John 8 Focus: Jesus shines His light and love upon us! Jesus is the light of the world Who dispels all darkness! His Word defeats the power of sin and death and gives us faith and everlasting life!
JOHN 8: Insights, Highlights and Points to Ponder:
- The TEXT of John 8 begins with the famous story of Jesus and the woman caught in the act of adultery who is condemned by the religious leaders.
Did you notice? It is likely noted in your Bible the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts of the Gospel of John do not include this story (John 7:53-8:11). Faithful scholars simply think it was added later and is a true story in the Ministry of Jesus.
IMPORTANT: Just as the Holy Spirit INSPIRED people to record God’s entire revelation, we believe God’s Spirit also directed the process by which the 66 Books of Scripture (39 in OT and 27 in NT) came together and were universally recognized, used and accepted as the authoritative Word of God in the Christian Church.
- Keep in Mind: Chapter and verse numbers are very helpful as we study God’s Word. They are NOT divinely inspired. They were added throughout history by scribes and Bible translators and publishers to help us more quickly navigate and look up specific passages of Scripture easier.
We now read: John 8 (interspersed with commentary and insights)
8:1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
NOTE: The Mount of Olives is just east of Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley. It overlooked the Temple and still provides a beautiful view of Jerusalem. It is also where Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemene.
2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”
NOTE: The standard method of execution for Jews was stoning. If you ever go to Israel, you will notice that there are STONES everywhere, and almost all the homes and buildings around Jerusalem are made out of STONE (not wood). Jesus is later crucified (not stoned), because it is the Romans who carry out His execution.
6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]
NOTE: The attempts of the religious leaders to entrap Jesus with accusations against the sinful woman backfire. Jesus magnifies the hypocrisy of the religious leaders by convicting them of their own sin(s). Jesus lovingly forgives the sins of this woman while also telling her to “sin no more.”
Personal Application: This story invites us to do some honest, personal reflection and ask ourselves: When am I judgemental or hypocritical about pointing out the SIN(s) of others while ignoring, denying, or rationalizing my own SIN(s)?
I Am the Light of the World
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
NOTE More “I AM” Statements: More “I AM” statements by Jesus in John 8 highlight His Deity and equality with God the Father.
Personal Application: Is there someone you know who appears to be living in spiritual darkness without faith in Jesus?
What are some intentional, practical, loving ways we can we let Christ’s light shine through us to those who are living in the darkness of unbelief?
13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”
25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
The Truth Will Set You Free
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word (logos), you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
NOTE: Jesus emphasizes that every human being lives in spiritual darkness and is a slave (doulos in Greek) to sin until He sets us free and forgives us and gives us Faith through the power of His Word and Spirit. Abraham was saved the same way we are--BY GRACE through FAITH!
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
You Are of Your Father the Devil
39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Before Abraham Was, I Am
48 The 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 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55 But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to 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 father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”
57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to 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.
NOTE: John 8:58 is one of the most dramatic verses of Holy Scripture! Notice the reaction to what Jesus says! Those who heard it considered it blasphemy worthy of death and a violation of the First Commandment, because they knew Jesus was saying He IS God--which He is! It is breathtaking! Jesus clearly claims to be equal to God and states that He is the great I AM in person!
As John 8 began with an attempted stoning (of an adulterous woman), so it concludes with another attempted stoning (of Jesus!), but was not yet His appointed time to die.
The Lutheran Study Bible(LSB) comments on John 7:53-8:11 are a fitting conclusion to our study of this chapter (CPH.org, LSB p. 1796):
The Scribes and Pharisees fail to trap Jesus by requesting a hasty judgement against a woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus reveals the hypocrisy of His detractors and calls them to self-examination, even as He calls the sinful woman to consider her error. The Lord’s greatest desire is to deliver us from sin through repentance and faith, rather than condemn us for our sins. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, even the worst of us, by His sacrifice on the cross.
+Prayer+ O Lord, be merciful to me, a poor sinful being. Amen.
Practical APPLICATION of John 8: Who is a person you know who needs to experience the light and love of Jesus? Pray for God’s Spirit to open their heart and mind to the love of Christ and grant them faith.
+ PRAYER: Dear Jesus, Shine the light of Your love and salvation on me. Dispel and forgive the darkness of my sin. Empower me to let Your light shine and to share Your Good News with others near and far. In Your Saving Name I pray. Amen.
Pastor Scott Schmieding