John Chapter Eight
In chapter 8, as we have said, the word of Jesus is rejected; and, in chapter 9, His works. But there is much more than that. The personal glories of chapter 1 are reproduced and developed in all these chapters separately (leaving out for the moment from verse 36 to 51 of chapter 1): we have found again the verses 14-34 in chapters 5, 6, and 7. The Holy Ghost now returns to the subject of the first verses in the chapter. Christ is the Word; He is the life, and the life which is the light of men. The three chapters that I have now pointed out speak of what He is in grace for men, while still declaring His right to judge. The Spirit here (in chap. 8) sets before us that which He is in Himself, and that which He is to men (thus putting them to the test, so that in rejecting Him they reject themselves, and shew themselves to be reprobate).
Let us now consider our chapter. The contrast with Judaism is evident. They bring a woman whose guilt is undeniable. The Jews, in their wickedness, bring her forward in the hope of confounding the Lord. If He condemned her, He was not a Saviour-the law could do as much. If He let her go, He despised and disallowed the law. This was clever; but what avails cleverness in the presence of God who searches the heart? The Lord allows them to commit themselves thoroughly by not answering them for awhile. Probably they thought He was entangled. At last He says, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast the stone." Convicted by their conscience, without honesty and without faith, they quit the scene of their confusion, separating from each other, each caring for himself, caring for character not conscience, and departing from Him who had convicted them; he who had the most reputation to save going out first. What a sorrowful picture! What a mighty word! Jesus and the woman are left together alone. Who can stand unconvicted in His presence? With regard to the woman, whose guilt was known, He does not go beyond the Jewish position, except to preserve the rights of His own Person in grace.
This is not the same thing as in Luke 7, plenary pardon and salvation. The others could not condemn her-He would not. Let her go, and let her sin no more. It is not the grace of salvation that the Lord exhibits here. He does not judge, He was not come for this; but the efficacy of the pardon is not the subject of these chapters-it is the glory here of His Person, in contrast with all that is of the law. He is the light, and by the power of His word He entered as light into the conscience of those who had brought the woman.
For the Word was light; but that was not all. Coming into the world, He was (chap. 1:4-10) the light. Now it was the life that was the light of men. It was not a law that made demands, and condemned; or that promised life on obedience to its precepts. It was the Life itself which was there in His Person, and that life was the light of men, convincing them, and, perhaps, judging them; but it was as light. Thus Jesus says here-in contrast with the law, brought by those who could not stand before the light-"I am the light of the world" (not merely of the Jews). For in this Gospel we have what Christ is essentially in His Person, whether as God, the Son come from the Father, or Son of man-not what God was in special dealings with the Jews. Hence He was the object of faith in His Person, not in dispensational dealings. Whoso followed Him should have the light of life. But it was in Him, in His Person, that it was found. And He could bear record of Himself, because, although He was a man there, in this world, He knew whence He came and whither He was going. It was the Son, who came from the Father and was returning to Him again. He knew it, and was conscious of it. His testimony, therefore, was not that of an interested person which one might hesitate to believe. There was, in proof that this man was the One whom He represented Himself to be, the testimony of the Son (His own), and the testimony of the Father. If they had known Him, they would have known the Father.
At that time-in spite of such testimony as this-no one laid hands on Him: His hour was not yet come. That only was wanting; for their opposition to God was certain, and known to Him. This opposition was plainly declared (v. 19-24); consequently, if they believed not, they would die in their sins. Nevertheless He tells them that they shall know who He is, when He shall have been rejected and lifted up on the cross, having taken a very different position as the Saviour, rejected by the people and unknown of the world; when no longer presented to them as such, they should know that He was indeed the Messiah, and that He was the Son who spoke to them from the Father. As He spake these words, many believed on Him. He declares to them the effect of faith, which gives occasion to the true position of the Jews being manifested with terrible precision. He declares that the truth would set them free, and that if the Son (who is the truth) should set them free, they would be free indeed. The truth sets free morally before God. The Son, by virtue of the rights that were necessarily His, and by inheritance in the house, would place them in it according to those rights, and that in the power of divine life come down from heaven-the Son of God with power as resurrection declared it. In this was the true setting free.
Piqued at the idea of bondage, which their pride could not bear, they declare themselves to be free, and never to have been in bondage to any one. In reply, the Lord shews that those who commit sin are the servants (slaves) of sin. Now, as being under the law, as being Jews, they were servants in the house: they should be sent away. But the Son had inalienable rights; He was of the house and would abide in it for ever. Under sin, and under the law, was the same thing for a child of Adam; he was a servant. The apostle shews this in Romans 6 (compare chaps. 7 and 8) and in Galatians 4 and 5. Moreover, they were neither really, nor morally, the children of Abraham before God, although they were so according to the flesh; for they sought to kill Jesus. They were not children of God; had they been, they would have loved Jesus who came from God. They were the children of the devil and would do his works.
