John Chapter 8:1-30

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The Gospel Of John Chapter 8:1-30

I. Outline: I. Woman Caught In Adultery: 8:1-11 II. The Light Of The World: 8:12-20 III. Consequences Of Unbelief: 8:21-30 IV. True Children Of God: 8:31-47 V. Accusations Against Jesus: 8:48-59

II. Introductory Comments: The reader will probably had already noted that there is some question in various circles concerning the genuineness of John 8:1-11. The NASV in the side reference notes, ‘John 7:53-8:11 is not found in most of the old mss.’ This has moved some commentators to completely ignore these passages. And yet there is some reason why the translators decided to keep these verses in the text. Foster notes, ‘Although the American Standard Version carries the footnote stating that “most of the ancient authorities omit John 7:538:11”, yet the majority of the translators of the A.S.V. finally cast their vote in favor of the passage…This means that the translators attached great importance to the presence of the passage in so many of the early versions which were made from Greek manuscripts far older than any Greek unicals we now possess.’ 1 While many ancient Greek manuscripts do not contain the passage, it is still found in a good number of manuscripts. The Latin manuscripts, many of them very ancient, are almost solidly for the passage. Writing in the 4th century A.D., Jerome said concerning this passage that it was contained in “many, both Greek and Latin codices.” Various writers offer an explanation as to why this passage found itself omitted in so many manuscripts. Augustine, a contemporary of Jerome, says that the passage had been omitted by men of weak faith or by enemies of the true faith who feared that the passage might lead to low morals. (De Adulterinus Conjugiis, II: c7:III) Foster offers the same theory, that at an early date a copyist misunderstood the teaching of the passage and omitted it. The copyist mistook ‘neither do I condemn thee’ as an approval for adultery. ‘Later copyists, seeing that one of the manuscripts did not have this passage, became troubled over it and omitted it, or put it doubtfully at the close of the book.’ (Foster p. 798) 1

Studies In The Life Of Christ, R.C. Foster p. 796 1

Let the reader be impressed that when a copyist made a mistake, the mistake couldn’t be hidden. Let the reader also be impressed that the biblical text has been subjected to a higher level of scrutiny than any other book, and it has stood the test. The Bible isn’t an untested book.

III. Commentary: John 8:1 ‘But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.’ Unlike His enemies, Jesus hadn’t spent the night in Jerusalem (7:53). After teaching in Jerusalem, Jesus often spent the night outside the city, either camping out on the Mount of Olives which is East of the city, or staying in the home of Lazarus which was on the eastern side of the Mount, in Bethany. (See Luke 21:37; 22:39)

John 8:2 ‘And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.’ John 8:3 ‘And the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the midst.’ Points To Note: 1. Frustrated in their plot to have Jesus arrested (7:32), the enemies of Jesus try something different. 2. Right off the bat there are a number of things wrong with this situation. A. Where is the man that had been with this woman? The Law of Moses commanded that both were to be put to death (Deut. 22:22). B. And why bring the woman to Jesus, He wasn’t one of the Jewish authorities and neither was He a Roman authority. Everything about this situation smells like a set up (8:6). C. Woods notes, ‘All present knew that for centuries the Jews had not accepted the edict to which they referred literally, nor had their courts administered it; and in view of the fact the Romans, their conquerors, had taken from them the power of capital punishment they could not have enforced it if they would.’ (pp. 162-163) 3. Note the cleverness of these men. They deliberately wait until a crowd is around Jesus, then they enter and create a disturbance. ‘The scribes and Pharisees waited until the preaching service was in progress with a great multitude about Jesus listening to His teaching before they sprung the trap.’ (Foster p. 804)

John 8:4 ‘they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.”’ 2

“in the very act”-Tenney asks a good question when he says, ‘How did the Pharisees know where to capture the guilty woman?’ (p. 140) How often by coincidence do you run upon people involved in the very act of adultery? Something doesn’t seem aboveboard about all of this. And why is it that after being frustrated in arresting Jesus, do they the next day just so happen to find this woman? Tenney suggests that she might have been betrayed by her lover, and that would explain the absence of the man. It could also be that the Pharisees had known for a long time about the activities of this woman and had done absolutely nothing—until now. Because now, her sin might serve their purpose in trying to destroy Jesus. ‘Their main desire was to trap Jesus, not to purge Jerusalem of its moral evils.’ (Tenney p. 140) In view of some modern developments the reader should note that ‘adultery’ is clearly something sexual and not a one-time sin of divorcing to remarry someone else (see Matthew 5:32).

