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John chapter 8

English Standard Version

1but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?" 6This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." 8And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus stood up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."]] 12Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." 13So the Pharisees said to him, "You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true." 14Jesus answered, "Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony 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. 15You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me." 19They said to him therefore, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also." 20These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
New International Version

New American Standard Bible

Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

New King James Version

What does John chapter 8 mean?

The first section of this chapter describes Jesus' encounter with opponents who have brought Him a woman guilty of sin. In this incident, Jesus demonstrates that these men are acting hypocritically: attempting to trick Jesus using the law, while they themselves are not completely following it! At the same time, Jesus shows that simply having power, such as the authority to execute a guilty sinner, does not make using it the best choice. Instead, Jesus demonstrates mercy and fully applies both the letter and intent of the law, as God intended: with "right judgment."

This story of the adulterous woman, however, is almost certainly not original to the gospel of John. Different manuscripts have these verses in different places, sometimes attached to the end of completely different New Testament works. This, along with other evidence, has led scholars to believe the story of the adulterous woman to be a true, accurate description of a real event, but not one intended to be read in this exact place. So, this story is something of a side-note, and not part of Jesus' actions during the Feast of Booths. Instead, the action which was interrupted after John 7:52 will resume in John 8:12.

As Jesus continues to teach at the Feast of Booths, He uses another analogy related to festival rituals. In this case, it is the burning of lamps, whose wicks were made from priestly garments. Jesus makes the second of His seven "I AM" statements highlighted in the gospel of John, declaring that He is "the light of the world." This incorporates Jewish ideals of truth and knowledge, as well as professing to be the one and only source of spiritual truth.

This sets off a debate between Jesus and His most vehement opponents: the religious leaders of Jerusalem and their followers. John collectively refers to this faction as "The Jews" in His writing. Their stance is based on genealogy: they are the descendants of Abraham, so they claim to be favored by God. Jesus, however, points out that spiritual relationships matter more than family lines. Since children act like their fathers, those who legitimately follow God should be obedient to His message, as Abraham was. But the men seeking to oppose Jesus act more like the devil: they deal in lies and murder (John 8:44; John 5:18). Therefore, these men don't actually know God. In fact, they don't want to know God, since the truth is something they can't bear to hear (John 8:43).

As the conversation continues, it will become more and more charged. Jesus' critics will resort to insults, including smearing His birth (John 8:41) and suggesting that He is insane (John 8:48). Jesus will respond by continuing to discuss Abraham, and suggesting that He has first-hand knowledge of Abraham's response to His own ministry (John 8:56). When the crowd misunderstands, Jesus explicitly claims to be God by declaring "before Abraham was, 'I am,'" using the same name God applied to Himself when speaking to Moses (John 8:58; Exodus 3:14). The reaction, as one would expect, was not only angry, but violent. Jesus' enemies once again try—unsuccessfully—to kill Him.
What is the Gospel?
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