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Nave's Topical Bible - Blindness; Darkness; Jesus, the Christ; Jesus Continued; Light; Regeneration; Righteous; Wisdom; Scofield Reference Index - World-System; Thompson Chain Reference - Dark Days; Discipleship; Followers; Light, Spiritual; Light-Darkness; Names; Titles and Names; The Topic Concordance - Following; Jesus Christ; Light; Torrey's Topical Textbook - Blindness, Spiritual; Candlestick; Light; Titles and Names of Christ; Types of Christ;
Verse John 8:12. Then spake Jesus again unto them — Allowing the story about the woman taken in adultery to be authentic, and to stand here in its proper place, we may consider that our Lord, having begun to teach the people in the temple, was interrupted by the introduction of this woman by the scribes and Pharisees; and now, having dismissed them and the woman also, he resumes his discourse.
I am the light of the world — The fountain whence an intellectual light and spiritual understanding proceed: without me all is darkness, misery, and death. The Divine Being was, by the rabbins denominated, The light of the world. So in Bamidbar Rabba: "The Israelites said to God, O Lord of the universe, thou commandest us to light lamps to thee, yet thou art THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD: and with thee the light dwelleth." Our Lord, therefore, assumes here a well known character of the Supreme Being; and with this we find the Jews were greatly offended.
Shall not walk in darkness — He shall be saved from ignorance, infidelity, and sin. If he follow me, become my disciple, and believe on my name, he shall have my Spirit to bear witness with his, that he is a child of God. He shall have the light of life-such a light as brings and supports life. The sun, the fountain of light, is also the fountain of life: by his vivifying influences, all things live-neither animal nor vegetative life could exist, were it not for his influence. Jesus, the Sun of righteousness, Malachi 4:2, is the fountain of all spiritual and eternal LIFE. His light brings life with it, and they who walk in his light live in his life. This sentiment is beautifully expressed and illustrated in the following inimitable verse (all monosyllables except one word) of that second Spenser, Phineas Fletcher. Speaking of the conversion of a soul to God, he says:-
"New LIGHT new LOVE, new LOVE new LIFE hath bred;
A LIFE that lives by LOVE, and loves by LIGHT:
A LOVE to him, to whom all LOVES are wed;
A LIGHT, to whom the sun is darkest night:
Eye's LIGHT, heart's LOVE, soul's only LIFE he is:
LIFE, soul, love, heart, LIGHT, eye, and all are his:
He eye, LIGHT, heart, LOVE, soul; He all my joy and bliss."
PURPLE ISLAND, Can. I. v. 7.
Some suppose our Lord alludes to the custom of lighting lamps or torches, on the first day of the feast of tabernacles. But as these words seem to have been spoken the day after that last and great day of the feast, mentioned John 7:37, they may rather be considered as referring to the following custom: It has already been observed, that the Jews added a ninth day to this feast, which day they termed, The feast of joy for the law; and on that day they were accustomed to take all the sacred books out of the chest where they had been deposited, and put a lighted candle in their place, in allusion to Proverbs 6:23: For the commandment is a LAMP (or CANDLE) and the law is life: or to Psalms 119:105: Thy word is a LAMP unto my feet, and a LIGHT unto my path. If this custom existed in the time of our Lord, it is most likely that it is to it he here alludes; as it must have happened about the same time in which these words were spoken. See Buxtorf. Synagog. Jud. c. xxi.
As the Messiah was frequently spoken of by the prophets under the emblem of light, see Isaiah 60:1; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 9:2, the Pharisees must at once perceive that he intended to recommend himself to the people as the Messiah, when he said, I am the light of the world.
The rabbins think that the Messiah is intended in Genesis 1:8, And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. "From this we may learn that the holy and blessed God saw the light of the Messiah and his works before the world was created; and reserved it for the Messiah, and his generation, under the throne of his glory. Satan said to the holy and blessed God, For whom dost thou reserve that light which is under the throne of thy glory? God answered: For him who shall subdue thee, and overwhelm thee with confusion. Satan rejoined, Lord of the universe, show that person to me! God said, Come and see him. When he saw him, he was greatly agitated, and fell upon his face, saying, Truly this is the Messiah, who shall cast me and idolaters into hell." Yalcut Rubeni, fol. 6. This is a very remarkable saying; and, as it might have existed in the time of our Lord, to it he might have alluded in the verse before us. The thing itself is true: the Messiah is the light of the world, and by him Satan's empire of idolatry is destroyed in the world, and the kingdom of light and life established. See several similar testimonies in Schoettgen.
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 8:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-8.html. 1832.
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).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on John 8:12". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/john-8.html. 2005.
Again therefore Jesus spake 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.
JESUS; THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
I am the light of the world ... is the second of the seven great "I am's" of John. See: John 6:35; 8:12; 10:9; 10:11; 11:25; 14:6; and 15:5.
Several suggestions of what might have prompted such a metaphor by Jesus are: (1) the great lamps kindled in the temple court during the feast of tabernacles, (2) the glorious sun rising at that very moment over the mount of Olives, and (3) the pillar of fire that lighted the way for Israel in the wilderness; but it seems more reasonable to suppose that if Jesus needed any suggestion of such a metaphor he would have rather found it in the "light" passages of the Old Testament. Note:
I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation to the end of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6). But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings (Malachi 4:2).
As the sun is the source of all light, power, and energy on earth, Jesus the Sun of righteousness is the source of all spiritual light, power, and energy. Light is the only thing that can come into contact with filth and remain uncontaminated. Christians are the "light of the world" (Matthew 5:14), but theirs is a reflected light. Men of righteous intention seek the light (John 3:19ff). Light either kills or develops vegetation, depending on whether or not it is rooted in soil; and the gospel has that same dual function (2 Corinthians 2:15ff). Light is its own witness. See next verse.
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 8:12". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-8.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.
I am the light of the world - See the notes at John 1:4, John 1:9.
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 8:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-8.html. 1870.
12. I am the light of the world. Those who leave out the former narrative, which relates to the adulteress, (213) connect this discourse of Christ with the sermon which he delivered on the last day of the assembly. It is a beautiful commendation of Christ, when he is called the light of the world; for, since we are all blind by nature, a remedy is offered, by which we may be freed and rescued from darkness and made partakers of the true light Nor is it only to one person or to another that this benefit is offered, for Christ declares that he is the light of the whole world; for by this universal statement he intended to remove the distinction, not only between Jews and Gentiles, but between the learned and ignorant, between persons of distinction and the common people.