John 8:5 “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” “in the Law Moses commanded”-Yes, and in the Law Moses also commanded that the man as well as the woman in such a relationship be put to death (Deut. 22:22). These men were trying to set Jesus against the Law of Moses, but notice the hypocrisy: A. These same men hadn’t been carrying out this Law, they had showed little concern for it— until Jesus came along. B. They didn’t have the courage to take this woman to the lawful authorities and ask for the death sentence. C. Their tactic is classic and is still used to this day. Often the enemies of the truth try to find some seemingly ‘unworkable’ command in the Bible and attempt to use it against those who are trying to follow the Bible.

‘such women’-indicating their contempt for this woman. To them this woman is only a tool or a means of trying to destroy Jesus. To them she isn’t a human being.

“what then do You say?”-They were trying to put Jesus between a rock and a hard place. They thought, ‘on the one hand, if He refuses to have her stoned, we can show that He has disrespect for the Law of Moses. On the other hand, if He agrees to have her stoned, then we will accuse Him before the Roman authorities.’ According to Roman law the Jews were not permitted to execute anyone. Foster notes, ‘If Jesus refused to pass the death sentence, they would accuse him immediately as a traitor to the Old Testament law…They were careful to present their demand when Jesus was in the midst of a public service so that the multitude would all be witnesses against Him to destroy His influence throughout the nation. If Jesus took the other horn of the dilemma and passed the death sentence upon her, then they would….proceed to Pilate the governor with charges that He was in rebellion against Rome.’ (pp. 804-805) Be impressed that these men aren’t concerned about the Law of Moses. Rather, they are prepared to take the opposite position of whatever position which Jesus could assume in


their mind. The main point for them is to destroy Jesus, His influence and His person. What would God have them do to this woman is only a mere side issue. And note, since they weren’t putting people to death for adultery, they didn’t know the answer to their own question!

John 8:6 ‘And they were saying this, testing Him, in order that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground.’ ‘testing Him, in order that they might have grounds’-‘they were trying to trap Him’ (Nor). Either of accusing Him in the sight of the people as one who has no respect for the Law or before the Roman authorities as one who is inciting rebellion. Point To Note: The Pharisees wouldn’t be wrong in asking Jesus how they could keep Deut. 22:22 while being in subjection to a foreign power which has removed their right to execute the death sentence. The Pharisees aren’t wrong because they are asking questions about the ‘letter of the law’. For they aren’t keeping the law themselves. Rather, they were people who sought to use God’s law for their own selfish purposes.

‘But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground’-A tremendous amount of interest exists as to what He wrote. And yet, since the text doesn’t say, it is useless to speculate. Please note, Jesus isn’t puzzled by this question, He isn’t needing time to think.

John 8:7 ‘But they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”’ ‘But they persisted in asking Him’-For a moment they thought they had Him, they thought they had stumped Him and so they kept bugging Him, they poured it on. ‘Unabashed by the first silence, the persecutors kept on pressing for an answer. We can imagine that their conversation was on this order, as they stood there, crowding the Lord: “Well, what do you say…do you agree with Moses….what do you say…shall we stone her, as the law of Moses requires…what do you say…what do you say?”’ (Hendriksen p. 38)

“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”Points To Note:



This has been probably one of the most misused texts of Scripture. People use this verse to justify their silence in reference to things which are clearly wrong. ‘It would be very perverse to attempt to universalize the declaration of Jesus, for it would prevent the maintenance of law and order. If it required perfect people to pass judgment, then no judgment could ever be rendered against any criminal.’ (Foster p. 806) 2. Jesus isn’t justifying adultery (Matthew 5:28,32) and neither is He saying that only sinless men can judge others (Matthew 7:1ff; John 7:24; Ephesians 5:11). 3. Jesus’ statement demonstrated that these men were not as eager as they claimed to carry out this command from Moses, and neither were they morally competent to do so. 4. The Law made it clear that the witnesses were required to carry out the stoning (Deut. 17:7). 5. Jesus isn’t saying ‘He who is without sin-period..let him’, for that would have violated the Law. God didn’t require perfect men to carry out His punishments. Rather, these men were far beyond ‘imperfect’, at the present they were plotting His murder. They had violated the Law by not bringing the man this woman had been involved with, besides many other things. ‘The issue now was not whether the Law of Moses should be respected and obeyed—the Lord, in contrast with these Jews, gave the law its proper place and fulfilled it—but whether these hypocritical pretenders were the proper representatives of it and possessed of the moral competence to carry it out.’ (Woods p. 164) I believe that it is also important to note that Jesus isn’t inferring that each one of these men had secretly wanted to commit adultery and that they were just as guilty as the woman who had actually committed the act. They were just as guilty, but their sin was in another realm.

Barclay notes, ‘These Scribes and Pharisees were not looking on this woman as a person at all; they were looking on her only as a thing, an instrument whereby they could formulate a charge against Jesus. They were using her, as a man might use a tool, for their own purposes. To them she had no name, no personality, no heart, no feelings, no emotions; she was simply a pawn..’ (p. 6)

John 8:8 ‘And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground.’ John 8:9 ‘And when they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she had been, in the midst.’ ‘He was left alone, and the woman’-While these men were plotting terrible things, they still possessed a conscience. Some may have retreated because they were ashamed of their own sins, others because they had been out-matched and were now at a loss for what to say or what to do. Note that during all this time the woman hadn’t attempted to escape.


John 8:10 ‘And straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” John 8:11 ‘And she said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more.”’ “Lord”-In this instance, the woman probably is using the word ‘Lord’ in the common sense of ‘Sir’.

“Neither do I condemn you”-This isn’t a blanket statement. Jesus did condemn her, He called what she had done ‘sin’. Rather, Jesus is saying, ‘neither do I condemn you to death’. Note: God is fair. In the absence of qualified witnesses to the crime, the execution wasn’t to be carried out. Barclay notes, ‘In effect what Jesus was doing was not to abandon judgment, and not to say, “Don’t worry; it’s quite all right.” To put it in human terms, what He did was to defer sentence. He said, “I am not going to pass a final judgment and a condemnation NOW; go out, and prove that you can do better.”’ (p. 8)

“From now on sin no more”-Jesus clearly refers to her adultery as being sinful. The statement ‘sin no more’ doesn’t mean that Jesus requires a perfect life from this woman. But rather, she is to stop the habitual practice of sin, and especially in the context to stop having affairs. Adulterers and adulteresses can indeed enter the kingdom of God, only if they discontinue to live in adultery (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Points To Note: 1. We can stop the practice of sin! We can change. ‘He did not say: “It’s all right; don’t worry; just go on as you are doing.” He said: “It’s all wrong; go out and fight; change your life from top to bottom; go, and sin no more.” Here was no easy forgiveness..Jesus confronts the bad life with the challenge of the good life.’ (Barclay p. 9) 2. The woman didn’t excuse her actions. She offered no excuse for her conduct. And neither is it said that she resented the fact that Jesus called her a sinner. 3. Note that Jesus doesn’t justify her actions and He doesn’t excuse her present selfishness. She can do better and she must if she is going to end up saved. 4. This woman can ‘sin no more’ without the encouragement of other Christians, without the oversight of godly elders, and without a completed New Testament. So what is our excuse for not growing?

The Light Of The World John 8:12 ‘Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.”


‘Again therefore, Jesus spoke to them’-‘Them’ in the context includes the Pharisees (8:13).