Observe here, that to understand the meaning of the word is the way to apprehend the force of the words. One does not learn the definition of words and then the things; one learns the things, and then the meaning of the words is evident.
They begin to resist the testimony, conscious that He was making Himself greater than all those whom they had leant upon. They rail upon Him because of His words; and by their opposition the Lord is induced to explain Himself more clearly; until, having declared that Abraham rejoiced to see His day, and the Jews applying this to His age as man, He announces positively that He is the One who calls Himself I am-the supreme name of God, that He is God Himself-He whom they pretended to know as having revealed Himself in the bush.
Wondrous revelation! A despised, rejected man, despised and rejected by men, contradicted, ill-treated, yet it was God Himself who was there. What a fact! What a total change! What a revelation to those who acknowledged Him, or who know Him! What a condition is theirs who have rejected Him, and that because their hearts were opposed to all that He was, for He did not fail to manifest Himself! What a thought, that God Himself has been here! Goodness itself! How everything vanishes before Him!-the law, man, his reasonings. Everything necessarily depends on this great fact. And, blessed be His name! this God is a Saviour. We are indebted to the sufferings of Christ for knowing it. And note here, how the setting aside formal dispensations from God, if true, is by the revelation of Himself, and so introduces infinitely greater blessing.
But here He presents Himself as the Witness, the Word, the Word made flesh, the Son of God, but still the Word, God Himself. In the narrative at the beginning of the chapter He is a testimony to the conscience, the Word that searches and convicts. Verse 18, He bears testimony with the Father. Verse 26, He declares in the world that which He has received of the Father, and as taught of God He has spoken. Moreover the Father was with Him. Verses 32, 33, the truth was known by His word, and the truth made them free. Verse 47, He spoke the words of God. Verse 51, His word, being kept, preserved from death. Verse 58, it was God Himself, the Jehovah whom the fathers knew, that spoke.
Opposition arose from its being the word of truth (v. 45). Opposers were of the adversary. He was a murderer from the beginning, and they would follow him; but as the truth was the source of life, so that which characterised the adversary was, that he abode not in the truth: there is no truth in him. He is the father and the source of lies, so that,if falsehood speaks, it is one belonging to him that speaks. Sin was bondage, and they were in bondage by the law. (Truth, the Son Himself, made free.) But, more than that, the Jews were enemies, children of the enemy, and they would do his works, not believing the words of Christ because He spoke the truth. There is no miracle here; it is the power of the word, and the living word is God Himself: rejected by men, He is, as it were, compelled to speak the truth, to reveal Himself, hidden at once and manifested, as He was in the flesh-hidden as to His glory, manifested as to all that He is in His Person and in His grace.
── John Darby《Synopsis of John》
The Pharisees and the adulteress. (1-11) Christ's discourse with the Pharisees. (12-59)
Commentary on John 8:1-11
(Read John 8:1-11)
Christ neither found fault with the law, nor excused the prisoner's guilt; nor did he countenance the pretended zeal of the Pharisees. Those are self-condemned who judge others, and yet do the same thing. All who are any way called to blame the faults of others, are especially concerned to look to themselves, and keep themselves pure. In this matter Christ attended to the great work about which he came into the world, that was, to bring sinners to repentance; not to destroy, but to save. He aimed to bring, not only the accused to repentance, by showing her his mercy, but the prosecutors also, by showing them their sins; they thought to insnare him, he sought to convince and convert them. He declined to meddle with the magistrate's office. Many crimes merit far more severe punishment than they meet with; but we should not leave our own work, to take that upon ourselves to which we are not called. When Christ sent her away, it was with this caution, Go, and sin no more. Those who help to save the life of a criminal, should help to save the soul with the same caution. Those are truly happy, whom Christ does not condemn. Christ's favour to us in the forgiveness of past sins should prevail with us, Go then, and sin no more.
Commentary on John 8:12-16
(Read John 8:12-16)
Christ is the Light of the world. God is light, and Christ is the image of the invisible God. One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a dark dungeon would the world be without the sun! So would it be without Jesus, by whom light came into the world. Those who follow Christ shall not walk in darkness. They shall not be left without the truths which are necessary to keep them from destroying error, and the directions in the way of duty, necessary to keep them from condemning sin.