But we must first ascertain what necessity there is for seeking this light; for men will never present themselves to Christ to be illuminated, until they have known both that this world is darkness, and that they themselves are altogether blind. Let us therefore know that, when the manner of obtaining this light is pointed out to us in Christ, we are all condemned for blindness, and everything else which we consider to be light is compared to darkness, and to a very dark night. For Christ does not speak of it as what belongs to him in common with others, but claims it as being peculiarly his own. Hence it follows, that out of Christ there is not even a spark of true light There may be some appearance of brightness, but it resembles lightning, which only dazzles the eyes. It must also be observed, that the power and office of illuminating is not confined to the personal presence of Christ; for though he is far removed from us with respect to his body, yet he daily sheds his light upon us, by the doctrine of the Gospel, and by the secret power of his Spirit. Yet we have not a full definition of this light, unless we learn that we are illuminated by the Gospel and by the Spirit of Christ, that we may know that the fountain of all knowledge and wisdom is hidden in him.
He who followeth me. To the doctrine he adds an exhortation, which he immediately afterwards confirms by a promise. For when we learn that all who allow themselves to be governed by Christ are out of danger of going astray, we ought to be excited to follow him, and, indeed, by stretching out his hand — as it were — he draws us to him. We ought also to be powerfully affected by so large and magnificent a promise, that they who shall direct their eyes to Christ are certain that, even in the midst of darkness, they will be preserved from going astray; and that not only for a short period, but until they have finished their course. For that is the meaning of the words used in the future tense, he shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life Such is also the import of this latter clause, in which the perpetuity of life is stated in express terms. We ought not to fear, therefore, lest it leave us in the middle of the journey, for it conducts us even to life The genitive of life, in accordance with the Hebrew idiom, is employed, instead of the adjective, to denote the effect; as if he had said, the life-giving light We need not wonder that such gross darkness of errors and superstitions prevails in the world, in which there are so few that have their eyes fixed on Christ.
(213) “ De la femme adultere.”
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 8:12". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-8.html. 1840-57.
Now Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again to the temple ( John 8:1-2 ),
Now the feast is over, but Jesus is returning to the temple on the next day.
and all of the people came on to him; and he sat down, and taught them ( John 8:2 ).
I told you this morning that the rabbi always sat when he talked.
And the scribes and the Pharisees brought unto him a women taken in adultery; and when they sat her in the midst, they said unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act ( John 8:3-4 ).
We caught her in the very act.
Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what do you say? And this they said, tempting him, that they might have an occasion to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he did not even hear them. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and he 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. And they were surded, 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 women standing there in the midst ( John 8:5-9 ).
Now, I have a couple of...well, I have one problem with this, and then a comment. The problem: where was the man? Because they caught them in the very act. And according to the law of Moses they were both to be stoned. Why did they only bring the woman if they were caught in the act? So there was an injustice at the very onset, in their own judgments. They should have brought the man too. The question: what was Jesus writing there in the sand? Now, of course, the scripture doesn't tell us, so we can guess. My guess is that starting with the oldest of those Pharisees in the crowd, who were really pushing Him and challenging, "Our law says stone her, what do you say?" you know. And here was ole Levi, the old man, pressing the point, and so Jesus probably wrote in the sand the name Levi. And then, "Last Tuesday at two in the afternoon, why were you," and started writing out what Levi was doing the other day at two in the afternoon. And Levi said, "Hmm, I think my wife wanted me to pick up a loaf a bread. I better get home, you know." And he split. It says they were one by one convicted. So Levi's gone, so he writes "Simon". And He begins to write one of Simon's sins of the previous day or so. Simon gets all embarrassed and flustered and he takes off.
And so down the line from the oldest to the youngest, Jesus begins to write their names and write the things they have been doing. Because they were, all of them, convicted one by one in their own conscious. And they went out one by one, beginning from the eldest even to the youngest, until there was no one left but the woman. And when Jesus had stood up again, He just put His head down and just started writing. Finally,
When he stood up again, he saw no one but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, what happen to your accusers? hasn't any man condemned you? And she said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more ( John 8:10-11 ).
That's an important thing. "Go," but don't forget the last, "and sin no more." It's not just a license. Jesus said, "God did not send Me into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through me might be saved. And he that believeth is not condemned" ( John 3:17-18 ). So here's a woman caught in the act of a capital sin according to the Mosaic Law, but Jesus is saying to her, "I don't condemn you." Because He didn't come to condemn, He came to save. And there He demonstrated His glorious ministry: seeking and saving that which was lost. She didn't need to be condemned, she needed to be saved. We don't need to be condemned, we need to be saved.
Now as we move on in Romans 8:0 on Thursday nights, we're soon gonna be getting to that interesting rhetorical question, "Who is he that condemeth?" It is true that Christians live under much condemnation. But who is he that condemns? If you as a child of God are living under condemnation, is it because Jesus is condemning you? God help us to be freed from this stereotype picture of God that we have of just waiting for us to do something wrong so He can rub us out. We so often sort of transpose the image of Santa Claus over to God, as though God is a Santa Claus and, you know, all of our prayers are just to get the good gifts from Him. Tell me what you want today. What do you want for Christmas little boy? And so prayers just to get all the things from God that we want. But in carrying that image over, we also see Him making out a list and checking it twice, gonna find out who's naughty and nice. And because we know that we've been naughty and we feel guilty over our sins, we feel that God is condemning. Who is he that condemns? Paul does not declare who condemns. He only declares negatively who isn't condemning. He said, "It is Christ who has died, yea rather is risen again, and is even at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us" ( Romans 8:34 ). He's not condemning us. He's interceding for us. And Jesus did not condemn the sinner. To this woman He said, "Neither do I condemn you. Just go and sin no more."
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: and he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life ( John 8:12 ).
He said, "I am the bread of life." Now He is declaring, "I am the light of the world." He is making radical claims. "If a man follows Me, he will not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
And the Pharisees therefore said unto him, You are bearing record of yourself; and so your record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know from whence I came, and where I'm going; but you cannot tell from whence I've come, or where I'm going. You judge after the flesh; and I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me ( John 8:13-16 ).
And again pressing the claim, "The Father sent me."
It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bears witness of me. Then they said unto him, Where is your Father? And Jesus answered, You neither know me, nor my Father: for if you had known me, you would of known my Father also. And these words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come. Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sins: for where I go, you cannot come. Then the Jew said, Is he gonna kill himself? because he says, where I go, you cannot come. And he said unto them, You are from beneath; and I am from above: you are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that you will die in your sins: for if you believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins ( John 8:17-24 ).
Notice again what heavy radical statements Jesus is making. I mean, He's laying things now straight on the line. He's declaring very plainly to them the truth, and what is the truth? If you don't believe in Him you're going to die in your sins. For God has made provision for the forgiveness of our sins, but that provision is believing in Jesus Christ, and if you don't believe in Him then there is no provision and you will die in your sins. And if you die in your sins you are lost.
