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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
John 8

 

 

Verses 12-39

John 8:12-13. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees —

These wasps were always stinging him; when he drove them away once, they quickly returned to attack him again: “The Pharisees” —

John 8:13-15. Therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them; Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.

He did not come for that purpose the first time; he will come, a second time, to judge all mankind.

John 8:16. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

You see, brethren, how our Lord Jesus claimed to be God, for he put himself here in such a connection with God as would be quite inconsistent for any mere man. This is what Paul meant when he said that Christ “thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” he thought it ‘not a prize to be grasped, for it was already his.

John 8:17-18. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.

He did that by the miracles which Christ wrought; and they proved that he was indeed sent of God.

John 8:19. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.

They thought they knew his reputed father Joseph; they thought they also knew all about Christ, the carpenter’s Son; but there is more in Christ, than carnal eyes can ever see. There is more in Christ than the most enlightened understanding, if it be but natural understanding, can ever perceive. These blind bats, the Pharisees, neither knew Christ nor the Father. If they had known him, they would have known the Father, for Christ is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.”

John 8:20. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.

Like our Lord, every child of God is immortal till his work is done. This ought to divest us of every kind of fear. The enemy cannot lay hands upon a Christian until his Lord wills it: and when his hour has come, then it behoves not the child of God to resist the Father’s will.

John 8:21. Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.

Oh, what a terrible sentence is that! I pray that the Lord may never say that to any of us, “Whither I go, ye cannot come.” That would be the death —knell of all our hopes, and would make our life one long banishment. Blessed be his name, we who have sought him, and have found him, know that; we shall not die in our sins; and whither he has gone, we shall go also.

John 8:22-23. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above:

You are of a groveling nature; your thoughts rise out of the abyss where every evil dwells.

John 8:23-24. Ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore, of you, that ye shall die in year sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

If ye have no faith in Christ as the Son of God, “ye shall die in your sins.” What an awful thing it will be to die in your sins! What cerements for your eternal burial! What a robe of fire in which to lie down for your long sleep, and then to find no sleep because of it! “Ye shall die in your sins.” I should like this short, stern sentence to ring in the ears of every unbeliever. This is not my word, but Christ’s own word, — the word of the most loving and tender Saviour: “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”

John 8:25-29. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith, unto them, Even the same that I said unto, you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me:

This made Christ’s life so calm, so deeply joyous amid all its sorrow. “He that sent me is with me.” Servant of God, canst thou say the same? If so, it is thy joy, thy confidence thy strength. God grant that we may each one of us realize that blessed presence of our Lord!

John 8:29. The Father hath not left me alone,’ for I do always those things that please him.

Christ could truly say that. Oh, that it might be true of us, too!

John 8:30-31. As he spake these words, many believed on him, Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

“’If you became my disciples because of what I said, will you believe what I shall yet say? Are you prepared to take in still further revelations, and to receive whatever I shall teach you? If so, ‘then are ye my disciples indeed’”

John 8:32. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Some who heard this message of our Lord caught at it; they were always on the watch for anything to cavil at and contradict, and therefore —

John 8:33-34. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

Or, “the slave of sin.” There is the test of your position; if you do the devil’s dirty work, you are his servant. If you delight in sin then you can hear your fetters clank if the ears of your conscience are But open: “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”

John 8:35-37. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed;

“I know what a boast you make of that.”

John 8:37-39. But ye seek to kill me, because, my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father.

Jesus had admitted that, as a matter of temporal descent; but he denied it as a matter of real fact.


Verses 28-59

John 8:28. Then said Jesus unto them; —

That is, to the Jews who were questioning and opposing him,-

John 8:28. When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

Blessed be God, there were many, after the crucifixion of Christ, who did. believe in him! Yet, alas! in others, the blindness of heart continued, and they would not see the Messiah in him who was crucified. We, who believe in the uplifted Saviour, can see the Father in the Son; and to us, faith has become a most blessed thing; and we know that he does nothing of himself, and that, as the Father has taught him, so he speaks.

