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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary
John 8

 

 

Verses 1-11

88. Woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11)

When Jesus returned to the temple the next day, the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman whom they had caught in adultery, and asked him to give a judgment. This was not because they wanted to find out God's will, but because they wanted to trap Jesus and so have an accusation to bring against him. If he did not condemn the woman to death, they could accuse him to the Sanhedrin of defying the law. If he did condemn her to death, they could accuse him to the government of usurping Rome's authority (John 8:1-6a).

Jesus saw their cunning and refused to give a legal judgment. Instead he challenged the woman's accusers to exercise some moral judgment on themselves, with the result that none had the courage to pursue the matter further (John 8:6b-9). It was not Jesus' duty to condemn the woman, for he was neither a witness nor a judge. He was the Saviour of sinners, and having given the woman a practical lesson in truth and purity, he urged her to make a total break with her sinful past (John 8:10-11).


Verses 12-20

89. The light of the world (John 8:12-20)

In response to Jesus' statement that he was the light of the world, the Pharisees argued that he had no right to testify on his own behalf. In their view he had no supporting witnesses (John 8:12-13). Jesus replied that he did have the right to bear witness to himself, because he came from God and was united with God. God was his supporting witness, and that should have been sufficient (John 8:14).

The Jews were wrong in their judgments against Jesus, because they judged in a totally human way. The time for Jesus to act as the world's judge had not yet come, but even if he carried out such work immediately, his judgment would be true, again because of the unity between the Father and the Son (John 8:15-16). If the Jews insisted on having two witnesses as the law required, they had them in the Father and the Son. The two were in agreement, and therefore the Jews had to accept their testimony (John 8:17-18). The reason that Jesus' opponents failed to grasp what he was saying was that they did not know God (John 8:19-20).


Verses 21-30

90. Belief and unbelief (John 8:21-30)

Because the Jews could never get their minds above earthly things, they could never accept Jesus' claim that he came from God. By rejecting him they lost all chance of having their sins forgiven. They would die in their sins and thereby be excluded from heaven, the place to which Jesus would return after his death and resurrection (John 8:21-26).

Most of the people still did not understand how Jesus could be the Son of God, but one day in the near future they would have clear proof. They would see Jesus die on the cross, but then, by the power of God, rise from the dead. This would be an unmistakable demonstration of the unity between the Father and the Son (John 8:27-29). Some who heard Jesus speak did not wait for the events he spoke of, but put their faith in him immediately (John 8:30).


Verses 31-59

91. True freedom; true sonship (John 8:31-59)

Jesus used an illustration from slavery to show the people how he could help them in their need. They all knew that slaves could not free themselves. The only person who could free them was the owner of the house in which the slave worked, or the owner's son, acting on his father's authority. The Jews were slaves, in bondage to sin and unable to free themselves. The only one who could free them was God, acting through his Son Jesus. They would find their true freedom through faith in Jesus and continual obedience to his teaching. Again the Jews did not understand the spiritual truth Jesus was illustrating. Thinking only of ordinary earthly life, they argued that they had never been slaves of any nation. They had the freedom of sons, Abraham's sons (John 8:31-36).

To explain further, Jesus told his Jewish hearers that spiritually they were not sons of Abraham at all, but sons of the devil. They were trying to kill Jesus, and murder was a characteristic inherited from their spiritual father the devil, not from their earthly father Abraham (John 8:37-40).

Beginning at last to see that Jesus was applying the illustration to their relationship with God, the Jews argued with him accordingly, but again they missed his meaning. They thought, perhaps, that he was accusing them of being like the Samaritans, who were of mixed blood and mixed religion. They assured him that they were pure sons of Abraham nationally and pure sons of God spiritually (John 8:41). Jesus responded that if God was their Father they would welcome his Son as their Messiah, not try to kill him. They would believe his teaching, not dispute it. Truly, their father was not God, but the devil (John 8:42-47).

The Jews gave further proof that God was not their Father when they insulted his Son and so guaranteed God's judgment upon them. The Son is not concerned with gaining honour for himself. His chief concerns are to give honour to the Father on the one hand, and life to believers on the other (John 8:48-51). The Jews objected that Jesus was boasting to be greater than Abraham. Jesus replied that he was not boasting but merely telling the truth: he was united with God (John 8:52-55).

As for Abraham, he himself acknowledged Jesus to be greater by rejoicing when he foresaw the coming of the Messiah. The Jews objected that Jesus could not know Abraham's thoughts, because Abraham had died hundreds of years before Jesus was born. They were angered more when Jesus said that he existed even before Abraham. Jesus is the eternal God. The Jews considered such a claim to be blasphemy and immediately but unsuccessfully tried to kill him (John 8:56-59).

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on John 8:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/john-8.html. 2005.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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