And so Jesus is just squaring off with these fellows now. He's saying "You're from beneath, I'm from above."
Then they say unto him, Who are you? And Jesus said unto them, The very same one that I told you from the beginning. And 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. And they understood not that he was speaking to them of the Father. And then said Jesus unto them, When you have lifted up the Son ( John 8:25-28 ),
And, of course, that term lifted up is the term that refers to the cross. So He's actually saying, "When you have lifted Me up on the cross, or, when you have crucified the Son of man,"
then shall ye know that I am, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: and the Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him ( John 8:28-29 ).
What a remarkable statement to be able to make!! Oh, I wish that I could make that statement. After just one day I wish I could make that statement. "I do always those things that please Him."
Now the Father testified that, he said, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Jesus said, "There's no unrighteousness in Me, I do always those things that please Him." And in a little bit He's gonna to say, "Which of you can convince Me of sin or show Me a sin that I have done?" "I do always those things that please Him."
Now as He spoke these words, many believed on him. And then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then you are my disciple indeed ( John 8:30-31 );
Now you believe on Me, now just continue in My Word, and if you do then you are really my disciples.
And you will know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. And so they answered him and they said, We are Abraham's seed, we were never in bondage to any man ( John 8:32-33 ):
Right at the present moment they were in bondage to Rome, but they didn't recognize that and that was one of their problems.
They continually rebelled against the Roman authority and finally in 70 A.D. the nation was completely wiped out because of this attitude, "We are in bondage to no man." And that attitude brought the destruction of the nation...in the revolt of 70 A.D. when the Romans sent Titus with his legions and they came and just wiped out the nation itself. But it's interesting the spirit of these people. "We are Abraham's seed, we're in bondage to no man." Jesus said, you know, "You shall the truth, the truth shall make you free." How do you say you will be made free?
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is a servant of sin ( John 8:34 ).
You say you're free, but if you commit sin you're a servant of sin. The Bible tells us that whomsoever we yield ourselves servants to obey, his servant we become. Whether of sin unto unrighteousness or of obedience unto eternal life.
Now it is interesting how quickly a person can become a slave of sin. It's interesting how quickly sin can get a hold upon a person's life and begin to control them. If you yield yourself, your body to sin, it can get such a hold upon you that you become its slave, and we have seen people enslaved by sin. And Jesus is here declaring that if you commit sin you become the servant of sin. You say you are free . . . oh no you're not; you're the servants of sin.
And the servant who abides not in the house for ever: but the Son abides ever. And if the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed ( John 8:35-36 ).
How I love my freedom in Jesus Christ. How I love my liberty that I have in Him. In fact, I love it so much that I carefully guard it.
Now one problem that a lot of people have is that they don't appreciate their freedom and they don't guard it. The freedom that I enjoy is the freedom not to. Not necessarily the freedom to. I have the freedom to, but I enjoy the freedom not to. Because many times if I exercise the freedom to, then I no longer have the freedom not to. So it's important how you exercise your freedom. Thank God I don't have to drink. Thank God I don't have to do these things. Some people are compelled. Some people have no control. Some people are slaves. I'm free; I don't have to. I have the freedom not to because I've been set free by the Son. And I tell you, Paul the apostle spoke about guarding that freedom. He said, "All things are lawful for me." Man, I am free. But he said, "I will not be brought under the power of any." If I exercise my freedom in an activity that in itself can bring me under its influence or power, I'm sacrificing my freedom and I'm no longer free--I'm now under the influence of the power of this habit of whatever it is that I have done. I've become controlled by the...I'm now the servant or the slave of sin. But when the Son set you free, you're free indeed. And thank God He can set you free from any binding power of sin that you might have in your life. He can set you free from drug addiction. He can set you free from alcoholism. He can set you free from any power of sin that might be holding you tonight. You need not be a servant of sin, because Jesus Christ can set you free tonight from whatever it is that is binding your life and holding you under its influence and power. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Oh, how I revel in it and enjoy my freedom.
"I know that you are Abraham's seed."
Now they said here earlier, "We are Abraham's seed, we're not in bondage to anybody." Jesus said,
I know you're Abraham's seed; but you seek to kill me, because my word has no place in you. And I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do that which you have seen with your father. And they answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father ( John 8:37-39 ).
And Jesus said, "Oh, no." How is it they are Abraham's seed and Abraham is not their father? Because Jesus is talking both about the physical and the spiritual. Being of the seed of Abraham does not make you a child of Abraham. For Abraham was the father of those who believed. He was actually the progenitor of many nations, from Abraham came for the Ishmaelites. They were Abraham's seed, but they weren't Abraham's children by promise. So He's talking about the spiritual children and the physical seed of Abraham, and there is a vast difference. And even to these Jews He's acknowledging, "Yes, you are of Abraham seed, but he's not really your father." You see, spiritually you're not a child of Abraham because you don't believe, and He was making that distinction. So, "I know that you are Abraham seed, you've descended from him, but you seek to kill Me because My word has no place in you and speak that which I have seen and all." They answered and said unto Him, "Abraham is our father."
And Jesus said unto them, If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me, a man that has told you truth, which I have heard of God: and this did not Abraham ( John 8:39-40 ).
Abraham didn't try and kill Me; he believed God's works, and that's what God accounted to Him for righteousness. Now I'm telling the word of God and you're trying to kill Me. That isn't Abe...you're not doing Abraham's work when you're trying to kill Me.
You do the deeds of your father. And then they said unto him, We're not born of fornication ( John 8:41 );
This could be a reference to the virgin birth. They could be here declaring your mother bore you out of wedlock. "We're not born of fornication." And it could be that the story of Mary had gotten around. That Joseph wasn't really the father of Jesus. And they did not believe that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and so they are accusing Him of being born out of wedlock.
Now the Bible asserts that Mary was a virgin and that the birth of Christ was a divine miracle because the power of the Highest came upon her, and Jesus was the Son of God. Born through the work and agency of the Holy Spirit impregnating Mary. Here it seems to be a low blow at Jesus, challenging the virgin birth.
