Chapter 8


No Condemnation


7:53-8:1 And each one departed to his own house. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.


Verse 7:53 rightly belongs to chapter 8. John seems to make a point of the fact that the people went to their own homes but He who had no place to lay His head went to the Mount of Olives (Luke 9:58). This was the place where He often went when in Jerusalem (Luke 21:37).  


8:2 Early in the morning he came to the temple courts again. All the people came to him, and he sat down and began to teach them.


He returns to the temple early the next morning and sits in the open area of the treasury.   All the people flock to hear Him and He taught them. The following portion of our text (8:3-14) was not written in many of the original manuscripts of John's Gospel, although there is no question that the incident took place. It is believed to have been inserted later in order to illustrate the words of Jesus in verse 15.  


8:3 The experts in the law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They made her stand in front of them.


While He was doing this the Pharisees and Scribes took the opportunity of using a woman who had been caught in the very act of adultery to trap Him. They set her in the centre of the crowd so that everybody could see and know who she was. If the devil cannot succeed one way we can be sure that he will try by other means to trap us, so we need to be constantly on our guard.  


8:4-5 And said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone to death  such women. What then do you say?


There are a few flaws in the prosecution of this woman by the scribes and Pharisees. If the woman was caught in the very act of adultery, where was the man?  According to the law both should be stoned (Deut. 22:22). They bring her to Jesus quoting this Law of Moses to Him but they want to know what He has to say on the matter.


8:6 (Now they were asking this in an attempt to trap him, so that they could bring charges against him.) Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger.


This they do in order that they may bring a charge against Him. Either of usurping the office of a judge, if he condemned her, or of being an enemy to the law, if he acquitted her. If He consented to the requirements of the law then they could have charge Him with inciting them to brake the Roman law for it was only the Roman Governor had the authority to condemn anyone to death.


Jesus ignores their efforts to make Him this woman's judge and stoops forward to write  on the ground with His finger to show this.  It is not known what He wrote for the treasury area was paved, it is of no importance, He could have been just doodling, it is how the Pharisees and Scribes interpreted His action that matters.


8:7 When they persisted in asking him, he stood up straight and replied, "Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone at her.


They would not be put off however and persisted in asking Him what He thought.   So He straightened Himself up  and answered them in such a way that brought out the truth that there is no one without sin, "He who is without sin among you" (1 Kings 8:46, Isa. 64:6 and Rom. 3:23).


8:8 Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground.


Having said this He stooped down and continued to write on the ground with His finger.  


8:9 Now when they heard this, they began to drift away one at a time, starting with the older ones, until Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.


Hearing His words pricked their own consciences and convicted them of their sinful nature. They did not take any notice of it however, but hardened their heart and one by one from the eldest to the youngest turned away unrepentant (1Tim. 4:2). When our deadened conscience fails to convict us then by the grace of God the Holy Spirit will so move as to stir it up (John 16:8). Jesus was now left alone with the woman standing in the centre of the court.


8:10 Jesus stood up straight and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?"


When Jesus looked up and saw only the woman there He asks her first of all where her accusers were.   Without anyone to accuse her of adultery there could be no case to answer to. He then asks her if anyone passed sentence upon her.


8:11 She replied, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin any more."


She addressing Him as Lord replies no. Jesus did not condone the woman's sin in anyway when He said "Neither do I condemn" for He told her to "sin no more". Jesus did not come into the world to condemn people but to save them (John 3:17).


Jesus Defends His Self-Witness


8:12 Then Jesus spoke out again, "I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."


It is still the Feast of Tabernacles and Jesus is sat in the treasury area of the temple which was in the court of the women the most public place in the Temple area.  In it stood two colossal golden lamp-stands, on which hung a multitude of lamps, lighted after the evening sacrifice (probably every evening during the feast of tabernacles), diffusing their brilliancy, it is said, over all the city. Remember that the Feast of Tabernacles was also a celebration of the wilderness wanderings and there was the memory of the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire night. It was with this background that Jesus made this great statement. He had not come to condemn but He had come as the Light to penetrate through the darkness of sin and Satan that bound people. To show sin for what it really is and to bring sinners not only to a knowledge of the Light but to live in that Light. The believer has this Light in him and will not be walking in the dark (Eph. 5:8 and 1 John 1:7).  It is Christ who is the Light that imparts a spiritual and eternal life.  


