Did Jesus Say that the Jews were Children of the Devil?
Jesus Says They Were Acting Like the Devil
Many people are confused over Jesus’ condemnation of the Jewish leaders by referring to them as being offspring related to the devil – 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 (John 8:44).
A general hermeneutical principle of interpretation is to determine who is speaking and to whom the words are spoken. Therefore, in the subject passage of John 8:44, Jesus refutes the religious leaders of the Jewish community of Jerusalem. These individuals claimed Abraham as their father. However, these same people wanted to kill Christ. Such works were not characteristic of Abraham; consequently, these people were not Abraham’s children. Their lack of spiritual understanding, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and thus their Messiah, was attributed to the fact that they could not hear nor understand His words. They could not because they had totally rejected Him as their Messiah.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. John 1:11
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist… 1 John 4:2-3
In the subject passage of John 8:44-45, Christ identified the Jewish leaders’ true father–the Devil. Physically, they were Abraham’s children, but spiritually, they were the Devil’s children. They were acting like the Devil. He was a murderer and they wanted to murder Christ. He abode not in the truth and they had rejected the truth. He (the Devil) is the father of lies. Since these Jewish leaders were the-sons of a liar, they rejected the truth – Jesus Christ. (Liberty Bible Commentary, Vol. II, pp. 231-232).