“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 have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God 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 desires. 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 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
Thoughts: Today, to prove paternity, all we have to do is have DNA testing. It was not so in Jesus' day. In verse 39 the people claimed to have Abraham as their father. In verse 40 they claimed to have God as their father. But Jesus claims in verse 44 that their real father is the devil. Jesus gave some criteria for being from and belonging to God- that 1) they would recognize him- who was sent from God; that 2) they would be able to hear and respond to His words (which are truth). To really belong to our Father, we should imitate His works by imitating His visible Son, Jesus. If we cannot see that Jesus shows us God- how can we imitate the Father? How can we do His will? The greatest lie is to not recognize holiness when it is right in front of us. Jesus was saying if they lied about Him they lied about God, and the father (beginner) of all lies is the devil. It is important to believe in the holiness and truth of God's revelation in Christ.
Prayer: May my life reflect you, Father. May people be able to look at me and see you in me.
John Calvin Abridged: He calls them of "their father the devil"- the ultimate enemy of God- because they imitate the devil and are instigated by him to fight against Christ. When the scripture calls us "children of God" it is not because of some transmission of substance (as the Manichees believe), but the grace of His Spirit which gives us new life. When we are born children of the devil it is not creation's fault, but sin's fault. The two faults of the devil mentioned by Christ are cruelty and falsehood.