8:13 So the Pharisees objected, "You testify about yourself; your testimony is not true!"


Because of this statement the Pharisees accused Him  of being a witness for Himself which was not acceptable in the law.  


8:14 Jesus answered, "Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you people do not know where I came from or where I am going."


Although He bears witness to Himself Jesus says that because He knows His Divine origin and His Divine destination this gives Him the right to do so.  


8:15-16 You people judge by outward appearances; I do not judge anyone. But if I judge, my evaluation is accurate, because I am not alone when I judge, but I and the Father who sent me do so together


It is because they refuse to recognize who He His  that their judgement of Him is according to appearance. It is only God that can give a true and perfect judgement even Jesus says He judges no one but that if He did give judgement it would be correct because He is one with the Father.  


8:17-18 It is written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I testify about myself and the Father who sent me testifies about me.


The law required two witnesses (Deut. 19:15) so He gives them two Divine witnesses - Himself and His Father. Tasker says "in reality the testimony of those two is single and undivided."


8:19 Then they began asking him, "Who is your father?" Jesus answered, "You do not know either me or my Father. If you knew me you would know my Father too.


They call upon Him to produce His Father, pretending that they did not know that he was referring to God as His Father.   Here He declares another truth that if anyone knows Him then they know God the Father.   In fact in chapter 14 he tells Thomas that whoever has "'seen"' Him has seen the Father.


8:20 Jesus spoke these words near the offering box while he was teaching in the temple courts. No one seized him because his time had not yet come.


He said all these things in the treasury, but although he angered the Pharisees, Scribes and Jewish leaders they did not touch Him or seek to arrest Him. This was not because they didn't want to do so, but because His hour had not yet come.


Jesus Speaks of His Departure


8:21 Then Jesus said to them again, "I am going away, and you will look for me but will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.


Again Jesus tells them that He is going away, that is, back to His Father that they will seek but not find Him (John 7:33).  He tells them straight that they will not be able to follow Him because they do not believe that He is the Son of God for this reason they will die sinners.  


8:22 So the Jewish leaders began to say, "Perhaps he is going to kill himself, because he says, 'Where I am going you cannot come.'


This time think that He is going to kill Himself and thus go to Hades where, in their self-righteousness they would certainly not follow.  Hades as opposed to Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22-23).


8:23 Jesus replied, "You people are from below; I am from above. You people are from this world; I am not from this world."


Here is the difference between Jesus Christ and all men. We are of this world born of earthly parents, He was begotten of the Father and came from heaven and is heavenly. He is without sin (2 Cor. 5:21, Heb 7:26 and 1 Pet. 2:22) while all men have sinned (Rom. 5:12).


8:24 Thus I told you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.


This is why He said that they would die in their sins for he came to give His life for the sins of all and if they do not believe that He is the Christ then they will die in their sins (John 3:16 and Titus 2:14).


8:25 So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus replied, "What I have told you from the beginning.


Young's Literal Translation has it "You! who are you? which would seem to be  correct for they were asking Jesus in a derogatory manner. His reply to them is I am exactly who I have been telling you from the beginning.


8:26 I have many things to say and to judge about you, but the Father who sent me is truthful, and the things I have heard from him I speak to the world."


He continues that there is a lot more things that He has to say concerning them that would judge and condemn. The Living Bible has it "I could condemn you for much and teach you much, but I won't". God who sent Him is true and He only makes known to the world those things that He has received from Him.


8:27 (They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father.)


Because of their wilful blindness they did not understand that He was speaking to them of God the Father.


8:28 Then Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing on my own initiative, but I speak just what the Father taught me.


So He said to them that when they have crucified Him (lifted Him up) then they will know that He is the Christ and that He did nothing of His own accord or authority but did and spoke only those things that His Father taught Him.


8:29 And the one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do those things that please him."


The One who sent Him is ever with Him. God the Father has never left Him on His own because He always does that which pleases Him (Matt. 3:17).  


8:30 While he was saying these things, many people believed in him.


So convincing and powerful were His words to them that many believed on Him. (By the inference of "those Jews" in verse 31 this would seem to mean among the Jewish rulers).


