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Bible Commentaries

Wells of Living Water Commentary

John 8

Verses 12-42

The Light of the World

John 8:12-42


1. Jesus Christ the Life, was the Light. When we study-John 1:1-4 , we think of Christ in the beginning as the Word, creating by His command all things, for "without Him was not any thing made that was made." In Him was life; that is, He possessed inherent life, and as such He was the Creator of life. There follows a marvelous conclusion: the Life that was before all things was also the Light. We remember that before He ever created the sun and the moon and the stars to give light, He was the Light, and He said, "Let there be light: and there was light."

2. The darkness of sin in the hearts of men failed to comprehend the Light. The darkness on the primeval earth quickly succumbed, when God said, "Let there be light"; but the darkness which shrouded men's hearts failed to respond to the light. John 3:1-36 puts it this way, "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

How dark is that darkness that hates the light. Men hate the light because they love their evil deeds, and they know that if they come into the light of Christ's effulgent glory, their evil deeds will be made manifest, and they will stand reproved.

To the contrary, they who do the truth will come to the light that their deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought of God.

3. In Christ the Light, there is no darkness at all. We now turn to John's Epistle, chapter 1: "This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all." If there is no darkness in Him, there is no sin, and there is no sorrow, or sighing, nor anything that shadows the soul. In His presence, therefore, there is light, life, and fullness of joy. It is in the light of His countenance that we may safely hide from any and every encroachment of evil.

4. Christians are witnesses of the light. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came to be a witness of the Light. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. Would that all Christ's witnesses would accept John's position. The greatest man born of woman made no claim to greatness. He said he was not worthy to stoop down and unloose the latchet of Christ's shoes. He said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." He said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord." Let us do as he did.

5. We are not the Light, but we are children of the light. We are not of the darkness, for we have been saved out of the darkness. We are all children of the Light. What then? Let us walk in the light. Let us not sleep, but watch and be sober. How can children of the light dwell in darkness? Thus it is written: "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." It is only when we walk in the light, that we have fellowship with Him; and, thank God, the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all unrighteousness. If this were not so, we could not abide in the light.

1 John 2:1-29 tells us that our darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. Then it adds, "He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now." But "he that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him."


1. The source of all good. Light is the emblem of all that is good and gracious, and it alone has the power of dispelling the darkness. The sun is the light of the physical earth; Christ is the Light of the world peoples.

What is there that is pure, or lovely, or true, or good, that He has not given to man? It is written, that every good and perfect gift cometh from above, from the Giver of light. What have we that He did not give? All things temporal, all things eternal, are the gifts of His love. On earth Christ went about doing good, because He was the Giver of all good.

2. We live and move in Him. Should the Lord cut off from man His gifts, all people would at once succumb. We breathe His air, drink His water, receive His heat, eat His provided food. We are saved from sin by His Blood, we are kept from the evil one by Him, we are made heirs of eternal life in Him. The truth is, we live, and move, and have our being in Christ, the Son of God, our Saviour.

He is before all things, and in Him all things are held together. He is Life, and Love, and Light. He is All and in all.

His sun shines on the just and the unjust. It touches, each day, the whole world. The lowliest brown babe that hugs the thin breast of a heathen mother, lives in the glory of God's great body of physical light. Thus also does God's rain fall upon all men. There is not a land, the world around, where God is not its greatest Benefactor.

What is true in the realms earthly, and temporal, and physical, is just as true in the realms Heavenly, eternal, and spiritual. Christ died for all. He lives for all. He is the willing Saviour offered to all men; especially the Saviour of those who believe. Christ's commission is "to every creature."

Let those who so gladly accept God's sunlight, also accept His grace.


1. Christ's record was true because He was true. The Pharisees said to Him, "Thou bearest record of Thyself; Thy record is not true." The Lord replied, "My record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go."

2. Christ's record was true because the Father bore witness of Him. The Father bore witness at His birth by the ambassage of angels who gave their magnificat above the shepherds' fields. One of them announced Christ as Saviour and Lord. All gave glory to God, as they broke forth in praise, saying "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." The heavens also were filled with the glory of God.

The Father again spoke approvingly of Christ at His baptism, and again at His transfiguration. The Father likewise gave His approval of the Son later on, when the Greeks said, "Sir, we would see Jesus." Again, and still later, when the Father received Christ up, and gave Him a seat at His right hand, He accepted every claim Christ had, ever made as to His Deity, as to His being sent forth by the Father, and as to His return to be with the Father.