There is an interesting conclusion that can be drawn from this. In the accounts in the scripture, the accounts of Mary, the mother of Jesus, we do find that she is one of the most remarkable women who ever lived. Surely the most blessed woman who ever lived. When she visited her cousin Elizabeth there in the hill country of Judea, she said, "Blessed art though among women. And blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And from hence forth all generations shall call you blessed." Why? Because God gave to her the highest honor and privilege that any woman could ever have. God chose her as the instrument to bring His Son into the world. What an honor. But, God, in making that choice, made the choice wisely and, no doubt, chose a young girl of highest character and virtue, and this is demonstrated in what is called the Magnificat of Mary in Luke's gospel, chapter 2, where her...in chapter 1 there, where we hear her declaring, "My soul that magnify the Lord and my spirit that rejoice, for He has regarded the lowest state of His handmaid . . . " and goes on and just in glorious, rapturous praises unto God, expressing a depth of character in soul that is just absolutely marvelous. And all the way through, the accounts where Mary is brought into the picture it's always in a very admirable way. Except here. "We're not born of fornication." You know your mother bore you out of wedlock.
Now, being this admirable character that Mary was, and knowing the psychology of a mother's love for her child, there's nothing, it seems, in the world that quite excels that mother's love for a child. That natural God-given love. When Jesus was being tried to be crucified, Mary could have put an end to the whole procedure, very quickly, very simply. When she saw that things were going against her son, that He was being condemned to be crucified, she could have stepped before Pilate and said, "Hold on, wait a minute. I'll name the man who did it." And she could have named the father of Jesus, had there been an earthly father. And I'm sure, had there been, she would of, knowing a mother's love. But she couldn't, she was helpless. And she had to see Him die because there was no way that she could free Him by naming an earthly father because He was born of God. And that is one of the powerful arguments for the virgin birth of Jesus; it's one of the psychological arguments of the virgin birth. The fact that Mary could not free Him from condemnation by naming an earthly father because He had no earthly father, He was born of God.
But here it seems that they're sort of casting this aspersion at Him.
We're not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. And Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, you would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent Me ( John 8:41-42 ).
Now He's been telling, you know, "He who have sent Me...He who have sent Me." Now He's telling them plainly Who it was that sent Him. "If God were your Father you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God." A plain declaration of Jesus that He proceeded forth and came from God.
There are those who say, "Well, Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God." Wait a minute. Right here He is proclaiming and declaring plainly to them, "I proceeded forth and came from God. Neither came I of Myself. I didn't come on My own, He sent Me."
And why do not understand my speech? even because you cannot hear my word. For ye are of your father the devil ( John 8:43-44 ),
They said, "We have Abraham for our father." And then they said, "We have one father even God." And Jesus said, "Oh, no. God is not your father, but ye are of your father the devil."
and the desires of your father you will do ( John 8:44 ):
Satan's desire to destroy Jesus, you're gonna do it.
he was a murderer from the beginning ( John 8:44 ),
You're gonna murder Me.
he abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. And when he speaks a lie, he's only speaking of his own nature: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me. Which of you can convince me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe me? He that is of God hears God's word: ye therefore hear them not, because you are not of God ( John 8:44-47 ).
Now this is a very heavy thing. Because as you are here tonight, are you hearing God's word or is this just all gobbly gook? You're saying, "Ah well, you know, get over with it, will you, man. I wanna go home." Are you really...does God's word speak to your heart? Do you receive it? Does it strike your heart? Is it warming your heart? Is it ministering and feeding you, or is it just something that you just are sort of shoving aside? You can very quickly tell who your father is. "He that is of God hears God's words. You therefore hear them not because you are not of God."
Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Did we not well say that you're a Samaritan, and you have a devil? And Jesus answered, I don't have a devil; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. And I seek not my own glory: there is one who seeks and judges. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keeps my sayings, he shall never see death ( John 8:48-51 ).
Oh, Jesus is not gonna let them off the hook. He's just gonna put the knife in deeper. I mean He's ready for controversy. You guys want to hear it? Alright, go . . . let's go for it, you know.
And now this radical statement, "If a man keeps My saying he shall never see death." Then the Jews said unto Him, "Now we know that you have a devil. For Abraham is dead and the prophets, and you say if a man keeps my saying he shall never taste of death."
Jesus often was misunderstood because Jesus spoke of spiritual things and these people could only think in terms of material things. And there is a biblical definition of death and a material definition of death. And from a human material definition, death is the separation of a man's consciousness from his body. If they put the EKG on a person, and they get a flat reading, there's no motion at all, and twenty-four hours later they again put the EKG on and there is still a flat reading, if they then, which they often do, pull the plug and watch the EKGs if there still remains a flat movement, the person is clinically dead. It means that there is no activity in the brain at all. The brain or the consciousness of the person has departed, there's no brain activity. He is dead, his consciousness is now separated or has left his body.
Now a spiritual definition of death is the separation of your consciousness from God. So that, the Bible says if a person is living only for pleasure they're dead while they're still living. You see, if pleasure is your god, if pleasure is your chief goal, if you're living simply for pleasure, then your consciousness is separated from God, thus you are dead. Even though you may still be alive from a physical standpoint, yet you're dead because your consciousness is separated from God. God is not in your conscious the Bible says.
So Jesus, making reference to that spiritual definition, "If a man keeps My sayings he will never see death." I will never consciously be separated from God. Hey, my consciousness may leave this old body, but I will not be dead. I'll be more conscious of God then than ever, because I'll be right in the presence of God. Very much alive. "He that keeps my saying will never see death," I believe that. I believe that completely. I believe that one day my consciousness will leave this body and people will read in the paper "Chuck Smith died." That's poor reporting, inaccurate to say the least. To accurately record they must write "Chuck Smith moved out of a decrepit worn-out tent into a beautiful new mansion." I won't be dead, I'll be very much alive their in the presence of God in His eternal kingdom. For we know that when this earthly tabernacle is dissolved, we have a building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. So then we who are in these bodies do often groan earnestly desiring to move out. Not to be an embodied spirit, but that I might move in to that new body which is in heaven. For I know that as long as I'm still living in this body I'm absent from the Lord. So I would rather be absent from this body and to be present with the Lord. So one day I'm gonna move out of the tent into the house. Not dead, just moved.
The Jews said unto Him, "Now we know that you have a devil, for Abraham is dead and the prophets, and you say if a man keeps my saying, he shall never taste of death." Now they made a wrong assumption of Abraham. You remember, Jesus when He was talking to the Sadducees, and He asked them the question...they, you know, they were the ones that didn't believe in resurrection or spirits or angels. Jesus said, "How come when God spoke to Moses at the burning bush, He said, 'I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob'?" He's not the God of the dead, but of the living. They made a wrong assumption when they said Abraham was dead. Abraham was very much alive at that point. In fact, he was comforting all of those who were awaiting the Messiah. Luke, the sixteenth chapter, and the poor man was taken by the angel into Abraham's bosom where he was comforting those who were waiting.