John 8:29. And he that sent me is with me:

I commend that short sentence to all my Master’s servants, for there is great comfort in it, Your Lord could say this, and so can you if you are truly employed in his service: “He that sent me is with me?

John 8:29. The Father hath not left me alone;

There is another precious motto for you. Jesus could truly say, “The Father hath not left me alone;” and, as he did not leave his only-begotten and well-beloved Son, so he will not leave any of his sons.

John 8:29. For I do always those things that please him.

Let us labour earnestly to be able to say that. If there is anything which would not please God, let us have nothing to do with it; if it would not please God, it ought not to please us. Blessed shall that servant of the Lord be, who can sincerely say, “I do always those things that please him.”

John 8:30-32. As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

There is such a thing as a temporary faith; beware of it, I beseech you. Men appear to believe in Christ for a little while, like that seed which was sown upon the rock, which speedily sprang up, and just as quickly withered away. God-given faith is not temporary, but permanent: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” God gives us the faith which is able to endure the fire of persecution, and which continues steadfast even when exposed to the evil example of an ungodly world. “He that endureth to the end shall be saved;” but temporary faith brings only delusion, and ends in destruction.

John 8:33-34. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

Depend upon it, acts of sin breed habits of sin; and habits are the chains which slaves wear. How many there are who are bound to their lusts with many fetters! Once, they seemed to enjoy the sin, and to hold it in subjection; but now it has bound them, and they cannot escape from it.

John 8:35-36. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

If he sets you free from sin, you will never go back to its slavery again. There is no emancipation like that which Jesus brings, for it is eternal; when he snaps the fetter, he sets the believer free for ever.

John 8:37-38. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

It is a common characteristic of children to tell what they see; what they witness at home, they are sure to tell abroad. If you are a child of God, you will act and speak like your Father does; and if you are a child of the devil, you will act and speak like him. Our parentage may be discovered by our acts and our words: “I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.”

John 8:39. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

“That is, if you were the true spiritual children of faithful Abraham, you would act as he did.”

John 8:40-42. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

If any man has a right idea of God, and really loves God, if he will study the character of Christ, he will see that Christ is the very image of God in human flesh, and he will fall in love with Christ. That result is inevitable. Men form wrong ideas of God; and then, when they read the life of Christ,

they see no likeness between the Christ and their conception of God; nor is there any. But if they would take their idea of God from God’s own Word, then they would see that, in the person of the Man of Nazareth, the Divine character truly shines out, but it is toned down so as to meet the human eye without the excessive glare that would blind it. But it is the same Light of Light, the same Love of Love, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, “for in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” he is the express image of God, and he who truly knows God will know that Christ also is God, for Father and Son are one.

John 8:43-47. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin! And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

What a wonderful character was the character of Christ! We get a strange light cast upon it as we read this dialogue in which he endured such contradiction of sinners against himself. My brethren, in Christ there is all the tenderness of a woman; but do not think that he is effeminate, far from it. What masculine force, what vigor what power, there is in him! There are some people who, if we speak plainly against error, tell us that we are uncharitable, and that we have not the spirit of Christ. Is it so? Did there ever fall from any lips more burning words than those which we find here, when he is brought into conflict with his foes? The fact is, he is meek and lowly, but he is most courageous; he is genial and kind, but he is honest and true. He speaks with suavity and gentleness; but, at the same time, there is great force about every expression that he uses. He does not mince matters when he is dealing with sin. There is no velvet on his lips; he utters no honeyed phrases. Naked truth flashes, like a scimitar from its scabbard, when he has to deal with those who oppose the truth. “Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”

John 8:48. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

You know this form of answer; it is an old trick, when there is no case, abuse the plaintiff. So, when there is no answer to what Christ has said, call him a Samaritan, and say that he has a devil.

John 8:49-51. Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

What glorious gospel brilliance Christ suddenly flashes upon these men! He promises even to them that, if they will keep his saying, they shall live for ever, they shall be partakers of an eternal, unquenchable life. It might have seemed to us to be like casting pearls before swine to proclaim that great truth to such hearers; but our Master’s infinite wisdom does not permit us to think so.

