John 8

The Woman Forgiven of Adultery 1
First to cast a stone  7
Jesus Witnesses of Himself 12
Jesus Predicts His Departure 21
Free in the Truth 30
Abraham's Seed Satan's Seed 37
He Was From Before Abraham 48
Text Comments
The story of the woman caught in adultery appears in only one manuscript currently studied. However, this is not as much of a problem as it might seem because all manuscripts known to exist are copies. This commentary holds that the "received text" from which the KJV was translated is reliable. See on re2214-do. Those who copied manuscripts to share would have more easily justified deleting than adding. And we may be sure that the Holy Spirit who inspired the writers 2pe0121 has preserved in them, the essential truth we need to know. See on jn1720.
 7:53  And every man went unto his own house.
1 ¶ Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. Find comments for the first verses below in this column.
.2  And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
 3  And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
 4  They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
 5  Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
 6  This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
.7  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

  1 - Jesus went mt2101, mr0646.
  3 - Brought to him This was a matter for the courts and it was a husband's role to bring her. It need not have been made so public.
  3 - Set her Literally, "stood her." Artists tend to picture her on the ground. The Greek word is histemi. Also see v9.
  4 - In the very act They were setting a trap for Jesus. They could also have induced the adultery so they would have a case.
  5 - Moses If He had said, don't stone her, the people would have lost confidence in Him for apparently rejecting the rule of Moses. If He had agreed that she should die, he would have been in trouble with the Roman government. He said nothing but began writing on the ground.
 7 - He that is without sin The fact that the accusers became convicted helps us understand that He was writing their own sins. Also they slipped away one by one  in order beginning with the oldest who would have been the most responsible. It's a lesson for us, too.
  7 - First cast a stone Witnesses were to be the first to throw stones at the condemned de1707. This is a clue that Jesus knew that these very men had had first-hand knowledge of the situation. I believe they set her up to create a situation to defame Christ.
8  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
 9  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
.10  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
.11  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
.12 ¶ Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
 13  The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.

  10 - Neither do I condemn thee What He could not have safely said while here accusers were there. Compare de3236.
  11 - Sin no more Jesus did not condemn her to death jn0317 but he condemned her sin. People should not use this story to argue that He was soft on sin. Repentance includes turning from sin. See ps03201,6, 1jo0106ff, pr2813.
  12 - Light of the world This would have drawn attention of His listeners to the feast of lights which, according to the Mishnah (Jewish writings), involved flames at the top of two tall towers. Also jn0104.
.14  Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
 15  Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
 16  And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
 17  It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
 18  I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
 19  Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
.20  These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.
  15 - Judge after the flesh Judgment according to feelings and ulterior motives is5914.
  15 - I judge no man How could this statement be harmonized with His having been given authority to judge? jn0522. "Judge" is from krino which also means "condemn." It was not time for judgment of condemnation jn0317. That would come the end of the age 2ti0401; compare ac1042, 2co0510.
.21 ¶ Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.
.22  Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.
 23  And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
  21 - I go my way He was soon to return to the Father, an action they would not be able to control ac0109ff.
  21 - Ye shall seek me See on jn0734.
  21 - Ye cannot come Compare jn1724, jn1403, je0820.
  22 - Will he kill himself? Connecting this with Jesus' reference to "beneath" in the next verse helps us understand the thinking of these Jewish leaders. He meets them in the Greek philosophies they had adopted just as He does in His story of the rich man and Lazarus lu16b. Here historian Josephus helps clarify this pagan idea. Suicides were said to be sent to the darkest place in hell, a place inaccessible to the living (War iii. 8.5 [375]), perhaps in contrast to the hell of the rich man who prayed to Abraham.
   Christ's death would not be suicide but He would voluntarily lay it down so the thought of the Jews had an element of truth. Surely they would ponder this statement after He was gone.
 24  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.
25  Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
 26  I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
 27  They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
.28  Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
.29  And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
.30  As he spake these words, many believed on him.

