John 8:37-47 (ESVST)
I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
Jesus here is still in a conversation or more of an argument with the Jews. Jesus had told them that if they were truly his disciples, they would abide in his word and they will know the truth and the truth will set them free. The Jews replied and said that they were offsprings of Abraham and were never slaves to anyone. Jesus starts this verse by saying that he acknowledged that they were offsprings of Abraham but then he told them that even though they are, they seek to kill him because his words find no place in him. What Jesus meant was that his words finds no place in their hearts. They are unable to accept his words. His words finds no room in their hears.
Jesus then tells them that what He is talking about he has seen but what they are doing, they heard from their father, referring here to the devil as we will see just now.
39 They answered him, “ Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “ If you were Abraham ‘s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.
The Jews then said to him again that they were children of Abraham. This because they understood that Jesus implied that they were not by his statement in the above verse. Then Jesus told them that if they were Abraham’s children, they would be doing what Abraham did instead of trying to kill him because he had told them the truth. Jesus tells them, this is contrary to what Abraham’s did.
41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “ We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father —even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “ If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
Jesus then tells them that since you are not doing what Abraham did and instead you want to kill me, you are therefore doing the works of your father the devil. The Jews then replied and said that they were not born of sexual immorality and that they had one father who is God.
One way to look at this is to say that the Jews said this to Jesus because they understood Jesus to mean that although they think their father is God, they were actually wrong because their father is not God, this naturally meant to them that Jesus was saying that their mother committed adultery. To suggest that someone had one father by law but another father by nature was to suggest that one’s mother was guilty of adultery.
Another way to look at it is that because they knew that Jospeh was not biologically Jesus’s father and not understanding and believing how Jesus was conceived, the Jews might have been saying that don’t think that we are like you. In a way accusing Mary of Adultery.
Jesus then replied to them and said that if they were indeed God’s children, they would love him since it is God who sent him.
43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.
Jesus then told them that the reason why they don’t understand him is that they cannot bear to hear his words. Now, this meant that the reason they cannot understand Jesus was that they are unable to understand him. The word cannot in Greek means to be unable. So, this is not a question of refusing to understand but it is a question of being unable or not having the ability to understand. So, Jesus says to them you cannot understand my words because you are unable to.
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’ s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
Jesus then convicts them of the highest sin by saying that they are of their father the devil and not God or Abraham. He says just like you want to kill me, your father the devil is also a murderer and was a murderer from the beginning so, you do what you have seen and heard from your father. Jesus said to them, you father the devil does not stand in the truth because he has no truth in him. When your father the devil lies, it is in his nature for he is the father of lies. This is Jesus saying it as it is and not trying to sugar coat anything. Since your father is a liar by nature and a father of lies and you are his children, you cannot, you are unable to understand the truth because you cannot understand what is not in your nature. You are of your father the liar and you only understand lies.
46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Jesus then asked them which one of them was accusing him of sin. What sin has he really done, telling the truth, is that a sin? Jesus asked them, if I am telling the truth, why do they not believe him. Jesus then told them that whoever is of God, hears the words of God and whoever is not, does not hear the words of God. Then Jesus told them the final blow and said, the reason why you are unable to hear, is simply because you are not of God.