John – “But Who Do You Say That I Am?” – John 8:37-47

Heavenly Father,

We come before You once again with open hearts, open minds, free from all distractions, to hear Your Word and Your truths. These are not my thoughts or my words or my beliefs but Your very words and serves as a warning to Your people about who is and who is not a child of You. Truth can hurt Father but sometimes just as in physical situations, it has to hurt before it can heal. We pray Father that You would bless this time in Your Word and make it fruitful, open the eyes of those believers who need to hear these truths, as well as those who have not come to You yet. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

Here’s a startling fact that some of you are aware of but most of you aren’t. The fact is this…God is not the Father of all humanity! Before you think I have fallen away and close your browser, let me explain. There is a thing that runs rampant in America and probably other countries of the world I would imagine as well. No, it’s not the coronavirus! It’s called universalism. It is the belief that everyone is a child of God. That no matter what you believe or don’t believe, we are all brothers and sisters of God and that we are all going to heaven. If you actually take time to read The Bible and study it though, you know that this is not true. Yes, we are all created in the image of God and He loves us but it doesn’t mean that we are all His children. Universalism is a worldview but it is far from reality. In the last post, I mentioned according to Newsweek, 85% of Christians in America believe there are other paths to heaven besides Jesus. That is the reality in most believers’ minds and a dangerous way to go through life spiritually speaking. Take a guess why the Church hasn’t been raptured yet!

The human body is made of trillions of cells. How you look, that is the physical aspects like hair color, eye color, as well as future health problems that you may have later on in life, are all determined by DNA in those cells. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. It is also how one’s parentage is decided simply by taking a DNA test something that is done about 220,000 time a year in our country it is estimated. This only determines physically though of who one’s father is. Just because someone is your father doesn’t mean that you are exactly 100% like him. I’m not talking about physically. I’m talking about personality traits and spiritually. Here’s an example of what I am talking about. If you know your Bible, one of the wickedest kings to ever rule Judah was Manasseh however his father was Hezekiah one of the holiest kings to ever rule Judah. Hezekiah may have been Manasseh’s father but Manasseh was not exactly a chip off the old block spiritually speaking! How can you tell who your father is spiritually speaking? In this passage, Jesus gives kind of a DNA test to help determine that. A word of warning though. This is not a “feel good” study of this passage. These are truths that believers need to hear, not my thoughts or words or beliefs but what God’s Word says! If you can’t handle that and have a worldly view as most Christians do, feel free to close the browser and keep “drinking that Kool-Aid”! Let’s get started and as always, the text link for the entire chapter and the audio are included so you can follow along. …

John 8

Let’s look at the passage for this post…

(37) “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. (38) I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” (39) They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. (40) But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. (41) You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” (42) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. (43) Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. (44) You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (45) But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. (46) Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? (47) He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” … John 8:37-47 NKJV

These are tough words that Jesus is saying to these people but something that they needed to hear! We are in the middle of a discourse that Jesus is having mainly with the Jewish religious leaders, the Pharisees and the scribes. This passage continues Jesus’ “I am the light of the world” discourse. Jesus is addressing a group of Pharisees and a crowd of people going back and forth in the temple area paying their temple tax. Jesus had just saved a woman from being stoned to death and now He is addressing a group of “holdovers”. His message to them, and us, is very clear in this passage…God is not everyone’s father, the devil is real, and everyone has a relationship with him. The question is what side of that relationship that you fall on! Let’s look at this passage closer now. …

v 37 – (37) “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.