Commentary on John 8:17-20
(Read John 8:17-20)
If we knew Christ better, we should know the Father better. Those become vain in their imaginations concerning God, who will not learn of Christ. Those who know not his glory and grace, know not the Father that sent him. The time of our departure out of the world, depends upon God. Our enemies cannot hasten it any sooner, nor can our friends delay it any longer, than the time appointed of the Father. Every true believer can look up and say with pleasure, My times are in thy hand, and better there than in my own. To all God's purposes there is a time.
Commentary on John 8:21-29
(Read John 8:21-29)
Those that live in unbelief, are for ever undone, if they die in unbelief. The Jews belonged to this present evil world, but Jesus was of a heavenly and Divine nature, so that his doctrine, kingdom, and blessings, would not suit their taste. But the curse of the law is done away to all that submit to the grace of the gospel. Nothing but the doctrine of Christ's grace will be an argument powerful enough, and none but the Spirit of Christ's grace will be an agent powerful enough, to turn us from sin to God; and that Spirit is given, and that doctrine is given, to work upon those only who believe in Christ. Some say, Who is this Jesus? They allow him to have been a Prophet, an excellent Teacher, and even more than a creature; but cannot acknowledge him as over all, God blessed for evermore. Will not this suffice? Jesus here answers the question. Is this to honour him as the Father? Does this admit his being the Light of the world, and the Life of men, one with the Father? All shall know by their conversion, or in their condemnation, that he always spake and did what pleased the Father, even when he claimed the highest honours to himself.
Commentary on John 8:30-36
(Read John 8:30-36)
Such power attended our Lord's words, that many were convinced, and professed to believe in him. He encouraged them to attend his teaching, rely on his promises, and obey his commands, notwithstanding all temptations to evil. Thus doing, they would be his disciples truly; and by the teaching of his word and Spirit, they would learn where their hope and strength lay. Christ spoke of spiritual liberty; but carnal hearts feel no other grievances than those that molest the body, and distress their worldly affairs. Talk to them of their liberty and property, tell them of waste committed upon their lands, or damage done to their houses, and they understand you very well; but speak of the bondage of sin, captivity to Satan, and liberty by Christ; tell of wrong done to their precious souls, and the hazard of their eternal welfare, then you bring strange things to their ears. Jesus plainly reminded them, that the man who practised any sin, was, in fact, a slave to that sin, which was the case with most of them. Christ in the gospel offers us freedom, he has power to do this, and those whom Christ makes free are really so. But often we see persons disputing about liberty of every kind, while they are slaves to some sinful lust.
Commentary on John 8:37-40
(Read John 8:37-40)
Our Lord opposed the proud and vain confidence of these Jews, showing that their descent from Abraham could not profit those of a contrary spirit to him. Where the word of God has no place, no good is to be expected; room is left there for all wickedness. A sick person who turns from his physician, and will take neither remedies nor food, is past hope of recovery. The truth both heals and nourishes the hearts of those who receive it. The truth taught by philosophers has not this power and effect, but only the truth of God. Those who claim the privileges of Abraham, must do Abraham's works; must be strangers and sojourners in this world; keep up the worship of God in their families, and always walk before God.
Commentary on John 8:41-47
(Read John 8:41-47)
Satan prompts men to excesses by which they murder themselves and others, while what he puts into the mind tends to ruin men's souls. He is the great promoter of falsehood of every kind. He is a liar, all his temptations are carried on by his calling evil good, and good evil, and promising freedom in sin. He is the author of all lies; whom liars resemble and obey, with whom all liars shall have their portion for ever. The special lusts of the devil are spiritual wickedness, the lusts of the mind, and corrupt reasonings, pride and envy, wrath and malice, enmity to good, and enticing others to evil. By the truth, here understand the revealed will of God as to the salvation of men by Jesus Christ, the truth Christ was now preaching, and which the Jews opposed.
Commentary on John 8:48-53
(Read John 8:48-53)
Observe Christ's disregard of the applause of men. those who are dead to the praises of men can bear their contempt. God will seek the honour of all who do not seek their own. In these verses we have the doctrine of the everlasting happiness of believers. We have the character of a believer; he is one that keeps the sayings of the Lord Jesus. And the privilege of a believer; he shall by no means see death for ever. Though now they cannot avoid seeing death, and tasting it also, yet they shall shortly be where it will be no more forever, Exodus 14:13.
