What does John 8:59 mean?
ESV: So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
NIV: At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
NASB: Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and left the temple grounds.
CSB: So they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple.
NLT: At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.
KJV: Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
NKJV: Then 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 passed by.
Verse Commentary:
In this conversation, Jesus has not only called His critics liars and children of the devil (John 8:44), He has directly claimed the same name as God (John 8:58). If this is not true, it is blasphemy—the fact that these men so immediately picked up stones proves their opinion of which option applied (John 10:33). Scripture makes it clear that Jesus acts according to God the Father's schedule (John 7:6–8). And, at the same time, the Bible shows that God ensures that everything around Jesus complies with this timetable. This verse is another example of Jesus' enemies unsuccessfully attempting to arrest, detain, or kill Him (John 7:45–46).

Most of these "escape" occurrences are vague, and are probably best interpreted in natural terms. Most likely, Jesus simply left or exited in such a way that His attackers failed to reach Him. In other cases, such as when He will be surrounded on a high ledge near the Temple, there's a greater chance that His escape was enabled by supernatural means (John 10:23–24; 10:39). In any event, Jesus has made His views on their hypocrisy and spiritual state very clear, and they have once again failed to silence Him (John 5:18; John 7:1).
Verse Context:
John 8:31–59 is a passage which dovetails with John 2:13–22, where Jesus drives corrupt businessmen from the temple. These Scriptures disprove any myths that Jesus was weak, timid, passive, or soft. In this exchange with the Pharisees, Jesus pulls no punches. Jerusalem's religious leaders, and their followers, continue to resist Jesus' preaching. They rely on arrogance and insults, to which Jesus responds with blunt, unfiltered condemnation. This culminates in Jesus making an overt statement of His own divinity, punctuating the debate by declaring ''before Abraham was, I am!''
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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