The Son Sets us Free from Sin's Slavery


8:31 Then Jesus said to those Judeans who had believed him, "If you continue to follow my teaching, you are really my disciples


To those who had believed in him, the Lord Jesus has this challenge. If you abide in my word then you are really my disciples. I have seen many who have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour but after a while they do not carry on with him. These are not his disciples. Only those who abide in him and in his teaching are his disciples. Jesus said abide in me (John 15:4).


To abide in him we must abide in his teaching, we must continue to learn and hear and follow his teaching. That is why bible study and fellowship meetings in the church are so important. No Christian is meant to be alone, they must remain in fellowship (Heb. 10:25).


8:32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.


When we continue with the Lord, Christ promises us progress. When we come to know Christ we do not see all at once, God's purpose for our lives, or the wonderful plans he has in store for us. But they are there and Jesus promises that we shall see them unfold as we progress with him in our spiritual lives. As we grow in understanding of his word, the truth will continue to set us free. Free from what?


8:33 "We are descendants of Abraham," they replied, "and have never been anyone's slaves! How can you say, 'You will become free'?


The Jews arrogantly boasted that they were Abraham's children and had never been in slavery. That was nonsense. For a start, they had been in slavery in Egypt for 400 years. The story of God's bringing them out of slavery in Egypt to freedom by the hand of Moses was well known to them. It is a picture of the greater deliverance which Christ had come to bring them.


8:34-36 Jesus answered them, "I tell you the solemn truth, everyone who practices sin is a slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the family forever, but the son remains forever. So if the son sets you free, you will be really free.


Jesus tells them that the slavery he is talking about is slavery to sin. Who ever commits sin is the slave of sin. To be enslaved by the sinful nature is to be in bondage. This corresponds to the allegory of Isaac and Ishmael. Ishmael was a son of Abraham, yet he was born of the slave woman Hagar. As such he represents those who are born in slavery to sin, that is the whole human race without Christ. What happened to Ishmael, God told Abraham to send him away, he had no permanent place in the house for as a slave he could never be an heir. A slave of sin has no place in God's house, heaven (Rev. 21:27). But Isaac was born of the free woman Sarah, by the miraculous power of God because Abraham had believed God's promise that he would have a son. Isaac represents all those who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus and have been born again of his Spirit. These are the sons and heirs of God who inherit all things and who abide in his House forever (Rom. 8:16-17).


The Son Sets us Free from Satan's Bondage


8:37-38 I know that you are Abraham's descendants. But you want to kill me, because my teaching makes no progress among you. I am telling you the things I have seen while with the Father; as for you, practice the things you have heard from the Father!


Although they were physically descended from Abraham, Christ shows them what he is meant by bondage in sin. To be in slavery to sin is also to enslaved by Satan. The Jews proved that they were the children of the devil by wanting to fulfil his wish in killing Christ. The words Christ spoke, the truth which he had received from the Father, had no place in hearts governed by sin and Satan.


8:39 They answered him, "Abraham is our father!" Jesus replied, "If you are Abraham's children, you would be doing the deeds of Abraham.


The Jews boast of their relationship with Abraham as their spiritual father. Christ denies this. For if they were Abraham's spiritual children then they would follow the faith of Abraham. In the scripture those who are the seed of Abraham are those who had the same faith as Abraham had (Gal. 3:16 and Gal. 3:29).


8:40 But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth I heard from God. Abraham did not do this!


Being justified by faith in Christ leads us to acts of righteous living, as was demonstrated in the life of Abraham. But Christ's enemies were trying to kill him, a man who had told the truth from God, something Abraham, although he had fought in war when he had to, had never done.


8:41 You people are doing the deeds of your father." Then they said to Jesus, "We were not born as a result of immorality! We have only one Father, God himself."


Christ presses home to them the point that spiritually they are bound, that their wills are enslaved by Satan (Eph. 2:1-3). The Jews realise that Christ is accusing them of unfaithfulness to God, something they in their blindness vigorously deny. As far as they can see, they are true to God.


8:42 Jesus replied, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come from God and am now here. I have not come on my own initiative, but he sent me.


But their God is not God. If God were their father, they would love His Son, whom he had sent him to them with the word of life (1 John 5:1).


8:43 Why don't you understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot accept my teaching.


The reason the Jews could not understand what Christ was saying to them was that their minds were blinded by Satan (2 Cor. 4:4). They were so used to lies that they could not hear truth.


8:44 You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.


