Summary: This section of John’s gospel closes with the resounding climax of Jesus’ claim to be eternal deity. Jesus had been given glory by the Father, but He would receive none from those who did not know or listen to the Father.
JOHN 8: 48-59
JESUS THE ETERNAL ONE
[Mark 3:22 – 27]
This section of John’s gospel closes with the resounding climax of Jesus’ claim to be eternal deity. Jesus already has made numerous absolute claims. For example: He is the Word of God, the Living Water, the Bread of Life, the Light of Life, and the True Light. He comes from the Father and not only speaks His truth, He is the truth. His fellow country men’s inability to see God’s truth betrays their separation from the Father and His purposes. Jesus had been given glory by the Father, but He would receive none from those who did not know or listen to the Father.
I. SEEK GOD’S GLORY, 48-50.
II. KEEP GOD’S WORD, 51-55.
III. THE I AM, 56-59.
The opponents of Jesus remain totally unconvinced by the Word of God He has spoken so they return accusations to Him in verse 48. The Jews answered and said to Him, "Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?"
Jesus has just announced to His opponents that they are children of the devil (8:44). Not to be out done they say that He must be a Samaritan and demon-possessed. This is a radical and religious belittling or dishonoring. It was about the meanest comment that was readily available to them. "Samaritan" (John 4) refers to those people living north of Jerusalem near Shechem, who had compromised the purity of their faith and race. By Jesus’ day, the enmity between Jews and Samaritans was intense (Luke 10:29 – 37). This slur likely had become a curse, much like "heretic" or "pagan idolater." Jesus does not even take the time to refute it.
The accusation that Jesus has a demon suggested more that He was mad, unclean, and evil. It also suggests that He was controlled by Satan. How ironic that after He said their father was the devil (8:44), they said He is demon-possessed! It was a common accusation against Jesus (7:20; 8:52:10:20; Mt. 9:34; 11:18; 12:24ff; Mk. 3:22ff).
In verse 49 Jesus defends the power of God working through Him. Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.
Jesus’ words were not those of a demon-possessed person. He was not seeking self-exaltation, but the honor of His Father. His continual practice was to honor His Father with the power God had given Him. Their attempt to dishonor Him was an attack on His Father. [King Hanun’s attack on David’s authorized messengers was an insult against the king in 2 Sam. 10:1-6. Walvoord, John; Zuck, Roy; The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 306]
The charge of demon-possession is serious (also John 7:20; 8:52; 10:20). Rather than seeing God’s work in Jesus, His opponents point to Satan as being behind Jesus. This charge appears in the Synoptic Gospels as well, where Jesus considers the glib confusing of God and Satan to be serious and unforgivable. READ Mark 3:22–27. The inability to see God’s hand is one thing, to call God’s work the work of the devil is unpardonable (Mt. 9:34; 11:18; 12:24ff; Mk. 3:22ff).
In verse 50 Jesus repudiates their accusation that He is self-promoting and self-seeking. "But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges.
Far from being the product of demon-possession, the words Jesus proclaims are the very words God has given Him The words that He has just spoken are the perfect revelation of the Word of the Father. And the mission He is undertaking that they think prideful is at God bidding. It was God’s glory that Jesus seeks to promote by obediently delivering His message. They might think He is seeking to gain glory for Himself. He was not seeking glory for Himself, but God was seeking glory for Him.
They were judging Him and acting as though their judgment is superior to His and higher that His. Jesus though entrusted His actions and words that they think are selfish and arrogant to God. It is before God that all actions and motives are to be judged. Jesus sought not His glory but the Father’s and it was God’s judgment that is true, not theirs, and in that Jesus found contentment.
II. KEEP GOD’S WORD, 51-55.
In verse 51 Jesus makes a definitive claim about life and death. "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death."
With the formula of truly, truly Jesus empathically emphasizes the life giving potency of His words. His words give life, but it is not magical. Jesus says that a man must keep His word if he is to enter into life. Keep means to observe, pay attention to, or to fulfill.