So are you greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets which are dead: who do you make yourself? And Jesus answered, If I honored myself, my honor is nothing: it is my Father that honors me; of whom you say, that he is your God: Yet you have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I don't know him, I would be a liar just like you: but I know him, and I keep his sayings ( John 8:53-55 ).
You see, Jesus is not really mincing words with these guys now. I mean, He's laying it on them. And then He said,
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. And the Jews said unto him, You're not even fifty years old yet, and have you seen Abraham? And Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am ( John 8:56-58 ).
This is it. This is His open plain declaration of His divinity. Using now that name of the eternal God. When Moses said, "Whom shall I say sent me?" "Say I Am that I Am hath sent thee." The name that expresses the eternal nature of God. "You're not fifty years old. You mean that Abraham saw You?" And Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am."
Now they understood what He said because,
They took up stones to throw at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so he passed by ( John 8:59 ).
Now when did Abraham see Him? "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." When did Abraham see Him? It is quite possible that this is a reference to Melchizedek in the Old Testament. For when Abraham came back from the victory over the five kings, there came out the King of Salem, the King of Peace, and met Him and gave Him bread and wine or communion. And Abraham gave tithe of all that he had to Him, or give Him a tenth of all of the spoils. Now this priest of the Old Testament, Melchizedek, was called the priest of the Most High God. Honored by Abraham, by Abraham giving of his substance to Him, of tithe of all that he had. And it is quite possible that Melchizedek was what is known as a theophany, the appearance of God in the Old Testament in the form of Jesus Christ. "Before Abraham was, I am. And that Abraham rejoiced to see My day and he saw it." There is other evidence that shows that Melchizedek could very well have been none other than Jesus Christ. It is said there is no record of his genealogies. He did not come from the Levitical priesthood, because Levi wasn't even born. Levi was a descendent of Abraham, from which the priest...the family of the priest came. So it is quite possible that Melchizedek was actually an appearance of Jesus to Abraham in the Old Testament.
There is one other possibility, and that is, when the angel of the Lord was on his way to destroy the city of Sodom. As you read the text carefully, Abraham was talking with Jehovah, or Jesus Christ. As he was interceding for the cities of Sodom/Gomorrah. "What if there are fifty righteous people, will you destroy the righteous with the wicked? Shouldn't the Lord be fair?" And as you read that, you'll find that Abraham is addressing Jehovah and Jehovah is answering Abraham. So it is possible that that is where Abraham saw Jesus and rejoiced to see His day. But Jesus existed from the beginning and was manifested during the Old Testament period. So this is an interesting sidelight.
Next week, chapters 9 and 10. May you be blessed of the Lord as you go your way. Strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit working in your life. Filled to overflowing with God's love as you go out as a light shining in the darkness, to bring that light to those who sit in darkness that they may have hope in a day of great darkness. In Jesus' name. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on John 8:12". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/john-8.html. 2014.
The context of the events in this paragraph continues to be the temple during the feast of Tabernacles (John 8:20; cf. John 7:14). Jesus was speaking to the Jews who had assembled there, some of whom were residents of Jerusalem and others pilgrims from other parts of Palestine and the world. This teaching may have taken place on the day after the feast, which was also a day of great celebration. [Note: Edersheim, 2:164.]
Jesus here made the second of His "I am" claims (cf. John 6:35). This time He professed to be the Light of the World (cf. John 1:4). The water of life and the bread of life figures represent what satisfies and sustains life. The light of life figure stands for what dispels the darkness of ignorance and death. Jesus was claiming that whoever believes in Him will enjoy the light that comes from God’s presence and produces life.
The light metaphor was ancient in Israel’s history. The Jews associated light with God’s presence. He had created light on the first day and lights on the fourth day of Creation (Genesis 1:3; Genesis 1:14-19). He had revealed Himself in a flame to Moses on the Midianite desert (Exodus 3). He had also protectively led the Israelites through the wilderness in a cloudy pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21-22; Exodus 14:19-25; Numbers 9:15-23), and He had appeared to them on Mt. Sinai in fire. These are only a few instances in which God had associated His presence with fire and light (cf. Psalms 27:1; Psalms 36:9; Psalms 119:105; Proverbs 6:23). Symbolically the light represented various characteristics of God, particularly His revelation, holiness, and salvation (cf. Ezekiel 1:4; Ezekiel 1:13; Ezekiel 1:26-28; Habakkuk 3:3-4).
Isaiah had predicted that the Servant of the Lord would be a light to the nations (Isaiah 49:6). God Himself would illuminate His people in the messianic age (Isaiah 60:19-22; Zechariah 14:5-7; cf. Revelation 21:23-24). However in Jesus’ day the light of righteousness was in mortal conflict with the darkness of sin (John 1:4; John 1:9; John 3:19-21). Many religions contain the light and darkness symbolism, but John presented Jesus as the true Light. It is particularly the aspect of light as revelation that constituted the focus of the controversy surrounding Jesus’ claim. The Jews considered the Old Testament and their traditions as authoritative revelation, the true light. They also spoke of Torah, the temple, Adam, and Johanan ben Zakkai, one of their leaders, as the light of the world. [Note: See Beasley-Murray, p. 128.] Now Jesus challenged that authority by claiming to be the true (final and full, cf. John 1:9) revelation from God (cf. Hebrews 1:1-3). He invited the Jews to "follow" Him as the true light (cf. the pillar of fire in the wilderness).
"More important to the immediate context, the theme of light is not unrelated to the question of truthfulness and witness in the following verses, for light cannot but attest to its own presence; otherwise put, it bears witness to itself, and its source is entirely supportive of that witness." [Note: Carson, The Gospel . . ., pp. 338-39.]
Part of the feast of Tabernacles was the lamp-lighting ceremony. Every evening during the festival a priest would light the three huge torches on the menorah (lampstand) in the women’s court (or treasury) of the temple. These lights would illuminate the entire temple compound throughout the night. People would bring smaller torches into the temple precincts, light them, and sing and dance sometimes all through the night. It was one of the happiest occasions of the entire Jewish year. [Note: Shepard, p. 352; Edersheim, 2:165-66.]
"Now the brilliant candelabra were lit only at the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles; there is dispute as to the number of nights on which the illumination took place, but none as to the fact that at the close of the feast it did not. In the absence of the lights Jesus’ claim to the Light would stand out the more impressively." [Note: Morris, p. 388.]
By the way, in chapters 6, 7, and 8 Jesus claimed that He fulfilled wilderness types of God: manna, water, and light.
". . . the Pharisees could not have mistaken the Messianic meaning in the words of Jesus, in their reference to the past festivity: ’I am the Light of the world.’" [Note: Edersheim, 2:166.]
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 8:12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-8.html. 2012.
Jesus’ testimony about Himself 8:12-20
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 8:12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-8.html. 2012.
