Scripture Study: John 8

John 8  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 6
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Verse 1 belongs to chapter 7.
Verse 2. Early in the morning the Lord came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down and taught them.
Verses 3, 4. He is interrupted by the entry of some scribes and Pharisees who brought unto Him a woman taken in the act of adultery, and set her in the midst before Him. They want to confound the blessed Lord in His teaching. It was not hatred to sin nor love to the sinner, nor desire to learn the way of God, but they are coming into the light where their motives will be manifest, which was, to tempt the Lord.
Verse 5. They think they have a clear case— “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest Thou?”
Verse 6. The Lord, who knew their object, stooped down and wrote upon the ground with His finger, giving them time to show their persistent wickedness. They have quoted Moses, thinking that the Lord’s teachings of God’s grace to sinners did not agree with Moses’ teaching. Then He will let them have the law, and see how they will stand its searchings.
Verses 7-9. So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. How they mistook His teachings (Matt. 5:17). He will magnify the law, and declare that it is holy, just and good, (Rom. 7) but He will show them that they have not kept it, and that it condemns all such (Gal. 3:10, 11).
He turns its searchlight upon them, discovering to themselves their unfitness to carry out the judgment of God on the woman who deserved it, and they deserved its penalty for their own sins which now His word compels them to look at. They were offended at His grace to sinners; now they are to feel His judgment on sin, but it is on their own. As He again writes on the ground, the truth of their guilt is pounding itself into their consciences, and, beginning at the eldest who had the most sin and so was the most guilty and not willing to own it, they file out one by one to hide themselves from His view, till they are all gone, and Jesus is left alone, with the woman standing in the midst. The law was maintained, but He is not the executor. He has not yet taken the place of Judge. He is Jesus the Saviour. They may flee from the light now, but they will yet have to stand before God when they cannot flee. They did not think that Sinai’s thunders were to be applied to themselves. They had dragged the guilty sinner there to be condemned, but they are now feeling its condemnation themselves, and they cannot help it. They make their escape for the present, convicted of sin, yet unwilling to own it.
Verses 10, 11. And what about the guilty woman? Jesus lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, and said unto her, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?”
She said, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
Why did she stay so long? Her accusers were gone; there was no one to hinder her from running away to hide her shame, for she was verily guilty, and had no excuse. She deserved judgment. No, she will not flee. She had seen her accusers go; they also are proved guilty by the same law of Moses. They try to hide it, but she owns it, and stands guilty before God. They tried to prove He was Moses’ enemy; He proves that He is Moses’ Lord. He is not there to judge. He is there as the Saviour, and she cannot flee from Him. She must have felt His pity for her. His words, though condemning her sin, tell her of the grace of forgiveness in His heart, as He says to her, “Go, and sin no more.” Forgiveness comes to the one who stands guilty before God. “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise,” Psalm 51:17.
Verse 12. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Verses 13-19. There were more Pharisees than those who had gone out, and they prove to be as blind as the rest. They refuse His testimony, though it had just been demonstrated that His testimony was a true one. They judged after the flesh and did not see that He was sent of the Father, and that the Father bore witness by both His words and works. If they had known Him, they would have known His Father also.
Verse 20. They could not touch Him, for His hour was not yet come.
Verses 21-24. He convicts them of unbelief in His person, and warns them that because of it, they shall die in their sins. They were from beneath. He was from above. They could not understand Him when He spoke of where He was going. They were of this world. He was not of this world, therefore if they would not believe that “I am,” they should die in their sins.
Verses 25, 26. He tells them that He and His word are the same. To their question, “Who art Thou?” He answers that His speech presented Himself, “Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.” His word expressed what He Himself is, and this also told out the Father who had sent Him.
Verses 27-29. But all this was lost on them; they understood not that He spoke to them of the Father. And only when the Son of Man was lifted up would they know that He was the “I am.” and that all He said was spoken from the Father who was with Him, and He did always the things that please Him.
Verses 30-33. At this point, many believed on Him, perhaps only in appearance and profession, for the Lord said, “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” This they do not like, and rather resent it as implying that they were in bondage. They claim Abraham as their father, and answered Him, “How sayest Thou, Ye shall be made free?”
Verses 34-40. Their behavior showed that they were the servants of sin, and though, professedly Jehovah’s servants, yet they could not abide in His house. They were Abraham’s seed, but not Abraham’s children. It was the Son who was the Truth, and if the Son set them free, then were they free indeed. How could they be Abraham’s children, when they sought to kill the Lord who had spoken to them of God.
Verses 41, 42. They claim to have God as their father, but the Lord declares that they hated the One whom the Father sent to them.
Verse 43. They did not understand His speech, for they did not believe what He said. They did not receive His thoughts spoken to them, for their minds were against Him.
Verses 44-46. They were of their father the devil. Their behavior bore witness to it.
He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there was no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. How terrible it is that man has gone after such a one! Unless the Lord had said it, we would not have thought that even religious men, if still unconverted, were in their moral character, children of the devil; (1 John 3:8-10) enmity against God (Rom. 8:7). It is truly said of every man, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. The Lord told them the truth, but their minds and hearts were utterly opposed to it, as they were sunk in sin and in unbelief.
Verses 47-51. He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. It is the same today. (Compare what 1 John 4:5, 6 says of the Apostle’s writings). Yet they say in answer, “Say we not well that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?”
How great and wonderful a person we see Him to be—One as a man honoring the Father, and yet could say, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death.” Christ is above death, it has no claim on Him, and He has life and gives life, (John 5,) and those that keep His word shall never see death. What is death to such, but just the passing into the presence of the Lord?
Verses 52-56. Their perplexity is here shown. They did not know that here was One greater than Abraham and the prophets—the One Abraham looked forward to by faith, and rejoiced to see His day, and he saw it and was glad.
Verses 57-59. They looked on Him only as a man, and Jesus gives out that wonderful truth, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” He is the great Jehovah God. They answered by taking up stones to stone Him. He hid Himself, and went out of the temple, and though He went through the midst of them and passed by, they could do nothing to Him. Yet man’s wretched enmity of heart to Christ, the Son of God, is fully manifest.