Commentary on John 8:54-59
(Read John 8:54-59)
Christ and all that are his, depend upon God for honour. Men may be able to dispute about God, yet may not know him. Such as know not God, and obey not the gospel of Christ, are put together, 2 Thessalonians 1:8. All who rightly know anything of Christ, earnestly desire to know more of him. Those who discern the dawn of the light of the Sun of Righteousness, wish to see his rising. "Before Abraham was, I AM." This speaks Abraham a creature, and our Lord the Creator; well, therefore, might he make himself greater than Abraham. I AM, is the name of God, Exodus 3:14; it speaks his self-existence; he is the First and the Last, ever the same, Revelation 1:8. Thus he was not only before Abraham, but before all worlds, Proverbs 8:23; John 1:1. As Mediator, he was the appointed Messiah, long before Abraham; the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8. The Lord Jesus was made of God Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption, to Adam, and Abel, and all that lived and died by faith in him, before Abraham. The Jews were about to stone Jesus for blasphemy, but he withdrew; by his miraculous power he passed through them unhurt. Let us stedfastly profess what we know and believe concerning God; and if heirs of Abraham's faith, we shall rejoice in looking forward to that day when the Saviour shall appear in glory, to the confusion of his enemies, and to complete the salvation of all who believe in him.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on John》
 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
That they might have to accuse 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.
Jesus stooping down, wrote with his finger on the ground — God wrote once in the Old Testament; Christ once in the New: perhaps the words which he afterward spoke, when they continued asking him. By this silent action, he, 1, fixed their wandering, hurrying thoughts, in order to awaken their consciences: and, 2, signified that he was not then come to condemn but to save the world.
 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.
He that is without sin — He that is not guilty: his own conscience being the judge) either of the same sin, or of some nearly resembling it; let him - as a witness, cast the first stone at her.
 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
Beginning at the eldest — Or the elders.
Jesus was left alone — By all those scribes and Pharisees who proposed the question. But many others remained, to whom our Lord directed his discourse presently after.
 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
Hath no man condemned thee? — Hath no judicial sentence been passed upon thee?
 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Neither do I condemn thee — Neither do I take upon me to pass any such sentence. Let this deliverance lead thee to repentance.
 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.
He that followeth me shall in nowise walk in darkness — In ignorance, wickedness, misery: but shall have the light of life - He that closely, humbly, steadily follows me, shall have the Divine light continually shining upon him, diffusing over his soul knowledge, holiness, joy, till he is guided by it to life everlasting.
 The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.
Thou testifiest of thyself; thy testimony is not valid — They retort upon our Lord his own words, John 5:31; if I testify of myself, my testimony is not valid. He had then added, There is another who testifieth of me. To the same effect he replies here, John 8:14, Though I testify of myself, yet my testimony is valid; for I am inseparably united to the Father.
I know — And from firm and certain knowledge proceeds the most unexceptionable testimony: whence I came, and whither I go - To these two heads may be referred all the doctrine concerning Christ. The former is treated of John 8:16, etc., the latter John 8:21, etc.
For I know whence I came — That is, For I came from God, both as God and as man. And I know it, though ye do not.
 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
Ye judge after the flesh — As the flesh, that is, corrupt nature dictates.
I judge no man — Not thus; not now; not at my first coming.
 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
I am not alone — No more in judging, than in testifying: but I and the Father that sent me - His Father is in him, and he is in the Father, John 14:10,11; and so the Father is no more alone without the Son, than the Son is without the Father, Proverbs 8:22,23,30. His Father and he are not one and another God, but one God, (though distinct persons,) and so inseparable from each other. And though the Son came from the Father, to assume human nature, and perform his office as the Messiah upon earth, as God is sometimes said to come from heaven, for particular manifestations of himself; yet Christ did not leave the Father, nor the Father leave him, any more than God leaves heaven when he is said to come down to the earth.
 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
Then said they to him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered - Showing the perverseness of their question; and teaching that they ought first to know the Son, if they would know the Father.
Where the Father is — he shows, John 8:23. Meantime he plainly intimates that the Father and he were distinct persons, as they were two witnesses; and yet one in essence, as the knowledge of him includes the knowledge of the Father.
 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
Ye are — Again he passes over their interruption, and proves what he advanced, John 8:21.
Of them that are beneath — From the earth.
I am of them that are above — Here he directly shows whence he came, even from heaven, and whither he goes.
 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
If ye believe not that I AM — Here (as in John 8:58) our Lord claims the Divine name, I AM, Exodus 3:14. But the Jews, as if he had stopped short, and not finished the sentence, answered, Who art thou?
 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
Even what I say to you from the beginning — The same which I say to you, as it were in one discourse, with one even tenor from the time I first spake to you.
 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
I have many things to say and to judge of you — I have much to say concerning your inexcusable unbelief: but he that sent me is true - Whether ye believe or no.
And I speak the things which I have heard from him — I deliver truly what he hath given me in charge.
 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
They understood not — That by him that sent him he meant God the Father. Therefore in John 8:28,29 he speaks plainly of the Father, and again claims the Divine name, I AM.