Jesus acknowledges here that they are Abraham’s descendants. They were only descendants of Abraham by birth and family lines certainly not by behavior though because Jesus tells them but you seek to kill Me. This was not the act of those who were Abraham’s spiritual seed. If Abraham had still been alive, Abraham would have been overjoyed to have seen and walked with Jesus not find fault with Him and try to kill Him! Further down in Chapter 8, Jesus tells them…

(56) Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”… John 8:56 NKJV

The fact was that Abraham believed God and he also gladly received heavenly messengers not try to kill them! In Genesis 18, speaking about Abraham, it says…

Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. (2) So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, (3) and said, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. (4) Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. (5) And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.” They said, “Do as you have said.” … Genesis 18:1-5 NKJV

The reason why these Jews wanted to kill Jesus, Jesus tells them, is because My word has no place in you. I have a slight discrepancy here the way this is printed in the Bible. The “w” in word is not capitalized and it should be. These were not just the words of a man but of God. They were in the presence of God as a Man though they were either completely blinded to this fact or resented it. The reason why the Word of Jesus had no place in them was probably because of conviction though. Conviction caused by the Word of God in someone results in either total repentance or total hostility and that is what is happening with these Jews that Jesus is addressing here in this passage. The more He speaks to them, the more they are being convicted by His words and the more hostile they are becoming. Moving now to verse 38…

v 38 – (38) I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”

There are two fathers mentioned here in this verse. They are the two fathers that we as humans are divided by…God and the devil. We all have natural fathers but we fall into one of two categories. We are either sons (and daughters) of God or sons (and daughters) of the devil. Christ’s teachings and His words were from heaven…what He had seen with My Father. Jesus was there with God the Father from the foundation of the world. Jesus had seen it all and done it all with His Father and could only do what the Father did and said. Back in Chapter 5, we recall this passage…

(19) Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. … John 5:19 NKJV

Jesus then goes on to say in the rest of verse 38 that they are imitating the works of their father…the devil. How do we know that Jesus was talking about their father being the devil? Because He names Him further down in this passage as we continue. To verse 39 and the next few verses…

vv 39-41 – (39) They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. (40) But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. (41) You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”

Once again, these Jews insisted that Abraham was their father and Jesus again points out to them if that were the case, you would do the works of Abraham. Children tend to imitate their parents. They try to walk, talk, and act like them. This was not the case with these Jews who claimed Abraham was their father because they wanted to kill Jesus. And why did they want to kill Him? Because He spoke the truth which He had heard from God. All part of the conviction of God’s Word producing hostility in people. They were descendants by flesh from Abraham but that’s all they were. They did not morally or spiritually imitate Abraham and this truth cut them to the heart. Jesus then points out that they were doing the deeds of their father. He doesn’t mention it right away but Jesus is referring to Satan or the devil as their father. No argument there because they were doing the deeds of Satan just as their ancestors had as well. In Luke, Jesus says…

(47) Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. (48) In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. (49) Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’ (50) that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, (51) from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation. … Luke 11:47-51 NKJV

The Jews of course have no idea what Jesus is talking about when He tells them You do the deeds of your father and respond to Jesus by slandering Him and saying, We were not born of fornication; We have one Father–God. This was an insult. We believers know that Jesus was born of a virgin, Mary, and that she was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. She had no physical relationship with Joseph until after Jesus was born. It was widely believed though that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Joseph and Mary so this is an insult that is thrown at Him. The Jews finish their insulting statement with a “holier than thou” one…we have one father–God. They truly believed because they were descendants of Abraham that their ticket to heaven was automatically punched. Jesus responds to this as well as we move on to verse 42…

vv 42-43 – (42) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. (43) Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.

Jesus responds to their statement about God being their father by telling them, If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God. It was a foolish claim that these Jews made that they loved God because if they did then they would love Jesus who came from God. Those who claim to love God and yet hate, deny, or ridicule Jesus Christ do not love God. Jesus drops a hint of who He is by saying  for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. There was no particular time when Jesus was born the Son of God, This relationship lasted all of eternity. Why? Because He is God in human flesh! This is why if you say you love God and yet hate or deny Jesus Christ and His teachings, you are in effect hating your Creator! People who claim to love God, love Jesus! Peter says in one of his letters…

(6) In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (7) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, (8) whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (9) receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. … 1 Peter 1:6-9 NKJV

Why did Peter write this? Because he was asked by Jesus not once but three times after the resurrection…Peter, do you love Me? Notice Jesus doesn’t ask him if he loved God but if he loved Him. To love Jesus is to love God because they are one and the same!

