Growing Conflict With the Devil’s Sons

 Jerusalem (Temple)
(4) Growing Conflict With the Devil’s Sons
John 8:21-59 (Isaiah 6:9)


Jesus was a Jew and He was in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles; all males were required to attend this annual feast.  He had gone to the temple to teach, but He was interrupted when a group, including the religious leaders, brought a woman to Him that was caught in the act of adultery.  They ask Him what they should do to her, but pointed out that the Law stated that she should be stoned to death.  The Savior knew these men, and He knew their sin.  He wrote their sins in the dirt of the temple floor, until every man present left in shame and fear.  Then, He said to the woman, “Go, and sin no more.” 

After that, He declared to a group of Pharisees that he was the “Light of the World.”  They called Him a liar, and said He only had His word for it and that wasn’t good enough.  Jesus answered their accusation by declaring that His Father was One who could confirm what He said.  They wanted to kill Him, but no one could lay a hand on Him, because “His hour had not yet come.”

(John 8:21-22) Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.  Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.

The Jews are completely in the dark.  They ask, “Will He kill Himself?”  They know nothing about the fact that He is going to Jerusalem to die at the hands of the gentiles, and that He will be delivered up to die by these very same religious rulers, and that He will die a redemptive death for the sins of the world.  Will He kill himself?  No!  He will give Himself a ransom for many.

(John 8:23) And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

We find this same thought in 1 Corinthians 2:14.  Human knowledge can be understood by any other man who has a human nature—if his IQ is high enough.  But divine knowledge is different.  Only the Spirit of God can take the things of Christ and show them to us.  That’s what He’s saying here.

(John 8:24)  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

People die because they are sinners.  That is the natural consequence of sin.  “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”  Can a person be saved on his deathbed?  Yes, if he accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.  But a person can reject Christ too long, just as these Jews did.  There comes a time when one has rejected Christ too long and then will not ever want to accept him.

(John 8:25)  Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.

These Jews did not know what His mission was, what His work was, nor did they know Him.  “Where is thy Father?”  “Will He kill Himself?”  “Who art thou?”  Jesus answers that His statement concerning Himself is always the same.  He consistently claims that He is the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

(John 8:26)  I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.

Our Lord always maintained that what He was doing and saying was what the Father wanted him to do and to say.  He claimed that God the Father had sent Him and that He was doing the father’s will.  He never appealed to his own mind or His own intellect.  This should be an example for those who are preachers.  It is God’s word that they are to be giving out, rather than messages that are the product of their own intellect.

(John 8:27)  They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.

They missed the whole point.  They are of the earth; they do not understand heavenly things.

(John 8:28)  Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

When Jesus calls himself the Son of Man, He is referring to Daniel 7:13-14.  The Son of Man comes to the Ancient of Days to be made ruler of the universe.  So the Lord Jesus is referring here to his crucifixion and also to His crowning, which is yet to come.

After the death and resurrection of Christ, many of these religious rulers believed.  We are told in the book of Acts that many of the priests in Jerusalem believed.  This is what he is saying to them now.  Afterwards they would know He is the one He claims to be. It is the redemptive death of Christ that explains Him; why He came and who He is.  One cannot really know who He is until one knows what He has done.

(John 8:29-30)  And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.  As he spake these words, many believed on him.

Have you ever finished a day without looking back on it and wishing that you had done some things a little differently?  Our Lord never finished a day with regret.  He always did those things that pleased His Father.  He is making it abundantly clear that He has come to do the Father’s will.


(John 8:31-32)  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone.  It will produce something.  After a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, he will want to “continue in His Word.”  The proof of faith is continuing with the Savior.  Watch out for the person who is active in the church, but not interested in the Word of God.  Such a person is dangerous to a church.

The truth shall make you free.  The truth is that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World.  He is the Truth.  First we come to him as our Savior.  Then as we go on with him, we know by experience that we are free.  We are free from the penalty of sin—we don’t need to lie awake at knight worrying about going to hell.  He doesn’t even ask us to live the Christian life.  He asks us to trust Him and let Him live His life through us.  When we yield to Him, we are free.

(John 8:33)  They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

The Jews put blind trust in religious tradition and ceremonies.  They depended on ancestry and obedience to the Law of Moses and the oral tradition of the elders for their hope.  They lied when they said they had never been in bondage.  Throughout the years, they had been in bondage to Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, Syria, and, at present they were under the iron heel of Rome.  What a misrepresentation that was.  Regardless of their political slavery, they felt free spiritually because they were a holy nation, an elect race chosen by God.

(John 8:34-38)  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.  I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.  I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

They were not free physically and they were not free spiritually.  They claimed to be Abraham’s seed; yet they sought to kill Jesus.  “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” is the present tense.  If you continue in a life of sin, you are a servant of sin.  I doubt if any of us go through one day without sinning, but the child of God comes to the Father everyday and confesses his sin.  The child of the devil will never do that.  This is the thought of Romans 6:16, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey…”

Jesus gets rather subtle now.  A servant may come and work for you during the day, but when evening comes, he gets his hat and goes home.  The son comes in, pitches his hat in a corner, sits down and relaxes because he is the son.  The Lord is telling these rulers that they are not really God’s children.  They were in the temple then, but they wouldn’t be there long.  In A.D. 70 Titus came and took every one of them away and sold them into slavery. 

