Jesus Fights with Religious Leaders for Us (Part 2)

Reading Time: 7 Minutes

An amazing promise from Jesus

John 8.48-51The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”

49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the judge. 51 Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.”

If this is the first time for you to read through John’s Gospel, you may be surprised that Jewish leaders believed that Jesus had a demon. If you read the verses that come before this statement, it will make more sense to you.

Also, please note that Jesus never argued because he enjoyed putting people in their place. As he was fighting with the religious leaders (the Jews), he was literally fighting for their lives. Apparently, the only way to get their attention was to “get in their face” and to challenge their notions of how God should act.

And now, some good news!

In the early 1980s the elderly mother of one of our deacons was dying. She had her head turned to the wall and was talking. The deacon said to her, “What are you saying, mom?” She replied, “I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to Jesus.” Momentarily after that conversation, she left this earth to be with her Savior in heaven.

This story and many similar ones that I have experienced put a large exclamation point on what Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death” (verse 51). People in Christ don’t die; Jesus takes them by the hand and leads into to the next phase of the best life possible.

How many times does Jesus have to say something to make his point?

John 8.52-56The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?”

54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, ‘He is our God,’ 55 though you do not know him. But I know him; if I would say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.”

As you read or re-read the Gospel of John, notice how often Jesus says something similar to what he said in verse 55: “I do know him and keep his word.” Jesus can be trusted completely, because he never did anything separate from the plans and purposes of the heavenly Father.

Beginning with John 5, this was Jesus’ consistent message (possibly 46 times in all). Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise” (John 5.19).

The Jewish leaders could not receive what Jesus had to say, because they missed the important point that Jesus had come from heaven to reveal the Father (John 1.18) and that Jesus never acted independent of the Father’s will.

Pick up stones or fall on your knees.

John 8.57-59 Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”

58 Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”

59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

The Jewish leaders knew that only God could claim to be “I AM.” They were familiar with the “I AM” statements of Isaiah and believed that Jesus certainly didn’t fit their image of who God is.

Isaiah 43.10-11
You are my witnesses, says the Lord,
and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
11 I, I am the Lord,
and besides me there is no savior.

The religious authorities believed Jesus should be stoned for his own “I AM” statement, and were ready to finish him off.

The man the church knows as the Apostle Paul joined the religious authorities in the belief that Jesus should be stoned. He didn’t get a chance to throw a rock at Jesus, but he made life miserable for many of Jesus’ followers.

Throughout the ages, Jesus has defeated his enemies by making them his friends and did just that with Paul. Jesus gave Paul a personal meeting that is recorded in Acts 9. The result was that “he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting'” (Acts 9.4-5).

When Paul met Jesus face-to-face, he dropped his persecution campaign, fell on his knees and called Jesus “Lord.”

Your Turn

I am amazed at what kind of truth an argument can provide for us when Jesus is speaking. Today, let’s be comforted by Jesus’ words that people who live in a relationship with him will never die. Let’s imitate Jesus and strive to only do what we find to be God’s will. Let’s get on our knees and declare Jesus to be the Lord of our lives.

Today’s Prayer

Dear Jesus, you are absolutely amazing. We praise you for revealing the Father by showing us his character and nature in your words and actions. You are worthy for us to bow our knees and call you Lord today. Praise your name!


  1. The daily devotion for our Wednesday group in the Bible app today had this profound statement. “It is the familiarity with God’s nature that comes from a lifestyle of prayer that makes us indestructible.” We see this in Jesus life here in John. As Jesus spent time knowing His Father, by communicating through prayer, those who wished to destroy Him were thwarted. We aren’t promised we won’t have adversity, but spending time talking to and listening to our Father through Jesus, His Son, our hearts and souls are indestructible. Father God, You are amazing! Protect our hearts, Lord, from fear and worry – keep our thoughts on Your majesty and power! I love You, Lord! Amen

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am not sure we would have recognized Jesus either, except by the will of God. Let us continue to pray for eyes to see and ears to hear. Thank you for this instruction, Bob.

    Liked by 1 person

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