5. The light of the world discourse 8:12-59
Following Jesus’ claim to be the water of life (John 7:37-38), official opposition against Him intensified considerably. The following sections of this Gospel trace this rising opposition. While some believed on Jesus, most of His own people rejected Him (cf. John 1:11-12). This section of the text deals with Jesus’ claim to be the Light of the World and the controversy it generated.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 8:12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-8.html. 2012.
Then spake Jesus again unto them,.... Syriac fragment of Bishop Usher's, published by De Dieu, prefaces this verse thus, "when they were gathered together", Jesus said, c. that is, the Scribes and Pharisees, who went out and returned again or some others of them, who came after this, to whom Christ addressed himself thus:
I am the light of the world; which he might say, on occasion of the rising sun, which was now up, and might shine brightly in their faces; see John 8:2; which is אור העולם, "the light of the world", as Aben Ezra in Psalms 19:8 rightly calls it: thus on occasion of the water in Jacob's well, he discoursed of living water; and upon the Jews at Capernaum mentioning the manna, he treated at large concerning himself as the bread of life: and he might also make use of this character, and apply it to himself, with a view to some passages in the Old Testament, which speak of him under the metaphor of the sun, as Psalms 84:11, and represent him as the light; and the Jews t themselves say, that light is one of the names of the Messiah; and God himself is called by them, the light of the world u: and likewise he may have regard to those pompous titles and characters, which the Jewish doctors assumed arrogantly to themselves, and oppose himself to them; for they not only called Moses their master, אור העולם, "the light of the world" w, and also the law of Moses x, but their Rabbins and doctors;
Psalms 84:11- :. By the world here is meant, not the whole world, and all the individuals of it; for though Christ, as the Creator of all things, is the light of men, and does lighten every individual man with the light of nature and reason, yet not in a spiritual and saving manner, as is here intended; nor the whole body of the elect of God, though they are sometimes called the world, being the better part of it, and are made light in the Lord, in a special sense; nor the Jews only, and the chosen of God, among them, though Christ was a great light to many of them, that sat in darkness, and in the shadow of death; but the Gentiles are here designed, who were usually called by the Jews, the world; Psalms 84:11- :. And these were in gross darkness before the coming of Christ, about the Divine Being, concerning the object, nature, and manner of worship; the Scriptures, the law, and Gospel; the Messiah, and his office and work; the Spirit of God, and his operations of grace; the resurrection of the dead, and a future state; now Christ came to be a light of the Gentiles, as well as the glory of his people Israel: our Lord seems to have respect to the prophecy of him, in Isaiah 42:6, as well as alludes to the sun in the firmament; whose light is diffused to all the nations of the earth, and not confined to one spot of land only: but since Christ was the minister of the circumcision, and was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, it may be asked, how could he be the light of the Gentiles? to which it may be replied, that he was so by his apostles, who were sent by him with the light of the Gospel, into all the world; and by his Spirit, who enlightens the minds of men, who were darkness itself, with the light of Christ: for he is not only the author and giver of the light of nature to all men, but also of the light of grace to all his chosen ones, Gentiles as well as Jews; who, in his light, see light; see themselves lost and undone, and him to be the only willing, able, suitable, and complete Saviour; and behold wondrous things in the doctrines of the Gospel, and have some glimpse of glory; and he is likewise the author of all the light of glory the saints enjoy in the other world; the Lamb is the light of that state; he is their everlasting light, and their glory; and happy are they who are his followers now:
he that followeth me; not corporeally, but spiritually, by faith; for as believing is expressed by coming to Christ, so by following after him: compare with this, John 12:46; and with love and affection to him, the desires of the soul being unto him, and to the remembrance of him; and in the exercise of every grace and discharge of every duty, in imitation of him; and through a variety of sufferings and tribulations, pressing after him as the guide, captain, and forerunner: and such
shall not walk in darkness; in the darkness of unregeneracy, not knowing what they are, and where they are, and whither they are going; for such know they are in the light; and though they were blind, now they see; they know in whom they have believed, and that they are in Christ, in the covenant of grace, and in the love of God, and are going to heaven and eternal happiness; such shall not walk in the darkness of unbelief; but walk by faith on Christ; nor in the darkness of error, but in the truth of the Gospel, and as becomes it; and though they may sometimes walk without the light of God's countenance, yet light shall arise to them; and such "shall not go into darkness", as the Ethiopic version renders the words, into outer darkness, or the darkness of eternal death:
but shall have the light of life; the grace of God abiding in them now; which as it is a well of living water, springing up to eternal life, so it is a shining light, which increases to the perfect day: as darkness and death, so light and life go together; grace, which is enlightening, is also quickening and comforting, and issues in eternal light and life; a light that will never be extinguished, and a life that will continue for ever, with never fading joys and pleasures; see Job 33:30.
t Bereshit Rabba, fol. 1. 3. Echa Rabbati, fol. 50. 2. & Jarchi in Psal xliii. 3. u Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 15. fol. 217. 2. w Tzeror Hammor, fol. 114. 3. x T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 4. 1.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 8:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-8.html. 1999.
|Christ's Discourse with the Pharisees.|
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. 13 The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. 14 Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet 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. 15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. 16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. 17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. 19 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. 20 These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.
The rest of the chapter is taken up with debates between Christ and contradicting sinners, who cavilled at the most gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. It is not certain whether these disputes were the same day that the adulteress was discharged; it is probable they were, for the evangelist mentions no other day, and takes notice (John 8:2; John 8:2) how early Christ began that day's work. Though those Pharisees that accused the woman had absconded, yet there were other Pharisees (John 8:13; John 8:13) to confront Christ, who had brass enough in their foreheads to keep them in countenance, though some of their party were put to such a shameful retreat; nay perhaps that made them the more industrious to pick quarrels with him, to retrieve, if possible, the reputation of their baffled party. In these verses we have,
I. A great doctrine laid down, with the application of it.
1. The doctrine is, That Christ is the light of the world (John 8:12; John 8:12): Then spoke Jesus again unto them; though he had spoken a great deal to them to little purpose, and what he had said was opposed, yet he spoke again, for he speaketh once, yea, twice. They had turned a deaf ear to what he said, and yet he spoke again to them, saying, I am the light of the world. Note, Jesus Christ is the light of the world. One of the rabbies saith, Light is the name of the Messiah, as it is written, Daniel 2:22, And light dwelleth with him. God is light, and Christ is the image of the invisible God; God of gods, Light of lights. He was expected to be a light to enlighten the Gentiles (Luke 2:32), and so the light of the world, and not of the Jewish church only. The visible light of the world is the sun, and Christ is the Sun of righteousness. One sun enlightens the whole world, so does one Christ, and there needs no more. Christ in calling himself the light expresses, (1.) What he is in himself--most excellent and glorious. (2.) What he is to the world--the fountain of light, enlightening every man. What a dungeon would the world be without the sun! So would it be without Christ by whom light came into the world,John 3:19; John 3:19.