 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
When ye shall have lifted up — On the cross, ye shall know - And so many of them did, that I AM - God over all; and that I do nothing of myself - Being one with the Father.
 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
The Father hath not left me alone — Never from the moment I came into the world.
 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
The truth — Written in your hearts by the Spirit of God, shall make you free - From guilt, sin, misery, Satan.
 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
They — The other Jews that were by, (not those that believed,) as appears by the whole tenor of the conversation.
We were never enslaved to any man — A bold, notorious untruth. At that very time they were enslaved to the Romans.
 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Jesus answered — Each branch of their objection, first concerning freedom, then concerning their being Abraham's offspring, John 8:37, etc. He that committeth sin, is, in fact, the slave of sin.
 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
And the slave abideth not in the house — All sinners shall be cast out of God's house, as the slave was out of Abraham's: but I, the Son, abide therein for ever.
 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
If I therefore make you free, ye — shall partake of the same privilege: being made free from all guilt and sin, ye shall abide in the house of God for ever.
 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
I know that ye are Abraham's offspring — As to the other branch of your objection, I know that, ye are Abraham's offspring, after the flesh; but not in a spiritual sense. Ye are not followers of the faith of Abraham: my word hath no place in your hearts.
 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
Ye do the deeds of your father — He is not named yet. But when they presumed to call God their Father, then he is expressly called the devil, John 8:44.
 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
I proceeded forth — As God, and come - As Christ.
 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Ye cannot — Such is your stubbornness and pride, hear - Receive, obey my word. Not being desirous to do my will, ye cannot understand my doctrine, John 7:17.
 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.
He was a murderer — In inclination, from the beginning - Of his becoming a devil; and abode not in the truth - Commencing murderer and liar at the same time. And certainly he was a killer of men (as the Greek word properly signifies) from the beginning of the world: for from the very creation he designed and contrived the ruin of men.
When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own — For he is the proper parent, and, as it were, creator of it. See the origin not only of lies, but of evil in general!
 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Because I speak the truth — Which liars hate.
 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
Which of you convicteth me of sin? — And is not my life as unreprovable as my doctrine? Does not my whole behaviour confirm the truth of what I teach?
 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
He that is of God — That either loves or fears him, heareth - With joy and reverence, God's words - Which I preach.
 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
Say we not well — Have we not just cause to say, Thou art, a Samaritan - An enemy to our Church and nation; and hast a devil? - Art possessed by a proud and lying spirit?
 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.
I honour my Father — I seek his honour only.
 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
I seek not my own glory — That is, as I am the Messiah, I consult not my own glory. I need not. For my Father consulteth it, and will pass sentence on you accordingly.
 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
If a man keep my word — So will my Father consult my glory. We keep his doctrine by believing, his promises by hoping, his command by obeying.
He shall never see death — That is, death eternal. He shall live for ever. Hereby he proves that he was no Samaritan; for the Samaritans in general were Sadducees.
 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
If I honour myself — Referring to their words, Whom makest thou thyself?
 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
He saw it — By faith in types, figures, and promises; as particularly in Melchisedec; in the appearance of Jehovah to him in the plains of Mamre, Genesis 18:1; and in the promise that in his seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Possibly he had likewise a peculiar revelation either of Christ's first or second coming.
 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
Thou art not yet fifty years old — At the most. Perhaps the gravity of our Lord's countenance, together with his afflictions and labours, might make him appear older than he really was.
Hast thou seen Abraham — Which they justly supposed must have been, if Abraham had seen him.
 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Before Abraham was I AM — Even from everlasting to everlasting. This is a direct answer to the objection of the Jews, and shows how much greater he was than Abraham.
 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Then they took up stones — To stone him as a blasphemer; but Jesus concealed himself - Probably by becoming invisible; and so passed on - With the same ease as if none had been there.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on John》
Chapter 8. Deliverance of an Adulterous Woman
I. All men Have Sinned
II. Jesus the Light of the World
III. The Truth Shall Make You Free
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
The Light Of The World (8:12)
1. The gospel of John records at least seven remarkable claims by
a. "I am the bread of life" - Jn 6:48
b. "I am the light of the world" - Jn 8:12
c. "I am the door" - Jn 10:9
d. "I am the good shepherd" - Jn 10:11
e. "I am the resurrection and the life" - Jn 11:25
f. "I am the way, the truth, and the life" - Jn 14:6
g. "I am the vine" - Jn 15:5
2. In making such statements, Jesus reveals much...
a. About the world around us, and the lives we live
b. About Himself, and what He has to offer to us
3. In this study, we will focus our attention on His claim to be "The
Light Of The World"...
a. As recorded in Jn 8:12... "I am the light of the world. He who
follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of
b. Made by Jesus in the treasury of the temple (part of the Court of
Women) - cf. Jn 8:20
c. In which there were "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"
- Jameison, Fausset, and Brown
[As we examine the words of Jesus, we notice what is implied about the
world in which we live...]
