In the heart-felt book of John, Jesus has several confrontations with the Jews of that day to prove to them His deity. Of note, the discussion in John 8 is particularly passionate. The hardness of heart of these people broke the Savior’s heart as they claimed allegiance to God, to the things of God, and to God’s faithful servant, Abraham. However, Jesus cuts to the core of their hypocrisy and powerfully says in 8:44, “You are of your father, the devil…” What were some things that betrayed their “true father’s” identity?
They were ignorant of their spiritual heritage (8:32-36). Being honored by a family name is not necessarily wrong. However, pride had blinded these Jews to the point of ignorance of their history when they say, “we are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone” (8:33). People who will blindly trust in mom or dad’s religion without investigating their own need to be free might rightly ask, “who truly is my father” (8:44)?
They shut out the words of Jesus which make them free (8:36-37). Jesus said, “if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you” (8:36-37). Literally, “no place in you” could be translated, “has no room to work in you.” If we shut out the words of Jesus in our life, we need to ask, who truly is my father?
They did not do the deeds of their earthly father (8:40-41). After a repeated appeal to Abraham as their father, Jesus reminds them, “if you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham” (8:39). The New Testament legacy of Abraham is quoted in Romans 4, “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (4:3). When God spoke, Abraham humbly and obediently listened and followed. When God speaks in His word, do Abraham’s descendants today hear and humbly and obediently respond? If not, who is truly our father?
They indulged the desires of their spiritual father (8:43-44). The devil is a liar and murderer (8:44). It is that way because “he speaks from his own,” that is, it is not a question of what God wants, but the devil is manipulative to try to get what he wants. If God’s word is opened and rightly divided, will a person try to make God’s word bow to their desires? Or will they try to make their desires bow to the word of God? If the former, that person might ask, “who truly is my father?”
Graeber Road church of Christ