Bible Studies/John 8
QUESTION: Just one more question... Doesn't John 8: 31-47 seem to be saying Jesus told the Jews that Satan was their father? It seems pretty clear, but I know based on your prior answers to my questions you do not believe this. What do you believe John 8 is saying?
ANSWER: 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." 33 They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?" 34 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father. " 39 "Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do the things Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the things your own father does." "We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself."
42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he 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 desire. 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 He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."
Jesus is not saying that that these particular Jews were physically children of Satan. Rather, He was saying that, despite their physical relationship to Abraham, they were revealing their "relationship" with Satan because of the way they chose to believe and act.
In Bible times, the terms "son" and "father" were sometimes used a bit differently. In our modern culture, we define these words primarily in terms of physical relationship. But, in that culture, these words also implied a relationship or association other than merely physical.
For example, Jesus is called the Son of Man and the Son of God. Satan is called the father of lies. James and John were called sons of thunder.
Here is what Jesus is saying in this passage. The Jews were claiming to be children of Abraham. Jesus said that it is not enough to associate with Abraham merely on a physical level. They needed to associate with him on a philosophical level, as well. In other words, how can they claim to be associated with him when they abandon his faith and reject God?
By comparison, they chose to associate themselves philosophically with Satan, choosing to believe his lies.
I hope this helps.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks, I guess that does make some sense. I think it's just hard for me to see it differently because literally til I was around age 16 I was under the impression that it was common knowledge that Jews were Satan's decedents. To me that was just a fact no different than saying black people come from Africa or whatever. I think it's hard when you are brought up to believe something to ever completely convince yourself otherwise. Which I guess can be a good thing or a bad thing. I was raised to believe in God and accept Jesus as God's son, and because of that I have never been able to dismiss that despite having been accused of practicing a Jew religion that is not of our people. Kind of makes me think a little about how I want to raise my kids as far as not presenting anything as the truth if I cannot be 100 percent certain. Thanks again for answering my questions.
Everyone has opinions. The only way to discover truth is to go to the highest authority--God Himself. Everything we need to know is found in the Scriptures.
By reading the Scriptures with an open mind, I don't think anyone can come away with the notion that someone is evil simply because he is Jewish ... or any other race. Keep in mind, Jesus was born a Jew. So being Jewish cannot alone make one a bad person.
Yes, the nation of Israel failed to faithfully keep God's commands, and so they faced judgment and have temporarily been set aside in His plan. Yet we are all sinners and have failed God. And He still chooses to use us, and to show us mercy and grace.
Help your children to learn the truth. Help them to learn and understand the Bible. If you haven't already, find a good evangelical Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church where you all can learn, grow, fellowship, and serve.
Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ and in Him alone to save you? Have you been born again? (See John 3:1-21.) What about your children?
Please feel free to write any time.