“I am the light of the world”Points To Note: 1. The fact that various metaphors are used to describe Jesus (bread of life, light of the world, and so on) demonstrates that the nature of Jesus is so rich and glorious that ‘not a single metaphor can do justice to his greatness’ (Hendriksen p. 41). 2. Jesus is ‘the light’ and not ‘one of the lights’. It is only through Jesus that the glorious attributes of God can be seen (John 1:18; 14:9). 3. Light has various qualities: It dispels darkness, brings warmth, growth and healing. Can keep a person from stumbling. ‘to the ignorant he proclaims wisdom; to the impure, holiness, to those in sadness, gladness’ (Hendriksen p. 41) 4. Notice that Jesus didn’t say, ‘I am the light of Israel’. Rather He said, ‘of the world’. ‘Light reveals the beauties and glories and the ugliness and perils which the darkness conceals. Light brightens and purifies. Light makes possible life on earth in the physical sense.’ (Foster p. 810) 5. In the O.T., Jehovah is declared to be the light (Psalm 27:1; Isa. 10:17; 60:19). Various prophecies linked the coming Messiah to ‘light’ (Isaiah 9:1-2; Malachi 4:2; Luke 2:32). 6. Various writers note that during the recent Feast of Tabernacles, large candelabra’s had been lit at the beginning of the Feast which enlightened a good portion of the city. 7. ‘Bultmann sees the emphasis not in the fact that Jesus is distinguished from other claimants to give light, but from that human certainty that it already has the light.’ (Morris p. 438)

“he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness”-Notice that the promise is conditional. In order to avoid moral and spiritual darkness, one must follow the teachings of Jesus. ‘We should not overlook the present participle with its idea of a continuous following. Jesus is speaking of whole-hearted discipleship (following), not of casual adherence.’ (Morris p. 438) And man has a choice as whether or not to follow. Man by his own limited wisdom cannot avoid stumbling and falling into darkness (Prov. 16:25). Apart from Jesus, every human being finds themselves in darkness (Acts 26:18). Barclay notes, ‘When we walk alone we are bound to stumble and grope, for so many of life’s problems are beyond our solution, and, if we try to settle them ourselves, we are bound to go wrong..We need heavenly wisdom to walk the earthly way…Jesus Christ is that guide; He alone possesses the map of life.’ (p. 14) Following Jesus includes a complete trust in Him as our guide and a complete trust in His commandments (John 14:15; Matthew 7:24ff). Apart from Jesus, one cannot avoid the moral and spiritual pitfalls of life (Romans 3:23).

“but shall have the light of life”-‘will live his life in the light’ (Phi); ‘possess the light which is life’ (Knox). Even more than a guide for our path, the follower of Jesus will have ‘life’, spiritual and eternal life. A light that dispels the darkness in their own life.


John 8:13 ‘The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You are bearing witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.”’ “Your witness is not true”-The Pharisees argue that Jesus is giving invalid testimony. ‘no man on trial in a Jewish court was allowed to testify in his own behalf.’ (Tenney p. 144) Morris notes, ‘They do not address themselves to the main question. Indeed, they do not speak of light and darkness at all. Typically, they fasten on a legal technicality. Jesus is bearing witness..of Himself, they say, and therefore His witness is not true…It means that it is not valid. It has not legal worth….The Pharisees reaction to Jesus’ claim to be light is at base the answer men always make when they do not wish to be convinced: “I do not see it that way. The evidence is not sufficient to establish the claim.”’ (p. 439) The Pharisees aren’t interested in what Jesus is saying, rather they are bent only on trying to find anything, just anything that would seem to discredit Him, no matter how flimsy the excuse may be. Lenski notes, ‘Jesus had met this objection a year ago when in 5:31 he acknowledged the formal principle and made his own testimony legally competent by adducing his Father as a second witness.’ (p. 598)

John 8:14 ‘Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true; for I know where I came from, and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from, or where I am going.”’ “for I know where I came from”-It is obvious that Jesus isn’t confused about His identity, mission upon this earth, His past or His future. Jesus is not saying that the rule about testimony is not applicable in His case, for He is not alone (8:16-18). Rather, He is saying, ‘Hence when I say that I am the light of the world, this declaration is based upon my perfect self-consciousness…You, on the contrary, have no such knowledge respecting myself…Hence your denial of my testimony regarding myself is worthless.’ (Hendriksen p. 43)

“but you do not know”-They had taken the position as judges over Jesus’ testimony and Jesus reveals that they were incompetent judges. How could they honestly reject His testimony seeing that they were so ignorant and so superficial (8:15).