The Son makes you free indeed.  We do not have to be the servant of sin.  Many Christians accept defeat and failure as a normal Christian life.  God never intended for us to live like that.  He intends for us to live for Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

(John 8:39-44)  They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father.  Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.   Ye do the deeds of your father.  Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

The old adage says, “Like father like son.”  Although they claim that they are the children of Abraham, Jesus tells these men that if they were truly children of Abraham, they would act like Abraham.  Instead, they are trying to kill Him.  So instead of being the children of Abraham, they are, in fact, the children of the devil.  Satan is the originator of murder and of lying, and they were being his imitators, his children.  “Ye do the deeds of your father.”

Notice they again bring up the subject, “We be not born of fornication.”   I used to believe that one could not deny the virgin birth and still be a Christian.  I don’t think that way today.  But I believe that if we deny the virgin birth of Christ we join this taunting crowd who said, “We were not born of fornication.”  Yet this crowd wanted to claim that God was their Father.  Jesus says, “If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” 

How do we know that God is our Father?  John, in his epistle, gives us this answer: "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and everyone that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him” (1 John 5:1).

These Jews thought they were the children of God when they were actually the children of the devil.  We find the same idea today.  This doctrine of the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man has brought us into a lot of trouble.  It has shaped the philosophy of our nation.  We set down at a conference table with the children of the devil, and we call them the children of God.  I am afraid our nation has been deceived by other nations of the world, because our wise diplomats and smart politicians are simply working on the wrong premise.   The Bible does not teach the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man.  Obviously Jesus did not teach the universal fatherhood of God, because He was saying to those religious rulers that they were the children of the devil.  Apparently there are some people who are not the children of God!  One becomes a child of God only through faith in Jesus Christ.  There is no record that Jesus ever called the publicans and sinners “children of the devil.” He reserved that title for the hypocritical Pharisees. By nature, we are all “children of wrath”; and by choice, we become “children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:1–3). When you receive Jesus Christ, you become a child of God (John 1:12–). But if you reject Christ and have a false righteousness (Rom. 9:30–10:13), you are in danger of becoming a “child of the devil,” for Satan is an imitator (2 Cor. 11:13–15). If Satan becomes your father, hell will be your home.

The words of Jesus antagonized these men.  Yet, Jesus insisted that His words were truth.  He also insisted that none of them could accuse Him of sin.  Jesus is from God and anyone who is a child of God, will listen to Jesus Christ.  People still don’t like to hear that today.  People like to think we are all nice, sweet brothers to each other, and they talk about love, love love.  My friends, if you’re going to stand for the truth today, then you will denounce the evil just as our Lord did.  That is going to bring antagonism. 

 (John 8:45)  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus can tell people the truth and they will not believe.  It arouses their intense antagonism.  Yet people will believe the wildest rumors and biggest lies.  Dictators have learned that.  Hitler was very frank about this in his book when he said that if a big lie is told again and again and again, finally the people will believe it.

(John 8:46-48)  Which of you convinceth me of sin?  And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?  He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.  Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

Jesus put His very life on the line when He asked, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?”  This is one of the great proofs of the deity of Christ.  Believe me, if any of His enemies had had one shred of evidence against Him, they would have used it.  They have no logical answers for His questions.  So what do they do?  They come up with ridicule.  You are taught that type of thing on a debate team: when you have no logical answer, resort to ridicule.  Listen to the Jews, “Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?”  Demon would be a better translation here.  This is name-calling and pure ridicule.

(John 8:49-51).  Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.  And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

I wish I could see Him standing in that crowd.  They hate Him so much that they want to kill Him.  They have murder in their hearts, and He has nothing but love in his.  He is going to go to the Cross to die for them.  They are thinking of death for Him, but He is offering them life.  “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”  He is offering them eternal life, spiritual life.  My friend, this Jesus is more than a man.

(John 8:52-59)  Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.  Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?  Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.   Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.  Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.  Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Did Abraham ever see Christ?  He certainly did.  The appearance of God to people in the Old Testament was an appearance of Christ to these people.  “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).  Then, too, although Abraham’s body was buried there, yet Abraham was really not dead but was in the presence of God.  Jesus makes this very clear, as recorded in Luke 20:38.  “For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.”

The liberal theologian today teaches that Jesus Christ was a great teacher, but that He never really claimed to be God.  My friend, listen to this.  "Before Abraham was, I am.”  Not, I was—I AM.  He is the Jehovah, the I AM, God.  The Jews understood perfectly.  Because they knew precisely what He was claiming, they took up stones to kill Him for blasphemy.

The issue is Jesus Christ.  He put these Jews on the spot.  They had to make a decision concerning him.  You must make a decision concerning Him.  Either He is the Truth, or He is a liar.  Either He is God and Savior, or He is not.  You must decide.  Either you accept Him or you reject Him.  Remember, your decision does not affect in any way who He is.  He is the great I AM, Jehovah, the eternal God.  Your decision is to accept or reject this.

comments and questions are welcomed

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