The Jews Say Jesus Has a Demon
The Jews answered Him, Are we not right when we say You are a Samaritan and that You have a demon [that You are under the power of an evil spirit]?
John 8:48 (AMP)
The leaders could not refute our Lord’s statements, so they attacked His person. Some student’s think that the leaders’ statement in John 8:41—“We are not illegitimate children and born out of fornication”—was a slur on our Lord’s own birth and character. After all, Mary was with child before she and Joseph were married. But the personal attacks in John 8:48 are quite obvious. For a Jew to be called a Samaritan was the grossest of insults, and then to be called a demon-possessed person only added further insult.
Note that Jesus did not even dignify the racial slur with an answer. (No doubt there was also in this the suggestion that, like the Samaritans, Jesus was a heretic.) They were dishonoring Him, but He was honoring the Father. You will recall that He made it clear that it was impossible to honor the Father without honoring the Son (John 5:23). They were seeking their own glory, but He was seeking the glory that belongs to God alone. Tradition-centered religion, without Christ, is often a “mutual admiration society” for people who want the praise of men.
Jesus answered; I am not possessed by a demon. On the contrary, I honor and reverence My Father and you dishonor (despise, vilify, and scorn) Me.
However, I am not in search of honor for Myself. [I do not seek and am not aiming for My own glory.] There is One Who [looks after that; He] seeks [My glory], and He is the Judge.
I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone observes My teaching [lives in accordance with My message, keeps My word], he will by no means ever see and experience death.
John 8:49-51 (AMP)
I Am Not Possessed By A Demon
The first part of the charge was too futile: if taken literally, it was both absurd and impossible; they did not believe it themselves, and therefore our Lord does not stop a moment to refute it; but he answers to the second with the utmost meekness and conclusiveness: I honor and reverence God. This is what no demon can do, nor any man who is under such influence.
Jesus was clearly proclaiming Himself as the oracle of God, but it wasn’t for selfish reasons. He was doing it because it was the truth and it was for their benefit. That made Him a faithful witness (Proverbs 14:5), as He said in John 7:18 – “Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.”
Jesus had warned them that they would die in their sins because of their unbelief, and now He invited them to trust His Word and “never see and experience death” (John 8:51). He had said this before in His synagogue sermon (John 6:39-40, 44, 54). Once again, the leaders lacked the spiritual insight to understand what He was saying. Abraham was dead, yet he was a godly man; and the faithful prophets were also dead. This kind of talk only convinced them the more that He had a demon! (John 7:20).
Jews: We are even more confident now that You are demon-possessed. Just go down the list: Abraham died, the prophets all died. Yet You say, “If you keep My word, you will never taste death.”
John 8:52 (VOICE)
By claiming to be the Lord of death, He was claiming to be God (John 5:21-29). This was not an honor He made for Himself; the Father gave it to Him. In fact, Abraham (whom they claimed as their father) saw His day and rejoiced! Instead of rejoicing, they were revolting and trying to kill Him.
These are the same people who “believed on him” in John 8:30. But Jesus perceived that they hadn’t gone far enough with their faith, so He urged them on to being disciples so that they could experience true freedom. They took offense at His implication that they weren’t already free, and this whole dialogue began. Their statements here prove He was right, of course. Their faith in Him was very shallow and short-lived. Then they said He was demon possessed.
Jesus’ teaching caused some of His hearers to think He was demon possessed or insane. Obviously this was not true.
So, how did Jesus respond to this?
He didn’t even try to explain Himself. They were of their father, the devil (John 8:44), and therefore couldn’t understand His words (John 8:47). Jesus was so different than most modern preachers who are starved for the approval of those they minister to.
These people were convinced Jesus had a devil, because of His statements in John 8:51 about those who keep His sayings never dying. This isn’t true in the natural, but it is true in the spiritual. Likewise, lots of people reject many of the claims of Jesus and Scripture, because they are carnally minded and not spiritually minded.
Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died; remember? Prophets—are any of them still alive? No. Who do You think You are?