John 8:15 “You people judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone.” “judge according to the flesh”-‘by worldly standards’ (NEB). ‘The Pharisees and the people judged Him after the flesh---that is, they compared His earthly appearance with their ideas of a worldly Messiah. His meekness, poverty and apparent powerlessness did


not fulfill their ideal. Theirs was a superficial judgment..’ (Butler p. 46) See John 7:24. ‘they judged after the flesh in the sense of their own evil ambitions and desires, which beclouded their understanding.’ (Foster p. 811)

“I am not judging anyone”-From the next verse it is clear that Jesus will judge (2 Cor. 5:10). But the primarily purpose for Him coming to the earth was salvation, not condemnation—for the world was already condemned (John 3:17). ‘Even though they were seeking to kill Him, He was leaving the door of mercy open to them.’ (Foster p. 811) Point To Note: The same is true to this day. Those who complain about people ‘judging them’ are typically people who spend a good deal of their time judging others by superficial standards. And, do they ever judge God, the Bible and Christianity! Like these Jewish leaders who were continually condemning Jesus, today many people resent the fact God calls them a sinner, and yet they call God all sorts of things.

John 8:16 “But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and He who sent Me.” “even if I do judge”-Jesus will be the judge at the final judgment (John 5:22) and in this section He will proceed to judge the Pharisees with very severe terms (8:44).

“My judgment is true”-‘my decision is right’ (Bas); ‘you can depend on My judgment’ (Beck). Whatever Jesus says, whatever judgments that He utters are true, valid and certain, for He is one with the Father (John 5:19-23). ‘for any judgment carried out by One who is in the very presence of the Father and in harmony with Him must be a valid judgment.’ (Morris p. 441) Note, Jesus is clearly making the claim that the judgment He passes is not a human judgment. ‘Therein lies at once our comfort and our warning. Only Jesus knows all the facts. That very fact makes Him merciful as none other can ever be merciful; but it also enables Him to see the sins in us which are hidden from the eyes of men.’ (Barclay p. 17) ‘The judgments of Jesus are thus identical with those of his Father, unerring and divine. In all the verdicts of Jesus these Pharisees have the verdicts of God himself.’ (Lenski p. 604)

John 8:17 “Even in your law it has been written, that the testimony of two men is true.” “Even in your law”-‘Your law’-The Law of Moses had been primarily given to the Jewish nation (Romans 3:1ff). The specific law under consideration is found in Deut. 17:6.


John 8:18 “I am He who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.” ‘The Law accepts the testimony of two men. What shall we say then of the testimony of the Father and the Son?’ (Morris p. 442) The twofold witness of the Father and of Himself should be more than sufficient to cover the requirement in their own Law. ‘If the Jews then demand two witnesses in order to satisfy the Jewish law of evidence, those two witnesses exist’ (Tasker p. 114)

John 8:19 ‘And so they were saying to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me, nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.”’ “Where is Your Father?”-This was probably said with a tone of sarcasm. Instead of saying, ‘Tell us more about the Father’, they said, ‘Where is He?’ ‘They demanded the actual appearance of the witness to testify. Jesus responded that it was not surprising they, in spite of all His miracles and His teaching, still professed ignorance of the identity of His Father, for they had not even perceived the identity of Jesus.’ (Foster p. 811)

“You know neither Me, nor My Father”-It is impossible to know God, without knowing Jesus! (John 1:18; 14:6) If you accept One, you have automatically accepted the other. ‘Their question is evidence for this their ignorance. People who ask ‘where’ the Father is, who want him produced so that they can place him on the witness stand, thereby demonstrate that they do not know him at all…God is always on the witness stand of his written Word.’ (Lenski pp. 607-608) Point To Note: The same is true today. People who demand ‘proof’ that God exists are at that very moment professing their own ignorance of the ‘evidence’ that does exist. On a daily basis the Creation testifies to the existence of God (Psalm 19:1ff; Romans 1:20).

