The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (John 8:48-51).
If you recall from our study in John 4, the Jews viewed the Samaritans with disdain and contempt. The Samaritans were a half-Jew/half-Gentile people. This was the result of the Assyrian conquest of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. and the intermarriage which followed. Therefore, when the Jewish leaders called Jesus a Samaritan, they indicated their contempt for Him along with their disrespect. Since they could not find fault in His personal life and conduct they resorted to personal abuse.
They also accused Jesus of having a demon. Dr. R.C. Sproul explains the Jewish religious leaders reasoning.
“In today’s passage, we see how these same Jews accused Jesus of being a Samaritan and of having a devil Himself (v. 48). The reason behind their calling Him a Samaritan seems to be the common Jewish view that the Samaritans were unclean and ignorant of true religion. Their thought would be something like this: “Only a demon-possessed Samaritan would have the nerve to accuse Jews, the true children of God, of not being the children of God.” In any case, Jesus rejected their accusation, saying that He could not have a demon because He honored God. And in honoring God, He was not seeking His own glory. Jesus was not seeking to advance Himself. He was concerned only for the truth and for His Father’s will, and His Father’s will is to glorify the Son (vv. 49–50). The Jews were rejecting Him at their peril.”
However, in spite of their derision Jesus continued to offer the gift of salvation to the Jews who trusted in their own righteousness. He explained that those who trusted in Him, and as a result kept the Word of God, would never see death. Jesus was not speaking of physical death but rather eternal death in which physical death cannot overcome (John 5:24; 6:40-47; 11:25-26).
Dr. John Walvoord states that Jesus is, “Partly vindicating His lofty claims as Lord of the kingdom of life everlasting, and, at the same time, holding out even to His revilers the scepter of grace. The word “keep” is in harmony with John 8:31, “If ye continue in My word,” expressing the permanency, as a living and paramount principle, of that faith to which He referred: “never see death,” though virtually uttered before (John 5:24), is the strongest and most naked statement of a very glorious truth yet given. (In John 11:26 it is repeated in nearly identical terms).”
Isn’t it interesting that even today there are those who claim to believe in the existence of God but still reject and regard with disdain, or at least disinterest, the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus remains the only way to receive righteousness and eternal life.
Repent of your sin and receive Him today as Savior and Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!