So this is the first part of Jesus’ “paternity test” that He gives the Jews…who do you love? Did they love Jesus? Of course not because they wanted to kill Him! Now the second part of the test…what do you understand? In verse 43, Jesus says to the Jews, Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. There is a difference between the words speech and word. Christ’s word is what He taught. His speech referred to the words that He used to express the truths found in His Word. Again I believe the “w” in word should be capitalized. Anyway, the people couldn’t understand what Jesus was saying because His Word had no place in their hearts. When He spoke of bread, they thought only of literal bread. When He spoke of water, they never connected it with spiritual water. Why was it that they could not understand His speech? It was because they were unwilling to tolerate His teachings. Children understand the language of their father. If these Jews were truly God’s children, then they would understand Jesus’ speech. They couldn’t though because God’ Word is foolish to the natural man. In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us…

(14) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. … 1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV

It is the devil, Satan, that causes this blindness in people’s hearts and minds to God’ Word. Paul says again in 2 Corinthians…

(3) But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, (4) whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. … 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV

The god of this age that Paul is referring to in this passage, is the devil. This is why it is impossible for anyone to understand God’s Word unless the Lord opens up your heart to it. Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe so they are unable to see the glorious light of the good news and he uses science, in a large part, to do it by confusing people. It’s Satan’s greatest tool. He also uses our thoughts and desires to do it as well…how we want to live our lives. I’ve said it before and I will say it again…there are no contradictions in The Bible except the contradictions of how we want to live our lives! That is what The Bible contradicts! People don’t understand the Christian message. They lack the ability to get it. That is why, any person who is saved, has to have their heart opened up by the Lord Himself. You can’t do it. I can’t do it. Only the Lord can do it. It has to be sort of this ah-ha moment. This epiphany. A revelation of who they are and who God is. Moving on to verse 44 now. …

v 44 – (44) You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

Now Jesus gets right to the point and who their father really is…the devil! Jesus is not saying that they had been born of the devil as believers are born of God. He meant that Satan was their father by imitation. Please note that Jesus refers to the devil as a real being and not an object or spirit. He uses the words he, his, and him to describe him. Many people believe the devil is a spirit or an analogy. He is not a real human being just a symbol of evil. A poll was taken of people who claimed to be born again Christians and they were asked a simple question…do you believe the devil is a real person or just a symbol of evil? Nearly half, 48 % said no just a symbol of evil. However, the devil is actually a real person. We’re not talking about the cartoon character with horns on his head, a red jumpsuit, a long sharp pointed tail, with a pitchfork but an actual person. His name is actually Lucifer. In Isaiah, we find a brief description of him, what happened to him and why, and what will ultimately happen to him. …

(12) “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! (13) For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ (15) Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. (16) “Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, (17) Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’ … Isaiah 14:12-17 NKJV

The Book of Revelation echoes this passage in Isaiah as well. Moving on now because I do not want to dwell on this subject, Jesus says to the Jews…the desires of your father you want to do. Jesus was telling these people that the devil was their father because they were imitating him by their desires. Most children imitate their fathers, at least boys do. They dress like them, act like them, and even try to talk like them. The desires of these Jews were to kill Jesus, a Man sent by God. That wasn’t the act of people who claim to love God but of the devil! They also showed their relationship with the devil as being their father by living the way they lived. They lived their lives not by doing the things of God but by doing things of Satan. The expression of the desires of your father you want to do, meant what they wanted to do what was in their hearts.

Jesus then tells them that the devil, their father, was a murderer from the beginning. He brought “death” to Adam and the whole human race. Jesus also says that their father, the devil, did not stand on the truth because there is no truth in him. Their father was a liar and not only that he was the father of all lies. The reason why sin and death entered the world is because of a lie. The Jews imitated the devil in these two ways. They were murderers because the intention of their hearts was to kill the Son of God. They were liars because they said that God was their Father. They pretended to be godly, spiritual men, but their lives were far from it. So that’s the third part of Jesus’ “DNA” test…what do you do? Moving on now…

v 45 – (45) But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.