The devil is their spiritual father, who works and moves in their lives, controlling their spirits and holding will in slavery because of sin. He is a murderer from the beginning, and they wanted to carry out his will in killing Christ. Satan had brought sin and death to man in the beginning of God's creation by telling a lie and deceiving Eve. Ever since he had brought death and destruction by turning man against man in violence and war. Satan chose not to remain in the truth, for their is no truth in him, nothing true, wholesome or good at all.  He is the source of all evil, lies, hatred and murder.


8:45 But because I am telling you the truth, you do not believe me.


Such is the devil's hold on the minds of men that they cannot believe the truth. But there is a way of deliverance. Faith comes by hearing God's word. When you hear God's word and believe it you are saved forever from Satan's power. If anyone says anything to you and tries to pursuade you that what they say is true for your life, not what God says in his word, or not what I've told you from God's word, I appeal to you, don't believe them. If they aren't saved they might not know they're wrong but they are.


8:46-47 Who among you can prove me guilty of any sin? If I am telling you the truth, why don't you believe me? The one who belongs to God listens and responds to God's words. You don't listen and respond, because you don't belong to God.


Though none of Christ's enemies were able to prove him guilty of any sin, they proved their own guilt by trying to kill him. They could not understand his word because they were not born of God (1 John 4:6).


The Son Sets us Free from Death's Sting


8:48 The Judeans replied, "Aren't we correct in saying that you are a Samaritan and are possessed by a demon?"


In response to this, the Jews, giving up the pretence that they were not trying to kill him, accuse him of not being a true Jew and of being demon possessed.


8:49 Jesus answered, "I am not possessed by a demon, but I honor my Father — and yet you dishonor me.


Christ simply states the truth when he says that he did not have a demon, for he is the incarnate Son and image of God his father. By insulting Christ they were insulting God.


8:50 I am not trying to get praise for myself. There is one who demands it, and he also judges.


Christ did not seek to honour himself, it was his father who honoured him and who would judge them for dishonouring him.


8:51 I tell you the solemn truth, if anyone obeys my teaching, he will never see death.


This honour is clearly displayed in the ministry God had entrusted to Christ, to give his life for the sins of the world so that whoever believes in him would never taste death, that is separation from God, for he would taste it for them instead (Heb. 2:9). By His death and ressurection Christ has conqured deathand it holds no more terrors for the Christian, for since we are saved eternally, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (1 Cor. 15:55).


8:52-53 Then the Judeans responded, "Now we know you're possessed by a demon! Both Abraham and the prophets died, and yet you say, 'If anyone obeys my teaching, he will never experience death.' You aren't greater than our father Abraham who died, are you? And the prophets died too! Who do you claim to be?


The Jews continue to deride him, call him demon posssessed or mad, for everyone dies, even Abraham and the prophets died. Was Christ greater than them. Not in their eyes! Who did he think he was?


8:54 Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory is worthless. The one who glorifies me is my Father, about whom you people say, 'He is our God.'


Honour given by any man to himself is no honour, for honour comes from others. Christ sought no honour from men but from the Only God, his father, who loves his son and gives him honour, exalting him to the highest place (Phil. 2:9-11).


8:55 Yet you do not know him, but 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 obey his teaching.


The Jews did not know God, but Christ, the eternal son, having come from God, knew him and made him known. If Christ claimed he did not know God fully and absolutely he would be telling lies, as they did.


8:56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.


With the eye of faith, Abraham looked ahead to see the coming of God's redemption, the day of Christ, and rejoiced to know that God would provide for his salvation.


8:57 Then the Judeans replied, "You are not yet fifty years old! Have you seen Abraham?


Christ was not yet fifty. He was in fact just over thirty. Had he seen Abraham?


8:58 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I am!"


Christ's claim to the Jews is clear and plain. He had spoken to them about setting them free from sin, Satan and death and now he uses the same words which God used when He sent Moses to free the Israelites from bondage "I AM" Yes, he knew Abraham and every man past, present and future.

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8:59 Then they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out from the temple area.


Realising that Christ claimed equality with God, the Jews picked up stones to stone him. Hadn't Jesus been telling them what was in their hearts? But Christ hid himself from them, walking right through them and going by them. This must have in itself been a miracle. No one was allowed to touch Christ, for he was in control of when and how he died, not they.

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