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 John 8: 44

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.

Putting aside for the moment all of Jesus’ vitriolic comments about lying, let’s look at an interesting little phrase in this passage. Jesus calls the devil a murderer and says that he has been a murderer since the beginning. Okay, so Jesus, who did the devil murder? Can you think of one instance, especially early on where the devil murdered anyone? I wish to suggest that Jesus was referring to the Garden of Eden.

In Genesis 2:16 – 17 God said, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” Enter in the devil. I am sure he was able to hear what God said and plotted a way to get to God’s people. Fast forward to Genesis 3: 4; “And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” Now, how much of what the devil said was a lie? Look back at today’s verse. What did Jesus say about Satan? He said he is a liar. We have taken some of Satan’s words to be true. Eating from the tree would not make then like God, nor would it give them the complete knowledge of good and evil. How do I know? Look around you. Do you think humanity has always known right from wrong, good from evil? The real point of the story, though, is that God said that eating from the tree would cause death. Then the devil came along and twisted it and lied. He said, “You surely won’t die.” Wait a moment! God just said they would die. The devil lied to Eve and she believed him.

Jesus, thousands of years after this event, doesn’t just call Satan a liar for what he did to Eve and Adam. He also calls him a murderer because of the deception he created. Whatsmore, he says of the Jews who were attacking him that they are just like their father, the devil, and effectively calls them liars and murderers too.

Recall that this is a passage on lying. It is intriguing that in a discussion about truth, Jesus goes all the way back to the first lie. He doesn’t stop there though. He holds the devil responsible for the murder of Adam and Eve, and in fact, of all humanity. Then he convicts the Jews that were plotting against him, pronouncing them as liars and murderers. Further, their lying ways makes them, in Jesus’ eyes, sons of Satan. That is pretty steep. Jesus had tolerance for all sorts of people but he showed none for liars.

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