, spiritually. Jesus corrects these religious leaders and says that while they may claim a physical lineage to Abraham…the spiritual legacy is not automatically included. In fact, their true spiritual legacy was different from that of Abraham and Him. The two of them have the same Father…but these religious leaders had a different father. Jesus says that they have a different father than He does. The evidence of this is that, first, they are attacking Him, trying to kill Him (:40), because He is telling the truth. If they had the spiritual legacy of Abraham they would be doing his deeds, being obedient to Jesus’ teachings since they come from the Father. Second, He tells them that the evidence of who their father is, is that they do not love Him (:42). And the third evidence of their real father, is that because of who he is, it is not possible for them to understand the truth (:43). The reason is because of the sinful nature of their father: their father is the devil (:44)…their father is a murderer (:44)…their father is a liar (:44-it is his nature to lie, there is no truth in him). It does not matter if Jesus speaks the truth to them because they are driven by their nature that comes from their father, the devil. They are so driven, so controlled by the devil that it does not matter if they can convict Him of sin, or not (:46). They are simply responding to their sinful nature to which they are a slave (back to v. 34). By their very sinful nature they want to do what their father desires (:44). Jesus issues a challenge to them to prove that He is wrong…”Which one of you convicts Me of sin?” (:46). He is daring them to show Him where He is in error. They cannot do so and the reason is, “…you are not of God” (:47).
John 8:48-Jesus has just declared that these religious leaders have Satan as their father and that their physical lineage to Abraham accomplishes nothing for them spiritually. They must have been infuriated! Jesus has just publicly revealed their true nature…and they have no rebuttal, they have nothing of Scriptural substance to say in response…so, they revert to name calling, “You are a Samaritan and have a demon” (:48). Tit for tat. He told them their father was the devil…they claim that He is possessed by a demon.
John 8:49-50-Jesus must have smiled at how lame their response was. He replies, “It’s not about Me, it’s about the Father. What is important is that I honor Him. You can talk bad about Me all day long and it changes nothing. In the end, my Father will judge the truth of this matter. And, I am perfectly secure in my relationship with Him. Are you?”
John 8:51-58-Jesus then tells them that if they “keep My word” (i.e.-believe in Him), they will “never die” (He is speaking of the fact that while our body may die, our spirit will live, forever, eternally). They wrongly interpret this to mean they will never die physically and say that even Abraham (and the prophets) died…and that is proof that He is wrong and has a demon. Because they have run out of a Scriptural line of reasoning, they are really trying to work this accusation of demon possession for all that it’s worth. It is an attempt to distract the people from listening to the truth of the content of what Jesus is saying and get them caught up in a line of thought that would be sensational, and intriguing. Jesus says that Abraham rejoiced in his knowledge of what the future held, that being Himself…His coming and His ministry. The Jews said that was not possible since Jesus was not even 50 years old…how could Abraham have possibly known Him. Jesus responds by telling them that before Abraham was born…He already existed, “…before Abraham was born, I am” (:58; cf. May 17 for an explanation of the “I Am” statements of Jesus). In doing so, He used a term to make reference to Himself that was reserved for exclusive reference to God, alone. This was a calculated, deliberate reference to Himself as being the Yahweh of the Old Testament. The Jews realized what He was saying and tried to stone Him…but “Jesus hid Himself” (:59). The word “hid” means “to conceal, to escape notice”.
The methods that the Jews used to attack Jesus gives us a picture of how Satan often works. They attacked His/Him…
- Theology (The Pharisees twisting of the Law in the incident of the woman caught in adultery, John 8:3-11; Satan’s temptations in the wilderness, Pharisees issue with the Sabbath, Sadducees disbelief in the resurrection).
- Integrity (accuse Him of sin…“which of you convicts me of sin”, John 8:46).
- Personality (they called Him a Samaritan and claimed that He was possessed by a demon, John 8:48)…they attack Him personally, say bad, evil things about Him…try to make Him look bad even though they can not prove that He has really done anything wrong.
- Continually (keep saying it until eventually people believe it…they don’t stop with the first three accusations, even when they are proven wrong, but just keep repeating it).
- Covertly (talk behind the scenes…gossip).
- ..They blame their problems on Him (the Jews said the Romans would punish them for His behavior…“better that one man suffer than the whole nation”, John 11:50; 18:14…trying to make Him a scapegoat)…instead of recognizing that they are the cause of the problem, they try to make it appear that He is the cause of the problem.
Prayer: Lord, help me to be obedient to You. Please let it be evident that You are my Father because my life is in keeping with Your nature. Help me to be like You in character.