John 8:20 ‘These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.’ ‘These words He spoke in the treasury’-This was the part of the temple area into which people came to cast their offerings (Mark 12:41,43; Luke 21:1). ‘This was part of the court of the women (which got its name from the fact that women as well as men were permitted to enter it). There were thirteen trumpet-shaped collection boxes there, each with its inscription showing the use to which its contents would be put.’ (Morris p. 444)

“no one seized Him”-Even though Jesus was teaching in the very citadel of His enemies, they did not arrest Him. This area of the temple was near to the council


chambers of the Sanhedrin. ‘It is possible that this group of men, now dedicated to kill Him, could hear Him as He taught.’ (Butler p. 46)

“because His hour had not yet come”-The arrest and death of Jesus would be no accident. There was a definite time in the plan of God for Jesus to lay down His life. And no man or group of men would force God to speed up His time table (John 10:18). The above expression clearly contradicts the Premillennial idea that the death of Jesus was a last minute idea.

John 8:21 ‘He said therefore again to them, “I go away, and you shall seek Me, and shall die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.”’ “therefore again”-Indicating that this speech followed quickly on the heels of the previous sermon (8:12). Was it the same day?

“I go away”-Jesus had taught the same thing previously (7:33-34). This had caused some to wonder if He was planning to go among the Dispersion and teach the Greeks.

“you shall seek Me”-Would they seek deliverance from the Messiah during the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70? Or is this seeking Him a final act of despair at the moment of their death? Is this a seeking Him or His favor after their death? ‘In their death they will experience no comfort and no peace of any kind, only dark despair. The One whom they have rejected will not be present to help them in their need.’ (Hendriksen p. 45)

“and shall die in your sin”-What a terrible fate! The inference is clear, you cannot help but die in your sins, if you reject Jesus. There is no atonement, there is no mercy and forgiveness apart from Him. A human preacher didn’t say this, Jesus taught it! (John 8:24; 14:6; Acts 4:12). This verse also infers that death seals and forever closes all opportunity to change one’s eternal destiny. Note that one doesn’t die in someone else’s sin or Adam’s sin. You die in your own sin. Eternal death, eternal separation from God is the consequence of dying with sins which are not forgiven (Romans 6:23)

“where I am going, you cannot come”-Unbelief, rejection of Jesus excludes one from heaven and eternal life.

John 8:22 ‘Therefore the Jews were saying, “Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, “Where I am going, you cannot come?”’ “Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says” -Apparently, they understood clearly that Jesus was talking about heaven and hell. ‘The Jews held that those who committed self-murder went into the depths of Hades lower than any ordinary Jew could go. Thus they sought to reverse the meaning of Jesus; if they were to go to different places in eternity, then Jesus must be about to send Himself by suicide into the deepest 11

place of eternal punishment.’ (Foster p. 812) They respond, ‘Well, if He is going someplace, which we cannot come, then obviously He must be going to someplace other than heaven.’

John 8:23 ‘And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” “You are from below…you are of this world”-Their sarcastic answers and plotting to kill Him powerfully demonstrated the above truth. Notice how Jesus calmly answers their sarcasm. ‘The Jews, for all their religious pretensions, are essentially strangers to that higher realm of spiritual realities.’ (Tasker pp. 114-115) If anyone has something in common with the devil (hell) it is His listeners. They belong to the world, the world where Satan exercises His influence (1 John 5:19).

John 8:24 “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” “I said therefore to you”-Jesus is not going to allow Himself to be side-tracked. And notice how Jesus is patiently trying to save these men, men who are being dishonest and stubborn. This verse is a fuller presentation of the warning given in 8:21.

“die in your sins”-The Pharisees were in sin, they were lost! Since they were from this earth, they couldn’t deliver themselves.

“unless you believe that I am He”-‘that I am, as I say, from above, not of this world’, i.e. divine, the Son of God’ (Lenski p. 614) Included in this would naturally be, ‘unless you believe that I am the Messiah’, the ‘He’ promised in the O.T. In addition, the ‘He’ includes everything that Jesus was claiming for Himself, including the truth that He is God (5:18). ‘The meaning is: that I am all that I claim to be; the One sent by the Father, the One who is from above, the Son of man, the only-begotten Son of God, equal with God, the One who has light in himself, the bread of life, the light of the world, etc..’ (Hendriksen p. 46) Points To Note: 1.

