You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”(John 8:41-47).
There is a lot to be observed in today’s text. The give and take between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day demonstrate an unswerving commitment to truth by Jesus and an equally unswerving demonstration of pride and arrogance by the Jewish religious leadership.
Jesus begins by declaring the Jews are doing the same things their ancestors did to the prophets of God. They rejected Jesus just as their forefathers rejected the prophets.
The Jews do not respond with a truthful acknowledgement of Jesus’ statement, but rather insult Him by calling Him an illegitimate son of Joseph and Mary. While it is implied that Jesus may have at least two human fathers, one biological and the other relational, the Jews counter that they have only one father: and that father is God.
Jesus responds by using a cause and effect logical argument. If the Jews were truly children of God, then they would love Jesus because He is God. The reason they do not understand this truth about Jesus is because God’s Word, in spite of the Jews outward religiosity, has no place in their thoughts, emotions or decisions. They cannot bear to hear the word of God. Therefore, they do not love Jesus because they do not have His Word in their hearts.
Jesus then declares the logical conclusion that since the Jews do not love Him and do not have God’s Word dwelling in their hearts, the devil in reality is their true spiritual father. This is proven by the character of the devil and the behavior of the religious leaders. The devil is a murderer and a liar. So also are the religious leaders.
Finally, Jesus makes this final evaluation of His opponents. “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Pastor Burk Parsons explains that, “The Jews whom Jesus confronted after He declared Himself the light of the world apparently understood that Jesus was speaking of a spiritual sonship of Abraham when He rejected their claim to be Abraham’s children (John 8:39–40). We see evidence of this in today’s passage. The Jews claimed not to be illegitimate spiritual children but rather to be children of God (v. 41). On the surface, they had some scriptural justification for this, for Israel is called the son of God in the Old Testament (Hos. 11:1). But again, this reflects an idea that physical descent and Jewish blood is sufficient to make a person spiritually sound, to make him a child of God spiritually.”
The practical application to believers today is clear. Just because a person says they are a follower of Christ does not make it so. The true, biblical evidence of saving faith is love for God and a love for His Word.
Take time today to read 2 Peter 1:3-11.
Soli deo Gloria!