I. THERE IS DARKNESS IN THE WORLD
A. THE SYMBOLISM OF DARKNESS...
1. Used metaphorically to symbolize distress, mourning,
perplexity, ignorance and death - Isa 9:1-2; Job 5:14; 12:
24-25; 10:21; 17:13
2. Used figuratively of moral depravity - cf. Jn 3:19; Ro 13:
12-13; Ep 5:11
B. THE REALITY OF DARKNESS...
1. Seen in the news (terrorism, war, oppression, sexual abuse,
2. Viewed in the media (pornography, filthy language)
3. Experienced in life (adultery, physical and verbal abuse, false
4. As described by the apostle Paul, many walk in darkness...
- cf. Ep 4:17-19
a. In the futility of their minds
b. Darkened in their understanding
c. Alienated from the life of God
d. Ignorant because of the blindness of their heart
e. Past feeling, given over to lewdness
f. Working all uncleanness with greediness
[While there may be varying degrees of darkness in which people find
themselves, if they live in the world they must contend with darkness.
To those in darkness, Jesus offers hope...]
II. JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
A. HE IS THE LIGHT...
1. A claim made elsewhere in the gospel
a. In the prologue - Jn 1:4-9
b. By Jesus on other occasions - Jn 9:5; 12:35,46
2. He is the light, not a light
a. Indicating that He alone provides the true light
b. Even as He alone provides the true and living way - cf. Jn
3. As the light, Jesus is the source of life - Jn 8:
a. The abundant life (with peace, joy, love) - Jn 10:10; cf. Jn
b. The eternal life (including the resurrection) - Jn 11:25;
4. We must be wary of those who proclaim to offer "light"
a. Some may be servants of Satan - cf. 2 Co 11:13-15
b. At best, one can only reflect what light Jesus has already
B. OF THE WORLD...
1. Not for the Jews only, but for Gentiles (the nations) as well
a. As foretold by the prophets - cf. Isa 49:6; 60:1-3
b. As commanded of His apostles - cf. Ac 26:15-18
2. Available to all who believe, not an elect few
a. To everyone who believes in Jesus - Jn 12:46
b. To those who follow Jesus - Jn 8:12b
[How wonderful to know that in a world of darkness, we can have the
light of life through Jesus Christ, the light of the world! Yet we
should reiterate that He is truly the light...]
III. FOR THOSE WHO FOLLOW HIM
A. BY BECOMING HIS DISCIPLE...
1. Note the connection between following Jesus and being a
a. The word "disciple" means a follower, a learner
b. Only those who follow Him will have the light of life
c. Therefore only those who become His disciples will walk in
2. How one becomes a disciple (or follower) of Jesus
a. It begins with faith - Jn 12:46
b. It includes baptism - cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:16
B. BY ABIDING IN HIS WORD...
1. Only by abiding in His Word...
a. Are we truly His disciples (followers) - Jn 8:31
b. Do we truly have Christ - cf. 2 Jn 9
2. As we abide in His words, we not only walk in light, we become
a. Reflecting the light of Christ - cf. Ph 2:15-16
b. Proving what is acceptable, exposing that which is not - cf.
c. The light of the world, bringing glory to our Father in
heaven - cf. Mt 5:14-16
1. Are you confused, stumbling in a morass of darkness, making a mess of
a. Come to Jesus, the light of the world
b. Follow Him, who will give you the light of life
2. You can become a light to others walking in darkness...
a. As you reflect the light of Christ in your own life
b. As you abide in His teachings, and follow His doctrine
In a world of darkness, let us walk in the light of Him who leads us to
both the abundant life and eternal life...!
The Truth Shall Make You Free (8:31-36)
1. One of the better known statements of Jesus is this: "And you shall
know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (Jn 8:32)
2. Today this popular statement is often used in a political context...
a. Referring to freedom from political oppression
b. Extolling the value of the free press, and freedom of expression
3. While such are notable virtues, Jesus had something else in mind...
a. Freedom from something more serious than political oppression
b. Truth that comes from only one source
[Let's examine the context in which Jesus' statement is found (i.e., Jn
8:31-36). From a careful reading of it we first note...]