John 8:52-56. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: yet ye have not known him,’ but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

He will not answer their questions, for they do not ask that they may learn. They ask that they may cavil; so he multiplies his riddles. He lets the light blind them yet more, Now he speaks, not so much of the undying life of believers, as of his own eternal existence, long before the prophets and Abraham of whom they had spoken.

John 8:57-58. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Before there was any Abraham, there was this glorious Christ of ours existing as the Eternal I AM, in all the infinity of his glory. Now comes a thoroughly characteristic Jewish answer, —

John 8:59. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them. and so passed by.

They believed that he claimed to be God, as he certainly did, and therefore they tried to stone him; and there is no foothold for those who say that Christ was a very good man, but only a man. If he was not the Son of God, he was not a good man, for no good man would have left upon his followers, and upon his foes, too, the impression that he claimed to be God, if he was not; and no good man could have claimed to be God if he was not really so. Rank him either amongst the grossest of impostors, or else as the Son of God, — one or the other. There is no halting-piece between the two. Blessed be thy name, O Son of Mary, thou art also the Son of the Highest, and as such we worship and adore thee!


Verses 29-59

Christ thus spake to his adversaries.

John 8:29. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone: for I do always those things that please him.

Brethren, what Christ could say, I trust many of his servants can also say in a like manner. “He that sent me is with me.” What power, what pleasure, must the presence of God give to his servants! “The Father hath not left me alone.” Oh! how blessed to feel that behind us is the sound of our Master’s feet, and that in us is the temple of his presence! We cannot, however, say, as Christ did, “I do always those things that please him,” for, alas! we have the remembrance of sin this morning, and have to confess it in his sight. But let us also remember that he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.

John 8:30-31. As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

It is not a mere profession that makes a man a saint; there must be a continuance of well-doing. We bind lads apprentice for a little time, but no man belongs to Christ unless he belongeth to him for ever. There must be an entire giving up of one’s self, in life and unto death, to the Lord’s cause.

John 8:32-34. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

There is this in the original, “Whosoever maketh sin.” It is not exactly, “Whosoever committeth it,” because if so, all would be the servants of sin, and God would have no sons at all. But it says in the original “Whosoever maketh sin,” that is, whosoever makes it his choice, and makes it the delight of his soul, whosoever doth this is the servant of sin, and is no son of God.

John 8:35. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

He may be in the house, and have slender privileges for a time, but these soon go away.

John 8:36. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

And give you the privileges of sons.

John 8:37-38. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed, but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

Men always act according to their natures. We shall find the polluted fountain sending forth filthy streams. We do not expect to hear sweet singing from a serpent, nor, on the other hand, do we expect hissing from the bird, but every creature is after its own kind. Christ, coming from the Father, reveals God: ungodly men, coming from the devil, reveal the devil.

John 8:39-42. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham but now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him. We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

You would see in me a brother; you would perceive in me the attributes of God, and, being made like unto God as his sons, would, love the God-head in me.

John 8:43-44. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.

Christ doth not speak very gentle words at all times. A deeply-rooted disease needs a sharp medicine, and he gives it. He uses the knife sometimes, and if there be a deadly ulcer that must be cut away, he knoweth how to do it with all the sternness of which his loving heart is capable.

John 8:44. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there was no truth in him.

The first murder was committed by his suggestion. Cain was guilty of it, but Satan instigated it. He hath ever been a man-killer, and so Christ says that inasmuch as they sought to kill him, they were worthy sons of their parent. “There is no truth in him.”

John 8:44. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own:

It is his own idiom. You may always know him by it.

John 8:44. For he is a liar, and the father of it.

The father of all liars, and of all lies.

John 8:45-46. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?

Oh! matchless argument! Now were they silent indeed. His whole life was before them; he had not lived in secret and yet he could appeal to his whole life, from the first day even to this time, and say, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” It is this that weakens our testimony for God that we are so imperfect and full of sin. Let us seek to imitate the Master, for the more clean we are from these imperfections, the more shall we be able to shut the mouths of our adversaries.

John 8:47-48. He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil.

