John 8:42–59—Jesus’ Claims About Himself
42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”
48 The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?”
49 “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father—and you dishonor me.50 And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. 51 I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!”
52 The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
54 Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ 55 but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.”
57 The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” 59 At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.
Points of Interest
- ‘If God were your Father, you would love me’—if God were their father, Jesus and they would be siblings. But there doesn’t seem to be much brotherly or sisterly affection.
- ‘you are the children of your father the devil’—their claims of God as their father provoke an equal and opposite response from Jesus: ‘The devil is more like it.’ I think what Jesus is saying here is that there’s so little understanding between him and them that it’s like they’re in completely different, and completely opposite universes. What is truth in his world is lies in theirs. Still, calling them devil spawn seems unlikely to bring them quickly to a better mutual understanding.
- ‘I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’—Jesus seems genuinely perplexed as to why they are having such a hard time in this conversation. He is merely trying to offer them the gift of eternal life, and it’s come to this.
- ‘I Am!’—this is God’s name. When Moses and God first meet, Moses asks God to introduce himself. God responds that he is called I AM (Exodus 3:14). So, when they ask, ‘Are you saying you knew Abraham and are better than him?’ he answers, ‘Yes, Yes, most definitely yes. I don’t just know Abraham. I don’t just know God. I am God.’
Taking It Home
- For you: Whether it’s his age, his family lineage, or the town he was born in, Jesus just is not what the people expected out of the Messiah. Is there a situation in your life in which you feel like you don’t quite match people’s expectations? Ask Jesus if he has any tips on how to handle the expectations others have of you. Ask Jesus to remind you of the things most true about you. Finally, ask Jesus to give you the same confidence he had to hold on to his true identity even when others thought he couldn’t possibly be up to the task at hand.
- For your 6: Whether it’s the Father or an angel who hides Jesus—or maybe just that the Pharisees are really slow at gathering stones for execution—it’s impressive how timely and effective the protection is. Ask Jesus today to protect your 6 from any harm that might come their way.
- For our church: Ask Jesus to help our church hear him. Whether he is speaking literally or figuratively in this passage, even though the people are right there next to him, they can’t actually hear what Jesus is saying. Picture a parent trying to get their child’s attention, but the child can’t hear because the TV is on too loud, or just because they are talking away themselves. Ask Jesus to help our church become better at slowing down, being quiet, and have the space and posture to listen to him.