John 8:53 (VOICE)
Jesus was greater than Abraham and all the prophets, but He didn’t respond to that part of their criticism. He zeroed in on the part where they said, “Who do You think You Are?” He made it clear that He wasn’t making Himself to be anything. It was His Father who honored Him (John 8:54).
Jesus: If I were trying to make Myself somebody important, it would be a waste of time. That kind of fame is worth nothing. It is the Father who is behind Me, urging Me on, giving Me praise. You say, “He is our God,” but you are not in relationship with Him. I know Him intimately; even if I said anything other than the truth, I would be a liar, like you. I know Him, and I do as He says. Your father Abraham anticipated the time when I would come, and he celebrated My coming.
John 8:54-56 (VOICE)
This verse makes it clear that the one whom Jesus had been addressing as His Father was the one the Jews called their God. Therefore, Jesus called God His Father.
Jesus had told these people that they were slaves (John 8:32-34) and that the devil was their father (John 8:44), and here, He called them liars. Some people would consider these terrible things to say, even if they were true. But Jesus was love, manifest in the flesh (1 John 4:8 with 1 Timothy 3:16). He told them the truth in order to bring freedom to them (John 8:32). If our motive is love, it’s not wrong to say these types of things to people. It all depends on what’s in our hearts.
Abraham had a glimpse of what Jesus would do. He saw it in the fact that his heir who would carry the blessing of God wasn’t the firstborn but the son of promise (Galatians 4:21-26). This illustrated salvation by faith instead of works. He also got a glimpse of God providing a sacrifice for us on Mount Moriah when the Lord gave Abraham a ram to sacrifice instead of Isaac (Genesis 22:10-13).
Jews: You aren’t even 50 years old, yet You have seen and talked with Abraham?
John 8:57 (VOICE)
God did not give Abraham some special vision of our Lord’s life and ministry, but He did give him the spiritual perception to “see” these future events. Certainly Abraham saw the birth of the Messiah in the miraculous birth of his own son, Isaac. He certainly saw Calvary when he offered Isaac to God (Gen. 22). In the priestly ministry of Melchizedek (Gen. 14:17-24), Abraham could see the heavenly priesthood of the Lord. In the marriage of Isaac, Abraham could see a picture of the marriage of the Lamb (Gen. 24).
Jesus: I tell you the truth; I AM before Abraham was born.
John 8:58 (VOICE)
His statement can be translated, “Before Abraham came into being, I AM.” Again, this was another affirmation of His divine sonship; and the Jewish leaders received it as such. He had once again made Himself equal with God (John 5:18), and this was the sin of blasphemy, worthy of death (Lev. 24:16).
The people picked up stones to hurl at Him, but Jesus slipped out of the temple. Their murderous rage would have to wait.
John 8:59 (VOICE)
Jesus was divinely protected and simply walked away. His hour had not yet come. We cannot help but admire His courage as He presented the truth and invited blind religious men to trust Him and be set free.
The most difficult people to win to the Savior are those who do not realize that they have a need. They are under the condemnation of God, yet they trust their religion to save them. They are walking in the darkness and not following the light of life. They are sharing a “living death” because of their bondage to sin; and, in spite of their religious deeds, they are dishonoring the Father and the Son. These are the people who crucified Jesus Christ, and Jesus called them the children of the devil.
Whose child are you?
Is God your Father because you have received Jesus Christ into your life?
Or is Satan your father because you are depending on a counterfeit righteousness, “works righteousness,” not the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ?
If God is your Father, then heaven is your home. If He is not your Father, then hell is your destiny.
It is truly a matter of life or death!
DECLARATION OF FAITH
I honor and respect my heavenly Father with a whole heart and every ounce of my will and strength.
I do not try to bring about honor and glory for myself – that is God’s business and He is a lot better at it than I am.
It does not concern me when people scorn and despise me for what God is doing in my life. It is He who has judged me in Jesus and declared me to be righteous. If anyone has a problem with it, they will have to take it up with Him.
Because I have held His Word as precious and do those things that He has commanded me to do, He has made His declaration that I will never again experience spiritual death.
I pray this declaration of faith in Jesus’s name!