Setting

Jesus has gone up to Jerusalem and taught at the Feast of Tabernacles. Opinions about Him were divided. The setting of the present passage is still the temple precincts. The scene opens with a test designed to trap Jesus which in the end only serves to bring out Jesus’ authority as the righteous divine judge. The incident is then followed by Jesus’ declaration as the light of the world. Through the subsequent lengthy exchange between Jesus and His hearers, Jesus enters into the sharpest confrontation with His opponents.

Key Verse

(8:12)

Did You Know...?

1. “Moses, in the law, commanded us” (8:5): The reference is to Lev 20:10 and Deut 22:23, 24.

2. The treasury (8:20) was an area of the temple in the Women’s Court (cf. Mk 12:41–44). Thirteen trumpet-shaped receptacles stood there, each with an inscription specifying the intended use of the respective offerings (The Women’s Court was where the celebration of lights took place during the Feast of Tabernacles). [ref]

Outline

Keywords/Phrases

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General Analysis

  • 1.

    Cite the verses that speak about the unity of Jesus with His Father.

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    “I am with the Father who sent me” (8:16). “The Father who sent Me bears witness of Me” (8:18). “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also” (8:19). “I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him” (8:26). “As My Father taught Me, I speak these things” (8:28). “He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him” (8:29).

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  • 2.

    Record the opposite concepts in this passage.

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    Light and darkness (8:12) Life and death (8:12, 21, 24) “I know” and “You do not know” (8:14, 19, 27) “Where I go you cannot come” (8:21) Beneath and above (8:23)

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Segment Analysis

  • 8:1–11

    1.

    How was the case presented before Jesus a trap?

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    Had Jesus endorsed the stoning, He would have been accused of violating Roman laws, and He would have been viewed as one who condemns rather than saves (cf. Jn 3:17). On the other hand, if He had permitted the woman to go free, He would have been accused of breaking God’s law.

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  • 2a.

    What has this story taught you about: Your own sins?

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    1. We ought to be aware of our own sins and acknowledge that we are not any less guilty than anyone else. 2. Having been justified, we ought to sin no more (cf. Rom 6:1–4).

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  • 2b.

    How you should act toward someone in sin?

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    We, being sinners ourselves, are not worthy to cast a stone at another sinner. Instead of being accusers, we should learn from the Lord Jesus to help set others free from their sins.

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  • 3a.

    How has the Lord Jesus brought grace and truth to this woman?

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    He freed her from condemnation even though she deserved punishment. Not only so, He directed her into a new life that is free from sin. Through both grace and truth the Lord Jesus saves a person from sin and death.

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  • 3b.

    How has He done the same for you?

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    Even though we deserve to die, we have been forgiven of our sins through God’s grace in Christ (Rom 3:24; Eph 1:7, 2:5; Tit 3:7). Coupled with this grace is the truth in Jesus Christ, which is the way to life (Jn 14:6; Eph 1:13; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Tim 2:4). By means of the truth revealed by the Lord Jesus, our eyes have been enlightened to see sin for what it is and be set free from its power (Jn 8:32; Eph 4:20–24).

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  • 8:12–20

    4a.

    How is Jesus the light in your life?

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  • 4b.

    What is “the light of life”?

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    The expression “the light of life” tells us that the language of light and darkness is symbolic of life and death. The life that is in the Lord Jesus is the light of men (Jn 1:4). Jesus’ coming brought hope to the whole world, which is under the shadow of death as a result of sin (Mt 4:16). By following this light of life, our spiritual eyes are opened, and we can leave our former lives of sin to walk on the way of salvation (cf. Jn 3:21, 12:35, 46).

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  • 5.

    Why was Jesus able to bear witness of Himself?

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    Jesus’ witness of Himself is true because He knows where He came from and where He is going (8:14). This means that His identity as God’s messenger made His testimony trustworthy. The Lord Jesus then adds that the Father who sent Him is also with Him to bears witness of Him (8:17, 18). This additional testimony reinforces Jesus’ testimony about Himself. In short, because of Jesus’ divine nature, His testimony was trustworthy.

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  • 6.

    What does it mean to judge “according to the flesh”?

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    Based on what Jesus states in the previous verse (14), to judge according to the flesh is to measure a person from a purely human, as opposed to divine, perspective. The Pharisees were ignorant of Jesus’ heavenly origin, and so they could only judge Jesus “according to appearance” (cf. 7:24), such as whether He was as educated as the Pharisees or whether He kept every letter of the law. When a person judges according to the flesh, he tends to be motivated to win praise and admiration from men but becomes blind to what is right in God’s eyes.

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  • 8:21–30

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    What does it mean for us to believe that “I am” (24)?

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    “I AM” was the Lord’s self-revelation to His people in the Old Testament declaring that He is the only everlasting God and Savior (Ex 3:14; Isa 43:10–11, 25, 45:18, 19, 46:4, 9, 48:12, 51:12, 52:6). To believe Jesus’ declaration of “I AM,” therefore, is to believe that He is the everlasting God who has come in the flesh for our salvation, and that He is our only way to eternal life.

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  • 8a.

    What does it mean for the Son of Man to be lifted up?

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    The lifting up of the Son of Man encompasses two related concepts, namely, Jesus’ death and exaltation (Jn 12:32, 33; Acts 2:33, 5:31). The purpose for the Son of Man to be lifted up is to bring salvation to those who believe in Him (Jn 3:14, 15).

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  • 8b.

    How will His being lifted up make the people know that “He is”?

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    1. Upon Jesus’ glorification, He would pour out the promised Holy Spirit (Jn 7:39). This came true on the day of Pentecost. The visible outpouring of the Holy Spirit led the people to realize that the man they had crucified was now made by God to be both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36, 37). Believers who receive the Holy Spirit also recognize the unity of Jesus with His Father (Jn 14:20). 2. In addition, people can also know that Jesus is the everlasting God through the powerful works done in His name. The miraculous deeds the followers of Jesus performed after His resurrection served as a powerful witness that brought many people to faith and repentance (Acts 3:16, 8:5–8, 9:33–35, 36–42, etc.).

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