What does John 8:24 mean?
ESV: I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”
NIV: I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.'
NASB: Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.'
CSB: Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins."
NLT: That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.'
KJV: I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
NKJV: Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
Verse Commentary:
Once again, Jesus professes to be the one and only option for salvation. Earlier, when claiming to be "the light of the world" (John 8:12), He made the same suggestion. Then, while debating with the Pharisees, Jesus directly said that those who reject Him "will die in [their] sins" (John 8:21). Since Jesus is sent by God the father (John 8:16), comes from heaven (John 8:23), and does the will of God (John 7:28–29), those who reject Him cannot be saved (John 3:36). To turn your back on Christ is to turn your back on God Himself (John 6:29).

This is the context of Jesus' recent comments about going where He cannot be followed. First and foremost, this means returning to heaven after His crucifixion and resurrection (John 20:17). However, it also reflects the fact that these men are running out of time to accept their Savior. At some point, they'll realize they need to seek Christ, but it will be too late (Luke 16:19–31).

Interestingly, Jesus once again uses the "I AM" phrasing here. In the gospel of John, there are seven highlighted moments where Jesus describes Himself using this specific expression. While this is not one of those, the meaning is the same. When God stated His identity in Exodus 3:14, He referred to Himself as "I AM," using a Hebrew phrasing implying necessary existence and absolute truth. When Jesus states in this verse that one must believe "I am he," it's yet another instance where He does, in fact, tell others that He is God.
Verse Context:
John 8:12–30 includes the second of Jesus' seven ''I AM'' statements, as recorded in the gospel of John. Jesus' reference to light was probably playing off of a ritual performed during the Feast of Booths, where lamps would be lit using wicks made from the robes of priests. This continues the dialogue of chapter 7, picking up where John 7:52 left off. The exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees will escalate, in part showing that Jesus was not afraid to directly castigate those who misled the people.
Chapter Summary:
John chapter 8 includes the story of the adulterous woman, a well-known but controversial passage. Most scholars believe this story is authentic, but not originally found in this exact spot in Scripture. This chapter continues Jesus' preaching during the Feast of Booths, where He once again comes into conflict with local religious leaders. Here, Christ will make His second ''I AM'' statement, using the analogy of light, which is a common theme in Hebrew theology. This conversation will become more and more heated. Eventually, Jesus' opponents are enraged enough to attempt killing Him right then and there.
Chapter Context:
Jesus is attending the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem, and has once again come into conflict with the local religious authorities. In the previous chapter, Jesus referred to Himself as a source of living water, playing off of the festivals' ritual pouring of water in the temple. In this chapter, Jesus will use the imagery of lights, also related to festival traditions. This chapter demonstrates Jesus' willingness to be direct, even aggressive, with His critics. The next few chapters will complete Jesus' public ministry, as He prepares for His impending death.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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