Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:42–44
The Devil attacks people. He tells us things like, “You’re fat. You’re ugly. Everybody hates you. You ought to kill yourself. Don’t go back to that church.” So many of the maladies that people suffer in our culture are rooted in Satan’s deception and lies.
Jesus was disputing with the Pharisees before a large crowd. Although these men had persistently rejected Jesus, the Lord had been patient and long-suffering toward them. Now Jesus was about to get pretty rough with the religious leaders. “If God were your Father,” He told them, “you would love Me. You are of your father the devil, because you want to do the things he does” (see John 8:42–44). This obviously provoked the Jews to anger.
The Accusations of Jesus
What are the desires of the Devil that Jesus accused the Pharisees of having toward Him? First, the Devil is a murderer. Wherever we see murderous activity, we can know that the Devil is behind it. Second, the Devil is a liar. “When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). Jesus knew that in their hearts, the religious leaders wanted to destroy and kill Him.
Throughout history, the Devil has inspired men to murder, deception, and falsehood. As Christians, we should never forget this, because the Devil works overtime to try to infiltrate the church with the same deceptive philosophies by which he has duped the world. There is so little proof of any validity to the theory of evolution, yet Christians come along and say, “The church has historically opposed progress and science, and we don’t want to be a bunch of old-fashioned dummies.” That’s an infiltration of satanic philosophy into the church.
The Devil attacks people personally as well. Young girls who are afflicted with anorexia or bulimia weigh ninety pounds, yet think, I’m fat. Psychologists and philosophers have all kinds of theories about what’s going on. I’ll tell you: the Devil is deceiving people.
Jesus continued to lay into the religious leaders: “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (John 8:47). There comes a time when we have to go toe-to-toe with people. Yes, we need to be loving and compassionate, but we cannot withhold truth. Sometimes we have to let the chips fall where they may.
Jesus closed the conversation with a bang: “You don’t know My Father, but I do. If I said I didn’t know Him, I’d be a liar, just as you are.” He didn’t pull any punches. “You may not receive Me, but your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day.”
The Pharisees shot back with hostility, “You’re not even fifty years old, and You’ve seen Abraham?”
The I AM
Jesus emphatically declared, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). Jesus was not simply claiming to have preexisted. By taking to Himself the name by which God had revealed Himself to Moses: I AM that I AM (see Exodus 3:14), He was claiming to be God. The Jews knew it, and they wanted to kill Him for blasphemy.
We live in a world that hated Jesus and will, to a large degree, hate us too. But let’s be bold and stand for God in this wicked and perverse generation. May we gain discernment into the activity of the Devil so that he will not deceive us.