2. The inference from this doctrine is, He that followeth me, as a traveller follows the light in a dark night, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. If Christ be the light, then, (1.) It is our duty to follow him, to submit ourselves to his guidance, and in every thing take directions from him, in the way that leads to happiness. Many follow false lights--ignes fatui, that lead them to destruction; but Christ is the true light. It is not enough to look at this light, and to gaze upon it, but we must follow it, believe in it, and walk in it, for it is a light to our feet, not our eyes only. (2.) It is the happiness of those who follow Christ that they shall not walk in darkness. They shall not be left destitute of those instructions in the way of truth which are necessary to keep them from destroying error, and those directions in the way of duty which are necessary to keep them from damning sin. They shall have the light of life, that knowledge and enjoyment of God which will be to them the light of spiritual life in this world and of everlasting life in the other world, where there will be no death nor darkness. Follow Christ, and we shall undoubtedly be happy in both worlds. Follow Christ, and we shall follow him to heaven.
II. The objection which the Pharisees made against this doctrine, and it was very trifling and frivolous: Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true,John 8:13; John 8:13. In this objection they went upon the suspicion which we commonly have of men's self-condemnation, which is concluded to be the native language of self-love, such as we are all ready to condemn in others, but few are willing to own in themselves. But in this case the objection was very unjust, for, 1. They made that his crime, and a diminution to the credibility of his doctrine, which in the case of one who introduced a divine revelation was necessary and unavoidable. Did not Moses and all the prophets bear witness of themselves when they avouched themselves to be God's messengers? Did not the Pharisees ask John Baptist, What sayest thou of thyself? 2. They overlooked the testimony of all the other witnesses, which corroborated the testimony he bore of himself. Had he only borne record of himself, his testimony had indeed been suspicious, and the belief of it might have been suspended; but his doctrine was attested by more than two or three credible witnesses, enough to establish every word of it.
III. Christ's reply to this objection, John 8:14; John 8:14. He does not retort upon them as he might ("You profess yourselves to be devout and good men, but your witness is not true"), but plainly vindicates himself; and, though he had waived his own testimony (John 5:31; John 5:31), yet here he abides by it, that it did not derogate from the credibility of his other proofs, but was necessary to show the force of them. He is the light of the world, and it is the property of light to be self-evidencing. First principles prove themselves. He urges three things to prove that his testimony, though of himself, was true and cogent.
1. That he was conscious to himself of his own authority, and abundantly satisfied in himself concerning it. He did not speak as one at uncertainty, nor propose a disputable notion, about which he himself hesitated, but declared a decree, and gave such an account of himself as he would abide by: I know whence I came, and whither I go. He was fully apprised of his own undertaking from first to last; knew whose errand he went upon, and what his success would be. He knew what he was before his manifestation to the world, and what he should be after; that he came from the Father, and was going to him (John 16:28; John 16:28), came from glory, and was going to glory, (John 17:5; John 17:5). This is the satisfaction of all good Christians, that though the world know them not, as it knew him not, yet they know whence their spiritual life comes, and whither it tends, and go upon sure grounds.
2. That they are very incompetent judges of him, and of his doctrine, and not to be regarded. (1.) Because they were ignorant, willingly and resolvedly ignorant: You cannot tell whence I came, and whither I go. To what purpose is it to talk with those who know nothing of the matter, nor desire to know? He had told them of his coming from heaven and returning to heaven, but it was foolishness to them, they received it not; it was what the brutish man knows not,Psalms 92:6. They took upon them to judge of that which they did not understand, which lay quite out of the road of their acquaintance. Those that despise Christ's dominions and dignities speak evil of what they know not,Jude 1:8; Jude 1:10. (2.) Because they were partial (John 8:15; John 8:15): You judge after the flesh. When fleshly wisdom gives the rule of judgment, and outward appearances only are given in evidence, and the case decided according to them, then men judge after the flesh; and when the consideration of a secular interest turns the scale in judging of spiritual matters, when we judge in favour of that which pleases the carnal mind, and recommends us to a carnal world, we judge after the flesh; and the judgment cannot be right when the rule is wrong. The Jews judged of Christ and his gospel by outward appearances, and, because he appeared so mean, thought it impossible he should be the light of the world; as if the sun under a cloud were no sun. (3.) Because they were unjust and unfair towards him, intimated in this: "I judge no man; I neither make nor meddle with your political affairs, nor does my doctrine or practice at all intrench upon, or interfere with, your civil rights or secular powers." He thus judged no man. Now, if he did not war after the flesh, it was very unreasonable for them to judge him after the flesh, and to treat him as an offender against the civil government. Or, "I judge no man," that is, "not now in my first coming, that is deferred till I come again," John 3:17; John 3:17. Prima dispensatio Christi medicinalis est, non judicialis--The first coming of Christ was for the purpose of administering, not justice, but medicine.
3. That his testimony of himself was sufficiently supported and corroborated by the testimony of his Father with him and for him (John 8:16; John 8:16): And yet, if I judge, my judgment is true. He did in his doctrine judge (John 9:39; John 9:39), though not politically. Consider him then,
(1.) As a judge, and his own judgment was valid: "If I judge, I who have authority to execute judgments, I to whom all things are delivered, I who am the Son of God, and have the Spirit of God, if I judge, my judgment is true, of incontestable rectitude and uncontrollable authority, Romans 2:2. If I should judge, my judgment must be true, and then you would be condemned; but the judgment-day is not yet come, you are not yet to be condemned, but spared, and therefore now I judge no man;" so Chrysostom. Now that which makes his judgment unexceptionable is, [1.] His Father's concurrence with him: I am not alone, but I and the Father. He has the Father's concurring counsels to direct; as he was with the Father before the world in forming the counsels, so the Father was with him in the world in prosecuting and executing those counsels, and never left him inops consilii--without advice,Isaiah 11:2. All the counsels of peace (and of war too) were between them both,Zechariah 6:13. He had also the Father's concurring power to authorize and confirm what he did; see Psalms 89:21; Isaiah 42:1. He did not act separately, but in his own name and his Father's, and by the authority aforesaid,John 5:17; John 14:9; John 14:10. [2.] His Father's commission to him: "It is the Father that sent me." Note, God will go along with those that he sends; see Exodus 3:10; Exodus 3:12: Come, and I will send thee, and certainly I will be with thee. Now, if Christ had a commission from the Father, and the Father's presence with him in all his administrations, no doubt his judgment was true and valid; no exception lay against it, no appeal lay from it.