Always abuse your adversary if you cannot answer him: this is always the devil’s tactic. When he cannot overthrow religion, then he seeks to append opprobrious titles to those who profess it. It is an old and stale trick, and has lost much of its force. Our Saviour did not answer the accusation of his being a Samaritan, but inasmuch as what they said about his having a devil would touch his doctrine, he answered that.

John 8:49-51 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you. If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

The sting of it shall be taken away; he may fall asleep; he will do so, but he shall not see death.

John 8:52-56. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil Abraham is dead, and the prophets: and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say that he is your God: yet ye have not know him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.

There is a great force in the original language here, “He was glad.” There was an excessive joy which holy men had in looking forward to the coming of Christ. I do not think that we give ourselves enough room for joy in our religion. There are some persons who think it the right thing to restrain their emotions. They have no burstings forth of joy, and seldom a shout of sacred song. But oh! my brethren, if there is anything that deserves the flashing eye, and the leaping foot, and the bounding heart, it is the great truth that Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners, even the chief. Let us be glad so often as we make mention of his name.

John 8:57. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

Why, he was hardly thirty, but sorrow had made him appear old.

John 8:58. Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was I am.

Here he claims his Deity to the fullest extent, and those who can read the New Testament, and profess to believe it, and yet not see Christ as a claimant of Deity, must be sinfully blind.

John 8:59. Then, took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

This is always the sinner’s argument against the right: first, hard words, and then stones.

This exposition consisted of readings from John 8:29-59. Mark 14:1-9. John 12:1-7.


Verses 31-59

John 8:31. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

For there were many, in Christ’s day, coming to him for a while, and then going away from him; professing to believe, and then stumbling when Christ proclaimed some doctrine which struck them as being strange and hard to receive. Our Lord Jesus tells them that constancy is necessary to true discipleship. It is of no use to start running in the race unless we continue in the course till the prize is won. We are not true pilgrims to heaven merely because we cross the threshold of our door; we must keep on, and on, and on, till we reach the golden streets of the New Jerusalem.

John 8:32. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

That is the result of being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. With Christ, who is the truth, to be our Teacher, and the Holy Spirit to bless his words, we come to know the truth; and the operation of the truth upon the heart is to deliver us from the bondage of sin and of error.

John 8:33. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

What a falsehood this was of theirs! They were at that very time in bondage to the Romans; they had been subdued and conquered: and, a little while after, they themselves confessed that they had no king but Cesar. Men are not very chary about telling falsehoods when they wish to resist Christ: they will do anything rather than believe on him.

John 8:34. Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

The man who habitually lives in sin is not a free man, for he is still a slave to sin. If he finds pleasure and delight in disobeying God, he has no right to talk about being a free man. His chains are rattling on his wrists; what can he know about freedom?

John 8:35. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the son abideth even.

A servant may be dismissed from the household, but a son may not. If we were only servants of God, we might fall from grace, and perish; but if we are the sons of God, we never shall. If we ever did, in truth, call God “Father,” we shall always be able to use that blessed title, for the relationship of fatherhood is not a temporary one, sad cannot come to an end.

John 8:36. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

If you have the freedom of sonship, you are free indeed. There are none so free in our Father’s house as his children are.

John 8:37-39. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

The real descendants of “the father of the faithful” are themselves faithful; that is, believers. The father of believers has believers for his children: “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” Our Lord had admitted that these Jews were Abraham’s seed according to the flesh; but he proved that they were not Abraham’s seed in the high and spiritual sense, since they were not like him whom they claimed for a father.

John 8:40-41. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father.

He had not told them who that father was; but as it is a standing rule that men do the deeds of their father, the genuineness of the descent which they claimed could be tested by their likeness to their father.

John 8:41-42. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me:

Any man who is born of God must love Jesus Christ. The purity of his motives, the loveliness of his character, the charms of his person, would all be sure to win the heart of a man who was truly born of God.

John 8:42-43. For I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

“You are dull of comprehension, you are hardened in heart, you are proud in spirit, you are just the opposite of everything that is good, and therefore you cannot hear my word,” saith Christ; “and this is proof positive that you do not love God, and that you are not the children of God.”