God is doing everything He can to save these men (2 Peter 3:9). 2. No man can accuse Jesus of beating around the bush or being unclear. This verse is as clear as it gets! 3. Man doesn’t have to die in his sins! A remedy exists, which is open to all who believe. 4. The reader will note that the word ‘He’ is in italics, which means it was supplied by the translators to finish or complete the thought. I don’t have a problem with those who connect this verse to Exodus 3:14 ‘I am who I am’. For part of the ‘He’ whom Jesus claimed to be, was the fact that He is divine.


John 8:25 ‘And so they were saying to Him, “Who are You?” Jesus said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning?”’ “Who are You?”-On the one hand these Jewish rulers try to present themselves as men open to the evidence, but on the other hand they have already made up their mind about “who” Jesus is. ‘They are not interested in knowing who He is, for they have already settled that matter in their hearts, but they sneeringly demand, “How do you come to assume a role like this?”’ (Butler p. 50) It appears that the tone in their voices would be much like the expression, ‘Just who do you think you are’. ‘The pronoun “is scornfully emphatic”…and placed first. “You, who are you to be saying such things?” is the force of it.’ (Morris p. 448)

“What have I been saying to you from the beginning?”-‘Why ask exactly what I have been telling you?’ (TCNT) From the beginning of His personal ministry Jesus has been telling them. Their lack of faith isn’t due to lack of evidence! Jesus response clearly indicts their unwillingness to believe or even seriously listen to Him. “Do you ask who I am when I have told you again and again?” (Woods p. 170)

John 8:26 “I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” “I have many things”-‘I have still much that concerns you to speak of and to pass judgment on’ (TCNT); ‘many judgments I could pass on you’ (Knox). ‘Judgment is necessarily involved in all right teaching and action..In His function as Judge of mankind He cannot overlook such conduct as that of His antagonists. But the right place and the right time to say such things are not yet.’ (Morris p. 451) Jesus will judge them severely in 8:34-44.

“He who sent Me is true”-Therefore His teaching and judgments are 100% true, reliable and certain. And let us remember that everything which Jesus taught, every judgment He pronounced, in His voice we are hearing the voice of the Father.

“I speak to the world”-Jesus’ teaching applied to more than just the immediate audience or just those who were members of the Jewish nation.

John 8:27 ‘They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father.’ John 8:28 ‘Jesus therefore said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”’


“When you lift up the Son of Man”-language associated with His death (John 3:14). Jesus not only clearly knew His destiny, put also the precise manner in which He would die.

“then you will know that I am He”-It appears that some in the crowd wanted to believe in Him, or secretly believed in Him. Even some of the religious leaders held private convictions which were not in harmony with the official position in reference to Jesus (John 12:42-43). His death and resurrection would move some of them to realize Who they had put to death (Acts 2:37; 6:7). Others, unable to deny the facts of the case (Acts 4:15-16), would remain unbelievers until the day of their death, for they loved human praise, rather than the praise which comes from God (John 12:42). Foster notes, ‘Those who were malicious in their determination to destroy Jesus rather than believe were still given this kind and sympathetic response…Jesus patiently explained that they would be able to understand after they looked back on the event.’ (p. 813)

John 8:29 “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” “He has not left Me alone”-‘Jesus seemed to be helpless and alone, ringed about with fiendish enemies seeking at every instant to kill him, but He calmly assured them that He was not alone.’ (Foster p. 814) ‘The deeds that Jesus did were evidence that the Father was indeed with Him.’ (Morris p. 453) (John 3:1ff; Acts 2:22)

“for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him”-‘In the portion of the sermon that follows we have one of the grand assertions of Jesus’ sinlessness in a negative form of a challenge to them to state and prove any sin. He had ever committed. It is often overlooked that He made this claim at this point in His sermon in the positive form: “I do ALWAYS the things that are pleasing to him.” No mere human being can affirm such a thing.’ (Foster pp. 813-814)

John 8:30 ‘As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.’ Amid all this hostility, there is victory! Some of these might have been in the circle of Jesus’ opponents, and others could have been bystanders. Note, what the religious leaders refused to understand, these people understood! Attitude and not IQ is what stands between a person and their acceptance that Jesus is the Son of God.


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