42 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.
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
44 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.
45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.
50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
Here the Jewish leaders attack the birth of Jesus, insinuating Him to be born of fornication.
Jesus is claiming divine birth; the Jews look at his two parents and assume Jesus was illegitimate. I sense Jesus was very angry at this point—the Jewish leaders were heaping accusations upon Jesus, and Jesus, being God, is able to exhibit both wrath and judgment that I could never divinely do. Here I think of Mary, the one who had to endure the shame and scorn of being assumed to be naught but a fornicator all of her married life, which is now over 30 years. There are many who engage in Mariolotry, which is the making of Jesus’ mother to be divine, which she was not. But the Bible is very clear: here is the mother of God, and she will be accorded great respect throughout eternity for both her honor in bringing Jesus into the world and her endured scorn for doing so.
Some early commentators, I was surprised to learn, maintain the virginity of Mary continued after the birth of Jesus, and so try to reinterpret the Scriptures, telling us that the brothers of Jesus mentioned are merely relatives. Beware of those who reinterpret Scripture, for they wrest the Word to their own downfall! The best understanding of the Scripture was the Joseph and Mary did marry, and have normal relationships, which ended quite naturally in half-siblings for Jesus. At one point in the Scripture, some commentators feel that His family came to take Him away, perhaps feeling that He was crazy to be uttering the foolish things He was saying. (Matt. 12: 47, “Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside to speak to you.” His terse reply, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “ Here are my mother and my brothers.” Did Jesus reply thus because His mother and brothers were trying to whisk Him out of the limelight and the danger? I do not know, but it is possible.
Jesus does know the end of those speaking to Him, and He is quite pointed in His response, “You are of your father the devil, and the works of your father you will do.”
One of the tests of being a follower of Jesus is that when one hears the gospel, he turns and begins to follow Jesus. He that hears God’s words is of God. He that hears not is not of God. Interestingly, I can think of instances where instant hearing was not a good sign. Was not Saul of Tarsus hearing the Word preached, even as he continued in his persecution of the church? In fact, after Saul’s conversion, after he became a new creature, Paul, many in the church had to have divine revelation before they would even assist this well-known persecutor.
I take that to mean that when I see others turn aside the gospel, or even belittle it, that that does not mean they are not going to change their minds later. I can pray for such people, and indeed, am obligated to, for I have not the prescience of Jesus that I should know who will reject Him and who will not. I do know that I prayed and waited for over 30 years for the Lord to finally bring my father to the place where he heard the gospel, and accepted Christ. I, then, am to be long-suffering toward others, modeling myself after the attitude of God, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to a knowledge of the truth.
Go Tell It on the Mountain
1. While shepherds kept their watching
O'er silent flocks by night
Behold, throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light.
2. The shepherds feared and trembled
When, lo! above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed our Savior's birth.
3. Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn.
Go tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.