John 8:44. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.

Remember from whose lips these words fell, even from the lips of the gentle Jesus. Honest speech is the surest token of a loving heart; but, nowadays, if a man preaches the truth plainly and faithfully, men say that he is hard and unkind; but if a man glosses over the truth, and alters it according to his own idea of what will please men, then they say, “He is a kindly-disposed and large-hearted man.” I should be disposed to doubt whether he has any heart at all, if he will sooner see sinners damned than offend them by proclaiming the truth. I thank God that some of us care little about offending those who offend God. If men will not yield themselves unto the Lord, we want not their friendship, but we will strive to make them uneasy in their rebellion, and if they resolve to be lost, we will at least be clear of their blood.

John 8:44. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Falsehood is his natural element. When Satan deceives, he only acts according to his nature, which is blackened with falsehood through and through.

John 8:45-46. And because I tell you the truth, ye Believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin?

What a grand challenge! None of us can speak like that, except in a very modified sense; but Christ, standing before his enemies, who gnashed their teeth at him, and would have given their eyes to be able to fix come fault upon him, yet boldly says to them, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?”

John 8:46-51. And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

This statement quite staggered them; yet it is true. To believers,— It is not death to die; they simply pass out of this world into a larger and yet more glorious life. They descend not to death, but they rise to immortality.

John 8:52-53. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?

“What dost thou pretend to be? Someone greater than Abraham and the prophets?”

John 8:54-56. Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is our God: yet ye have not knownt him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham —

“As ye call him “—

John 8:56-57. Rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

They allowed a wide margin in specking of our Saviour’s age, for he was only thirty-three years old. It may be true that the sorrows of his life had so marred his countenance that he looked more like a man of fifty than one of three-and-thirty. I cannot tell, nor do I know whether that is what they meant; but it is singular that they should have said to him, “Thou art not yet fifty years old.”

John 8:58. Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

They had asked him, “Whom makest thou thyself?” and now they have his answer: “Before Abraham was, I am,” saith Christ. It is the very name by which God revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush, “I AM.” Yet Jesus takes this title to himself: “Before Abraham was,” — not, “I was;” notice that; but, “I am;” as if his life was one continued present existence, as indeed it is, for with God there is no past or future, but all things are ever-present to his infinite mind. When Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” he claimed the Godhead, he declared that he was certainly God, self-existent from all eternity.

John 8:59. Then took they up stones to cast at him:

They counted him a blasphemer, and so he was if he was not all he claimed to be. I have heard of some who reverence Christ, but do not believe him to be God; but how can that be? He evidently made himself out to be God, and this was the great charge the Jews brought against him. For this, indeed, they put him to death, because he made himself equal with God. If he was not equal with God,— if he was not really God,— he led men to think that he was; and if this was false, it was a great sin not consistent with the holy character of Christ. If he was not God, he was the grossest impostor who ever visited this world. But he was God, and nothing less; yet because he claimed this, the Jews took up stones to cast at him.

John 8:59. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Glory be to his holy name for ever and ever!


Verses 37-59

We will read, from the Revised Version, two passages which record attempts made to kill our Lord before his time had come. You will see, from the sermon, why we read them. (See Luke 4:16-30)

John 8:37-59. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; yet ye seek to kill me, because my word hath not free course in you. I speak the things which I have seen with my Father: and ye also do the things which ye heard from your father. They answered and said unto him, Our father is Abraham. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I heard from God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the works of your father. They said unto him, We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. But because I say the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convicteth me of sin? If I say truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth the words of God: for this cause ye hear them not, because ye are not of God. The Jews answered and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye dishonour me. But I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my word, he shall never see death. The Jews said unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my word, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing: it is my Father that glorifieth me of whom ye say, that he is your God; and ye have not known him: but I know him; and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be like unto you, a liar: but I know him, and keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad. The Jews therefore said unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. They took up stones therefore to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

This exposition consisted of readings from Luke 4:16-30; and John 8:37-59. (R.V.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on John 8:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/john-8.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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