Two witnesses, according to Jewish Law, established the truth. Think, withal, of the dignity and power of the Father and the Son who gave witness to Christ.

3. The Pharisees received not the witness of God. Tauntingly they said to Christ, "Where is Thy Father?" Jesus responded, "Ye neither know Me, nor My Father: if ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also."

This is still true. Christ and the Father are one. The two are one in word, in work, and in will. To see the Son was to see the Father; to know the Son was to know the Father. To one Christ said, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?"


1. There is a contrast between Christ's and their destiny. The Lord said, "I go my way * * ye cannot come." Why did He go one way, and they another? It was all due to the sin question. He knew no sin, did no sin, and in Him there was no sin. They were sinners by nature, sinners by deed, and sinners by choice. Sin cannot enter into Heaven. There shall no unclean thing go in thereat; nothing that maketh an abomination or a lie.

They could not go whither He went, because He went to the Father, and they could not go to the Father except by Him. They would not have Him, therefore they could not have the Father. They could not have the Father apart from Him, because He only could take away their sin, through His Blood. His was the only Name given among men whereby they could be saved.

When they cast Him off, and when any cast Him off, they can never get to the Father.

2. There is a contrast between Christ's and their natures. The Lord also said, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above." Then He added, "Ye are of this world; I am not of this world."

They were, in fact, from their father the devil, and the works of their father they did. Christ was from God, His Father, and the works of His Father He did.

Two cannot walk together unless they be agreed in nature, in ambition, in desires, in intents. Christ was from above therefore He loved the things above; they loved the things which were upon the earth, Christ set His affection on the things above; they, on the things which were upon the earth.

Sinners shall die in their sin, because they lived in them. He could only die for sin, but never could He die in sin, for He had no sin. Sinners die in their sins because they reject Christ who is Life forevermore. Death cannot abide where life goes.

IV. CHRIST'S X-RAY OF SINFUL HEARTS (John 8:28-29 ; John 8:37 )

1. He told them that they would lift Him up. This portrayed their attitude to the Son of God. At Pentecost Peter said, "Him * * ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." Suppose they did do it through envy: were they, therefore, to be excused? Suppose they rejected His claims and His Saviourhood and slew Him thinking Him an impostor: were they to be excused thereby? Suppose they were blind leaders of the blind: were they excused thereby? Nay, in nothing were they to be excused. They were plainly told the truth by the Lord. He dealt with them faithfully, instructively, and sufficiently; yet they went about to slay Him. He truly loved them, and all day long He held out His hands to them; yet they would have none of Him. They showed themselves a disobedient and gainsaying people. They demonstrated the shameful sinfulness of their own hearts.

Christ knew the sin of their unbelief would lead to His own crucifixion. He knew they would lift Him up on the Tree. Therefore, Christ knew their depth of sin.

2. Christ told them why their hearts were so sin-filled, and why they were so Satan-driven. He said, "Ye seek to kill Me, because My Word hath no place in you."

Thus it was: The supposed guardians of the Scriptures knew not the Scriptures. They who professed to know God, knew neither God nor His Son. Those who gave the Law, kept not the Law.

The X-ray of their hearts is the X-ray of every sinning and rejecting son of Adam. They have not His Word abiding in them. For this cause, He whom the Father sent they believe not, they love not, they obey not. They will not come to Him, because they believe Him not; they believe Him not, because they know Him not; they know Him not, because they know not His Word.

Do we not have multitudes of leaders in the churches who deny His Word? They reject every vital of the faith once delivered. The Spirit distinctly wrote of the certain men who would creep in, in these last days, even denying the very Lord who bought them.

V. MANY BELIEVED ON HIM (John 8:30-36 )

1. They believed as He spake unto them. It is written: "How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?" We praise God for the many who heard Christ and believed. This demonstrates that the others who heard, might have believed. They had the same opportunity, the same message from the Master. Thus those who believed, made those who believed not, without excuse.

They believed His Word. Faith carries with it great potentialities. Faith is the basis of many spiritual possibilities. Here are some of the achievements of faith: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved." His faith "was counted unto him for righteousness." Stop and consider what faith wrought through Abel, and Enoch, and Abraham, and Moses, and Rahab, and through Gideon, Barak, Samson, David, Samuel, etc. Thank God, many believed His Word!

2. How to become disciples indeed. Christ said to those who believed, "If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed." What did He mean? He meant that a true faith is a continued faith. He meant that a true faith is a faith that follows on to know the Lord. There is a Scripture which says, "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue." They loved the Lord, yet they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. To these Christ said, "Whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness."