I. THE FREEDOM OF WHICH JESUS SPEAKS
A. FREEDOM FROM SIN...
1. The Jews misconstrued Jesus - Jn 8:33
a. They claimed to have never been in bondage (i.e., political
b. An odd claim in view of the present Roman occupation, and
past Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian captivities!
2. Jesus explains the context of His statement - Jn 8:34-36
a. He is talking about the slavery of sin
b. He offers freedom from the bondage of sin
B. THE BONDAGE OF SIN...
1. There is the guilt of sin
a. A guilt shared by everyone - Ro 3:23; 1 Jn 1:8
b. Even if one has committed only one sin (if such were
possible!) - Ja 2:10-11
2. There is the power of sin
a. Jesus describes how committing sin makes one a slave to sin
- Jn 8:34
b. Paul illustrated the dilemma of one in bondage to the power
of sin - Ro 7:14-24
[More oppressive than any kind physical slavery is the spiritual slavery
that comes from being a sinner! While man may legislate political
freedom, only Jesus provides freedom from the bondage of sin. How He
does this can be seen as we now examine...]
II. THE TRUTH OF WHICH JESUS SPEAKS
A. HIS DOCTRINE...
1. The truth of which Jesus speaks is His own word or doctrine
- Jn 8:31-32
2. Which offers freedom from the bondage of sin
a. From the guilt of sin through the blood of Christ - cf. Mt
26:28; Ep 1:7
b. From the power of sin through the Spirit of God - cf. Ro 8:
B. WHICH WE MUST OBEY...
1. To be His disciples indeed - Jn 8:31; cf. Lk 6:46
2. To be set free from sin - Ro 6:17-18; cf. He 5:9
C. BEGINNING WITH BAPTISM INTO CHRIST...
1. In which we are crucified with Christ - Ro 6:3
2. In which we die to sin, thus freed from sin - Ro 6:6b,7,
a. Its guilt removed by the blood of Jesus - Ac 2:38; 22:16
b. Its power weakened by the gift of the Holy Spirit - Ac 2:38;
3. In which we rise to newness of life, free now to serve God - Ro
a. With the aid of the continual cleansing of Jesus' blood
- 1 Jn 1:9
b. With the aid of the Spirit in putting to death the deeds of
the body - Ro 8:12-13
D. CONTINUING WITH ABIDING IN HIS WORD...
1. As stated by Jesus - Jn 8:31
2. As reiterated by John - 2 Jn 9
1. Perhaps we can now better appreciate the significance of the Great
a. To make disciples by baptizing them - Mt 28:19
b. To make disciples by teaching them to observe all that Christ
commanded them - Mt 28:20
2. For in carrying out the Great Commission into all the world...
a. We offer the truth that really makes one free!
b. Freedom from sin, the burden which truly oppresses mankind!
Are you under the heavy burden of sin, both it's guilt and it's power?
Then respond to the Savior's tender invitation:
"Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am
gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Mt 11:28-30)
Accept His call to discipleship ("take My yoke...learn from Me"),
remembering His promise in our text:
"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."
Is God Your Father? (8:42)
1. We often hear people speak of the "Fatherhood of God"...
a. Suggesting that all people are the children of God
b. There is some truth to that, for we are all the offspring of God
- cf. Ac 17:28-29
2. Yet in one sense, not everyone has God as their Father...
a. Jesus identified some who did not have God as their Father - Jn
b. He even said their father was the devil! - Jn 8:44
3. Who is your Father? God or the devil...?
a. If God is your Father, you will love Jesus - cf. Jn 8:42
b. Love of the Son is proof that we have God as our Father
[Do we love the Son? How does love for Jesus express itself? We prove
that God is our Father when we love the Son in at least seven ways. For
I. BY TRUSTING IN JESUS
A. CAN LOVE EXIST WHERE THERE IS NO TRUST...?
1. Between husband and wife?
2. Between friends?
B. SO TRUST IN JESUS IS INHERENT TO LOVING HIM...
1. He asks us to trust Him - cf. Jn 14:1
2. How can we say that we love Him, if we don't trust Him?
C. DO WE REALLY TRUST JESUS...?
1. To be the way, the truth, the life (enough to put our souls in
His hands)? - Jn 14:6
2. To be the provider of our daily needs (enough to put the
kingdom first)? - Mt 6:33
[If we trust Jesus in this way, we must surely love Him - and thus God
is our Father! But we also show our love for Jesus...]
II. BY OBEYING HIS COMMANDMENTS
A. KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS IS INDICATIVE OF LOVE...
1. As Jesus made clear, time and again - Jn 14:15,21,23,24; 15:10
2. Can anything be more clear?
a. Yet some might accuse us of "legalism" because we stress
keeping His commands
b. If keeping His commandments is legalism, then I plead
1) I love Him and want to abide in His love
2) Don't you?
