They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.
Accuse him. Accusations against you will typically come from three sources: (1) the Accuser, a.k.a. Satan (see entry for Rev. 12:10), (2) law-lovers who are opposed to grace (see entry for Matt. 12:10), and (3) a conscience that is mindful of the law (Rom. 2:15). What these three things have in common is an affinity for using the law as a weapon of condemnation.
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 was, in the center of the court.
Began to go out. Some translations add, “being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one.” The hostile men were driven away by their condemning consciences.
When Jesus defended the woman caught in adultery from the men who sought to stone her, he appealed to their consciences. If these had been ordinary men, Jesus might have said “Have mercy on this daughter of Abraham.” But these were religious men who were intolerant of the sins of others. In their law-loving eyes, this woman had to be punished. Jesus did not argue with them; he simply prodded their consciences. “Are you much different from this sinner?” And their highly-developed consciences did the rest. The little judge inside their heads condemned these men as sinners and hypocrites.
Further reading: “Conscience”
She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]
(a) I do not condemn you. Jesus never condemns us.
There are three sources of accusation (the devil, law-lovers, a guilty conscience), but Jesus is not one of them. Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it (John 12:47). We were already condemned on account of Adam’s transgression (Rom. 5:18). As sinners, we do not need more condemnation; we need forgiveness. On numerous occasions Jesus proved that he was a herald of a new covenant by proclaiming and demonstration unconditional forgiveness (Matt. 9:2, 18:22, 27, Luke 7:42, 47, 11:4, 23:34, John 8:11). Just as the love of God is unconditional, so is his forgiveness.
(b) Sin no more. Jesus told the woman to sin no more because sinning is destructive. The wages of sin is death (John 6:23). Her sin nearly got her killed, and only the Lord’s intervention saved her. But what would happen next time? “Don’t let there be a next time.”
Someone with a law mindset interprets the sin no more phrase as a threat. “Woman, that was your last chance. Sin again and I won’t be so kind next time.” But someone with a grace mindset reads it as a gracious promise. Only grace can empower us to say no to ungodliness and live righteous lives (Tit. 2:12). Just as Jesus told sick people to be well, he empowered sinners to sin no more.
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
(a) Life. Two kinds of life are described in the Bible; the psuche– or soul life we inherited from Adam and the zoe– or spirit life that comes from God (John 5:26). It’s the second kind of life that is described here. See entry for New Life.
(b) The Light of Life and the Light of the world and the Light of men and the True Light are all names for Jesus (John 1:4, 9, 9:5).
Adam’s fallen race lives in the valley of the shadow of death. Into this dark valley comes Jesus with the bright and shining revelation that God offers us new life.
“You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone.
(a) The flesh. “You judge according to human standards, by what you see.” See entry for The Flesh
(b) Not judging anyone. Jesus did not come to judge the world (John 3:17), but those in the world will be judged by their response to Jesus. See entry for John 9:39.
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.
Taught in the temple. Jesus often taught and preached the gospel in the temple (Matt. 26:55, Luke 20:1). He did this because that’s where people congregated (Luke 21:38) and to fulfill the words of the prophet Malachi: “the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple” (Mal. 3:1).
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.
I am not of this world. On numerous occasions, Jesus told his disciples that he was not from earth but had been sent from heaven. See entry for John 6:38.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
(a) If you continue in My word. To continue in his word is to continue or abide in Christ. It is choosing to rest in his love knowing that he holds us securely in his hand (John 10:28).
(b) You are truly disciples of Mine. A true disciple trusts Jesus from start to finish.
Everyone who confesses Jesus as the Son of God abides in him (1 John 4:15), but if you are unsure of your position in Christ, you will be anxious and unsettled. You’ll be tempted to pursue dead works in a futile attempt to improve your situation. These are not the actions of a true disciple.
In the New Testament we are exhorted to continue in God’s kindness (Rom. 11:22), continue in the grace of God (Acts 13:43), continue in the teaching of Christ (2 John 1:9), and continue in what we have learned and been convinced of (2 Tim 3:14). In short, we are to continue in the faith (Col. 1:23). As you have received Christ Jesus (by faith), so walk in him (by faith; see Col. 2:6).
They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
Have never yet been enslaved. Jesus was constantly telling people that he was not from earth (see entry for John 6:38). He was saying, “Since I’m not part of the Matrix I can unplug you from the Matrix.” But sometimes those in the Matrix don’t see their captivity. This was the case with these Jews. Jesus told them, “The truth will make you free,” and they said “but we’re not slaves”. They were blind to their bondage. The same is true of many people today. They have been told they are sinners and that the remedy is to stop sinning. They don’t know they are slaves, dead in sins, in need of Savior.
“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.
The son does remain forever. Your heavenly Father will never cast you out of his family (John 10:29). God will never abandon you (Heb. 13:5), never forget you (Is. 49:15). As an heir of God, your future is secure and blessed (Rom. 8:17, Gal. 4:7).
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
You are of your father the devil. To be of the devil is to act in the same wilful spirit of rebellion first exhibited by Satan. Jesus was talking to people who were planning to murder him (John 8:40). “You’re revealing yourselves to be children of the original murderer, the devil.”
Jesus was not saying that unbelievers are the devil’s children. But “the one who practices sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:8, 10).
“He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
You do not hear them. The things of the Spirit are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).
Jesus is not saying that unbelievers can have no communication with God. If that were true, no one could be saved. He’s saying truth dawns by revelation and those who resist the Spirit of truth will never receive the truth he desires to give them.
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- John 8:6
- John 8:9
- John 8:11
- John 8:12
- John 8:15
- John 8:20
- John 8:23
- John 8:31
- John 8:33
- John 8:35
- John 8:44
- John 8:47