There may be a faith, or a belief, that is the mere assent of the mind, an intellectual recognition of fact. True faith is the faith that continues in the Word, no matter the cost.

Thus faith that is real, goes further than an acknowledgment of truth, it includes the affiance of the heart.

3. True faith sets men free. Let us get Christ's words, "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." Free from what? From every foe that binds. The Lord said, "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. * * If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Christ came to set the captives to sin, and to circumstances, and to the tyranny of men, free. Let us therefore stand fast in the liberty wherewith He hath made us free.


1. Their boast "Abraham is our father." Literally, by natural generation, they were right. The Lord said, in acknowledgment of this, "I know that ye are Abraham's seed." However, they were not children of Abraham, in any real, spiritual sense. Mark what Christ told them:

"If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill Me, a Man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham."

There is no reason for us to boast in our church membership, our baptism, our gifts to the church, our knowledge of the creed of the church, nor anything else, if we are crucifying the Son of God afresh, and putting Him to an open shame.

It is useless to boast something which is not true.

2. Christ's charge: "Ye are of your father the devil." The language was strong, but it was true, for the works of the devil they did. His desires they fulfilled. The devil was a liar and did not abide in the truth. He was a liar, and the father of lies; he was a murderer from the beginning. Like father, like sons. They also did not abide in the truth; they were liars, and they sought to kill the Lord Jesus.

They boasted their relationship with Abraham, while Christ charged them with the things that were wholly foreign to Abraham. He told the truth, but they believed Him not.

3. They chided Him, in return, with dark insinuations. (1) They said, "We be not born of fornication." This was their rejection of Christ's Virgin Birth, and the insinuation that He was conceived out of wedlock. This charge and reproach is continually cast upon Christ today, by many so-called of the clergy.

(2) They said, "Thou * * hast a devil." They said it twice, in John 8:48 and also in John 8:52 . To what lengths can the human heart go in its denials of truth! No matter what Christ was, they denied Him, and they denounced Him. Yea, ultimately they crucified Him. Another time, the people said that Christ cast out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils.


1. When did Abraham see Christ's day? It certainly was not during the lifetime of our Lord. He saw Christ's day back during the centuries, when he went out of the land of Ur of the Chaldees, and made his way to Canaan. He saw Christ's day when he stood ready to offer his son Isaac, and, being stopped by Jehovah, he turned and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket.

2. What did Abraham see of Christ and His day? He saw Him as God's sacrifice for sin. He also saw Him a substitute for sin when he saw the ram a substitute for Isaac. He even named the place Jehovah-jireh "the Lord will provide Himself a lamb."

Is that what we see as we look backward to Calvary and its sacrifice? Do we see Christ made sin for us? bearing our iniquity? suffering, the Just for the unjust? Do we see Christ pouring His soul out unto death, that we might have life, by grace and through faith? Do we see the Good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep? And, as we see it all, do we exultantly cry out with the backward vision of faith, even as Abraham cried out with forward look of faith, saying, "The Lord has provided a sacrifice"?

3. What did Abraham do? He rejoiced; He exulted. How could he help being glad? That goat meant to Abraham, not alone the provision of Christ as a substitute, but it meant that both he and his son would never die that death which befalls the wicked and the unredeemed.

Abraham saw more that made him rejoice. He saw the vindication of his faith, and knew it was counted unto him for righteousness. No wonder he rejoiced.

And we may ask, And what did Christ do, as He, in His eternal omniscience, saw Abraham rejoice? He, too, rejoiced. Yes, there is always joy in Heaven when a soul is saved and safe from the wrath to come. What then will be the joy, the gladness, the rejoicing of Christ when He finally sees the full fruition of His Cross, in the gathering Home of untold myriads of the redeemed? Yes, He will see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied.


"At a certain English port the harbor lights are so arranged that when the pilot of an incoming vessel sees them all in line, shining as one light, he knows the vessel is in the deep water channel which will lead him safely into the harbor, and, keeping the lights in view, he pilots the vessel into harbor, however dark the night. So when the teaching of the Word of God (Psalms 119:105 ), the inward impulse of the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6 ), and the outward circumstances of providence (Acts 16:10 ) all combine to point in one direction, the waiting servant may 'go forward' (Exodus 14:15 ), well assured that he is in the right channel."

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Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on John 8". "Living Water".