Read John 8:42–47
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Evidence is the key in any trial. If you were on trial for being Jesus’ disciple, would there be any evidence to convict you?
All over the world, acts of unspeakable violence are regularly committed in the name of various religions—including Christianity. The zealots usually claim a righteous cause for their actions,
but this can be comprehensively rejected as a delusional lie. These people are not committed to good but to evil. Such is the thrust of Jesus’ teaching in these verses, a teaching that is all the more startling for being addressed directly to the guardians of religious orthodoxy of his day. Whilst it may be shocking, it is the logical conclusion to the argument he has been advancing
in the “courtroom.”
Having assumed the role of judge in the ongoing “trial,” Jesus has already argued persuasively that his accusers are guilty of murderous intent (John 8:37,40) and lying (John 8:37). This alone invalidates their claim to be Abraham’s children (John 8:39), which raises the question: who then is their father? There is only one possible answer, not yet articulated. Finally, Jesus openly identifies their pedigree: children of the devil (44)! Murder and lying make them a chip off the old block (44), and such is their commitment to their father that they willfully refuse the truth of Christ without a shred of evidence to justify their rejection (45,46). Ironically, it is their own attempted smear of Jesus on the basis of his presumed illegitimacy (41) that prompts his devastating revelation of their true paternity.
Onlookers in the “courtroom” and readers of the Gospel alike must decide which carries more weight: the Jews’ assessment of Jesus or Jesus’ assessment of the Jews. What is crystal clear from this hostile exchange is that sitting on the fence in regard to Jesus’ claims is simply not an option (Matt. 12:30).
According to Jesus a tree is known by its fruit. Applying this standard, the identification of the good/bad in this account becomes evident. What kind of fruit do you bear?