Those who continuously listen to lies begin believing strongly in them and therefore, can’t handle the truth when confronted with it! All part of the fact that conviction causes hostility. An example of what I am talking about is the brainwashing and indoctrination that has been going on in our educational system for decades now with teachers and professors constantly telling their students that God doesn’t exist that The Bible is a book of fairy tales and the result has been a country that has completely lost its way on the principles that it was originally founded on and America is in the process of imploding because of it. Only a matter of time before it totally collapses!

Anyway, here was Jesus standing before these Jews speaking the truth which He always had and they would not believe Him. This showed the intentions of their hearts was evil. Richard C.H. Lenski, a pastor and New Testament commentator, put it best when he said in one of his commentaries…

When it meets the truth, the corrupted mind seeks only objections; when it meets what differs from this truth, it sees and seeks reasons for accepting this difference. … RCH Lenski (Interpretation of St Paul’s Epistles to Timothy, Titus, & Philemon)

Moving on now and finishing up the passage. …

vv 46-47 – (46) Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? (47) He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

We now come to the last part of the “DNA” test…when do you listen? No one could ask the question, Which of you convicts Me of sin, if they were not truly the Son Of God. Only the Son of God, Jesus, was a perfect, sinless Man and there is no one in the world who can prove otherwise! Jesus was telling the truth to them and yet these Jews did not believe Him. What Jesus says in verse 47, that refusal to hear God’s Word, proves that God is not your father! This is not my belief or opinion that I’m telling you but the words of Jesus! Jesus is the one saying this! That is what Jesus is also telling these Jews here. If a man really loves God, he will hear and obey God’s words. The Jews showed by their rejection of the Savior’s message that they did not really belong to God. They did not listen to the prophets and as a matter of a fact, they killed them! In Isaiah, it says…

(8) Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever: (9) That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD; … Isaiah 30:8-9 NKJV

Jesus didn’t comfort their distress…He brought distress to their comfort! This can be said of the world today and of many Christians…too busy with the cares and the pleasures of the world to hear the Lord!

So here’s the takeaway and I’ll close with this…who is your father? Take the “DNA” test. Who do you love? Do you love Jesus even though you can’t see Him? Do you talk to Him in prayer and spend time with Him in His Word? What do you understand? Is Jesus opening up your heart to His Word or is the devil blinding you to it? Remember children understand the language of their father. What are you doing? Do your actions prove your relationship with Jesus? Paternity of God is demonstrated by conformity of God’s kids. Obedience proves relationship. It does not produce relationship. Finally, when do you listen? Refusal to hear the reveals that God is not your Father. Christians only want to hear messages that make them feel good not what they need to hear. A telltale sign that a person is not spiritually related to God as their Father is their refusal to hear. Not just their inability to get it, but once they do get it, they don’t want it. They have a hardened heart. The biggest problem that the prophets in The Bible like Jeremiah and Isaiah had was because the messages they gave hit too close to home and the people didn’t want to hear the truth. They wanted to be lied to. Going back to Chapter 30 in Isaiah, it says…

(9) That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD; (10) Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. (11) Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us.” … Isaiah 30:9-11 NKJV

This is not only a Biblical problem but it is a problem with America today! Christians won’t listen to anything that causes conviction and we refuse to take any kind of action to change the immoral and idolatrous course of this country other than praying about it! So not everyone has God as their father as is widely believed and everyone has a relationship with the devil. The question is…what side of that relationship do you fall on…his friend or his enemy? Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word and this time that we have been able to spend in it. Lord we know that these have been some harsh statements that You have made in this passage but hopefully they will serve as a wake up call to Your people for them to realize that we are not all Your children only those who choose to truly believe and follow You and walk in Your ways. Lord we live in some trying times right now and we pray that you would help us and strengthen us through them. Help those who are suffering right now either from sickness or from loss of work and the loneliness and isolation and that we would learn from this and we pray that Your glory and Your will be accomplished through it. Lastly of course Lord we pray that anyone who hasn’t given their lives to You that they would do so today and we pray this in the name of Jesus Christ…Amen!