B. YET MANY FAIL TO DO WHAT JESUS TEACHES...
1. He said to repent (Mk 1:14-15) - but many don't, while
professing to love Him
2. He said to be baptized and observe all that He commanded (Mk
16:16; Mt 28:19-20) - yet many say baptism is not a
[Jesus said it best in Lk 6:46...why bother to call Him Lord if we don't
do what He says? If God is our Father, we will obey Jesus Him gladly
because we love Him. We also show love for Jesus...]
III. BY DELIGHTING IN HIS COMPANY
A. IF YOU LOVE SOMEONE, YOU ENJOY BEING WITH THEM...
1. E.g., friends, loved ones
2. Can you imagine someone loving Jesus, but not wanting to be
B. YET IT SEEMS DO NOT ENJOY BEING WITH CHRIST...!
1. Demonstrated by their disregard for His Word revealed by the
Spirit - Jn 16:12-14
a. They don't make the effort to read it
b. They don't take advantage of opportunities to study it
2. Demonstrated by their lack of prayer which Jesus is willing to
answer - cf. Jn 14:13-14
a. They don't pray as they should privately
b. They don't appreciate the blessing of congregational prayer
3. Demonstrated by their sporadic attendance - cf. Mt 18:20
a. Where Jesus has promised to be present
b. Where many seem to pass by opportunities to assemble
C. WHY SUCH DISREGARD FOR THE COMPANY OF CHRIST...?
1. For those new in faith, it is likely ignorance
2. For others, Satan and sin has hardened them into complacency
- cf. He 3:12-14
[If we love Jesus, we will love the opportunities to be in His company.
We will also show our love...]
IV. BY SPEAKING ABOUT HIM
A. WE OFTEN DEMONSTRATE LOVE THIS WAY...
1. "Let me tell you about my grandchildren!"
2. "You want to see the latest pictures?"
B. SO THE EARLY CHURCH DEMONSTRATED THEIR LOVE FOR JESUS...
1. E.g., the apostles - Ac 5:41,42
2. E.g., those scattered abroad by persecution - Ac 8:1,4
C. DO WE NOT LOVE THE LORD...?
1. How can we be the children of God, if we are ashamed to speak
of His Son?
2. Imagine treating your family that way
[We should always be ready to speak about Jesus (cf. 1 Pe 3:15). We
also show our love...]
V. BY WILLINGLY SUFFERING FOR HIM
A. MANY MAKE GREAT SACRIFICES FOR OTHERS...
1. Parents give up much to be able to have and support children
2. People are willing to jeopardize their lives for loved ones
3. Even a dog will risk his life to save his master
B. DO WE LOVE OUR LORD ANY LESS...?
1. Especially when we receive salvation through His suffering?
- He 5:7-9
2. Paul called Timothy to join in suffering with him for Christ
- cf. 2 Ti 1:7-12
3. Peter likewise enjoins all to suffer willingly if need be - cf.
1 Pe 2:19-21; 4:1
[Another way to express our love for Jesus, and thereby prove that God
is our Father...]
VI. BY LONGING TO BE LIKE HIM
A. CHILDREN DEMONSTRATE LOVE THROUGH IMITATION...
1. By adapting mannerisms of the parents they love
2. Some good, some not (such as bad habits)
B. CAN ONE SAY THEY LOVE JESUS, BUT NOT WANT TO BE LIKE HIM...?
1. Especially when imitating Jesus is the goal of Christian
2. Note Co 3:9-11; Ga 2:20
[Finally, we show love for Jesus...]
VII. BY DESIRING TO PLEASE HIM
A. CONSIDER PEOPLE IN LOVE...
1. What man or woman won't go out of their way to please the one
2. They'll change clothes, mannerisms, hobbies, etc.
B. CHRISTIANS ARE TO BE SIMILAR...
1. For we are a pure virgin betrothed to Christ - cf. 2 Co 11:2
2. Because of His love for us, we should live for Him - 2 Co 5:
3. Do you have a compelling desire to please Christ?
4. You do if you truly love Him!
1. If one does not love the Lord Jesus, they are accursed - cf. 1 Co
a. Why? Because if you do not love Jesus then God is not your
Father, Satan is!
b. If God is your Father, then you will love the Son and demonstrate
in these various ways!
2. How does one initially become a child of God? - cf. Ga 3:26-27
a. It involves faith, and putting Christ on in baptism
b. This demonstrates our love for Christ as well
c. For we are willing to become one with Him, just as two in marriage
become one out of love
Is God your Father? Do you love Jesus enough to obey Him and become a
child of God?