(2.) Look upon him as a witness, and now he appeared no otherwise (having not as yet taken the throne of judgment), and as such his testimony was true and unexceptionable; this he shows, John 8:17; John 8:18, where,
[1.] He quotes a maxim of the Jewish law, John 8:17; John 8:17. That the testimony of two men is true. Not as if it were always true in itself, for many a time hand has been joined in hand to bear a false testimony, 1 Kings 21:10. But it is allowed as sufficient evidence upon which to ground a verdict (verum dictum), and if nothing appear to the contrary it is taken for granted to be true. Reference is here had to that law (Deuteronomy 17:6), At the mouth of two witnesses shall he that is worthy of death be put to death. And see Deuteronomy 9:15; Numbers 35:30. It was in favour of life that in capital cases two witnesses wee required, as with us in case of treason. See Hebrews 6:18.
[2.] He applies this to the case in hand (John 8:18; John 8:18): I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bears witness of me. Behold two witnesses! Though in human courts, where two witnesses are required, the criminal or candidate is not admitted to be a witness for himself; yet in a matter purely divine, which can be proved only by a divine testimony, and God himself must be the witness, if the formality of two or three witnesses be insisted on, there can be no other than the eternal Father, the eternal Son of the Father, and the eternal Spirit. Now if the testimony of two distinct persons, that are men, and therefore may deceive or be deceived, is conclusive, much more ought the testimony of the Son of God concerning himself, backed with the testimony of his Father concerning him, to command assent; see 1 John 5:7; 1 John 5:9-11. Now this proves not only that the Father and the Son are two distinct persons (for their respective testimonies are here spoken of as the testimonies of two several persons), but that these two are one, not only one in their testimony, but equal in power and glory, and therefore the same in substance. St. Austin here takes occasion to caution his hearers against Sabellianism on the one hand, which confounded the persons in the Godhead, and Arianism on the other, which denied the Godhead of the Son and Spirit. Alius est filius, et alius pater, non tamed aliud, sed hoc ipsum est et pater, et filius, scilicet unus Deus est--The Son is one Person, and the Father is another; they do not, however, constitute two Beings, but the Father is the same Being that the Son is, that is, the only true God. Tract. 36, in Joann. Christ here speaks of himself and the Father as witnesses to the world, giving in evidence to the reason and conscience of the children of men, whom he deals with as men. And these witnesses to the world now will in the great day be witnesses against those that persist in unbelief, and their word will judge men.
This was the sum of the first conference between Christ and these carnal Jews, in the conclusion of which we are told how their tongues were let loose, and their hands tied.
First, How their tongues were let loose (such was the malice of hell) to cavil at his discourse, John 8:19; John 8:19. Though in what he said there appeared nothing of human policy or artifice, but a divine security, yet they set themselves to cross questions with him. None so incurably blind as those that resolve they will not see. Observe,
a. How they evaded the conviction with a cavil: Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? They might easily have understood, by the tenour of this and his other discourses, that when he spoke of his Father he meant no other than God himself; yet they pretend to understand him of a common person, and, since he appeals to his testimony, they bid him call his witness, and challenge him, if he can, to produce him: Where is thy Father? Thus, as Christ said of them (John 8:15; John 8:15), they judge after the flesh. Perhaps they hereby intend a reflection upon the meanness and obscurity of his family: Where is thy Father, that he should be fit to give evidence in such a case as this? Thus they turned it off with a taunt, when they could not resist the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke.
b. How he evaded the cavil with a further conviction; he did not tell them where his Father was, but charged them with wilful ignorance: "You neither know me nor my Father. It is to no purpose to discourse to you about divine things, who talk of them as blind men do of colours. Poor creatures! you know nothing of the matter." (a.) He charges them with ignorance of God: "You know not my Father." In Judah was God known (Psalms 76:1); they had some knowledge of him as the God that made the world, but their eyes were darkened that they could not see the light of his glory shining in the face of Jesus Christ. The little children of the Christian church know the Father, know him as a Father (1 John 2:13); but these rulers of the Jews did not, because they would not so know him. (b.) He shows them the true cause of their ignorance of God: If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. The reason why men are ignorant of God is because they are unacquainted with Jesus Christ. Did we know Christ, [a.] In knowing him we should know the Father, of whose person he is the express image, John 14:9; John 14:9. Chrysostom proves hence the Godhead of Christ, and his equality with his Father. We cannot say, "He that knows a man knows an angel," or, "He that knows a creature knows the Creator;" but he that knows Christ knows the Father. [b.] By him we should be instructed in the knowledge of God, and introduced into an acquaintance with him. If we knew Christ better, we should know the Father better; but, where the Christian religion is slighted and opposed, natural religion will soon be lost and laid aside. Deism makes way for atheism. Those become vain in their imaginations concerning God that will not learn of Christ.
Secondly, See how their hands were tied, though their tongues were thus let loose; such was the power of Heaven to restrain the malice of hell. These words spoke Jesus, these bold words, these words of conviction and reproof, in the treasury, an apartment of the temple, where, to be sure, the chief priests, whose gain was their godliness, were mostly resident, attending the business of the revenue. Christ taught in the temple, sometimes in one part, sometimes in another, as he saw occasion. Now the priests who had so great a concern in the temple, and looked upon it as their demesne, might easily, with the assistance of the janizaries that were at their beck, either have seized him and exposed him to the rage of the mob, and that punishment which they called the beating of the rebels; or, at least, have silenced him, and stopped his mouth there, as Amos, though tolerated in the land of Judah, was forbidden to prophesy in the king's chapel, Amos 7:12; Amos 7:13. Yet even in the temple, where they had him in their reach, no man laid hands on him, for his hour was not yet come. See here, 1. The restraint laid upon his persecutors by an invisible power; none of them durst meddle with him. God can set bounds to the wrath of men, as he does to the waves of the sea. Let us not therefore fear danger in the way of duty; for God hath Satan and all his instruments in a chain. 2. The reason of this restraint: His hour was not yet come. The frequent mention of this intimates how much the time of our departure out of the world depends upon the fixed counsel and decree of God. It will come, it is coming; not yet come, but it is at hand. Our enemies cannot hasten it any sooner, nor our friends delay it any longer, than the time appointed of the Father, which is very comfortable to every good man, who can look up and say with pleasure, My times are in thy hands; and better there than in our own. His hour was not yet come, because his work was not done, nor his testimony finished. To all God's purposes there is a time.
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Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on John 8:12". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/john-8.html. 1706.
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30