  24 - I am He The word, "he," is supplied as it is in the Septuagint. Jesus identifies Himself as the I AM of the exodus ex0314. The sentence appears also in v28 and v58. Some see an allusion to is4310.
  24 - Die in your sins Jesus' heart must have ached as He looked into the eyes of those who were choosing the way of eternal death. He was their only link to redemption ac0412 (and our only link). This conscious suppression of conviction left them without the robe of His righteousness mt2212.
  26 - I have many things ... The following translation would better fit the context: "I could say many things concerning you and judge, but . . . ."
  27 - They understood not See ho0406.
  28 - Lifted up They would lift Him up on the cross but He would be exalted (same Greek word as "lifted up") to the right hand of the Father. See ac0233, jn0314, ph0209. Jesus wanted to help the Jewish leaders see the terrible guilt of the action they were about to take.
  28 - Son of man See on mr0210.
  28 - I am he See above on v24.
  28 - Father hath taught me Jesus, in His humanity, depended on the Father as we may jn1510.
  29 - Not ... alone He and the Father have ever been perfectly united jn1721. The rest of the verse helps us understand. And He has promised us that unity with Him as also seen in the ch. 17 verse. Also mt2820.
  30 - Believed  Or "began to believe."
 31 ¶ Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
.32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 
  31 - Jews He understood their hearts.
  31 - Believed on him Rather, "believed him." They could believe His words but not trust Him as their Lord.
  31 - Continue The Greek word also means "abide." jn1504. Jesus was alerting His hearers that it would be tempting to fall away. See mt1304f.
  32 - Know the truth ... free A profound statement. The doctrines they were taught were largely contaminated with popular error. See on v22 and leaders who loved control at mr0707. Freedom is in assurance of salvation 1jo0511f while throwing off the weight of sin he1201.
.33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

  They answered him "Who said this? Not surely the very class just spoken of as won over by His divine words, and exhorted to continue in them. Most interpreters seem to think so; but it is hard to ascribe such a petulant speech to the newly gained disciples, even in the lowest sense, much less persons so gained as they were. It came, probably, from persons mixed up with them in the same part of the crowd, but of a very different spirit." (JFB Commentary). Verse 48 helps clarify what "Jews" He addressed.
  We be Abraham's seed Jesus taught that physical birth and ancestors did not affect spiritual freedom jn0303f, mt0309. The Jews based their claim to be spiritual leaders on the leadership of their ancestors. Today, a popular church uses the concept of, apostolic succession. Jesus explains that calls to spiritual leadership are unrelated to who was the historical leader of God's people. On Peter's role in the church, see on mt1616 and following.
  Never in bondage Certainly not true in a literal sense ex2002, 2ki1529. Of course Jesus referred to spiritual bondage and they were likely arguing that they had all the truth and were free. They had made their people spiritual slaves mt2304 and likely knew that Jesus wanted the people to be free of their multitude of works-orinented rules.
.34  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
 35  And the servant [slave] abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
.36  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
  34 - Verily, verily See on mt0518.
  34 - Committeth sin That is, habitually commits sin, according to the Greek.
  34 - Servant of sin That is, a slave to sin. See on ro0101.
  35 - Servant ... son Literal slaves may be rejected from their owner's house but blood children have a permanent place in the lineage. Bondage to sin and Satan leads to eternal death. The son and heir would have authority to free the slaves. Thus Christ can free us from sin. This takes a miracle of grace. We must be determined to be free and claim the power of Christ.
.37  I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
 38 ¶ I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
.39  They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
 40  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
 41  Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
  38 - Your father Clarified in the rest of the narrative.
  41 - Deeds of your father Jesus clarified in v44.
  41 - Not born of fornication An attempt to make the people see Jesus as a sinner since He had revealed their own evil. On fornication and the birth of Christ, see mt0532, mt0118.
.42  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
 43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
.44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
 45  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
 46 ¶ Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
 47  He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
  42 - Because ye cannot hear It was not a matter of an auditory disability zc0711, mr0818, ez1202, re0207.
  44 - Murderer ... not in truth The strange face of evil. See pr0416. The Jews were planning to kill Jesus.
  46 - Convinceth In modern English "convicts." 
.48  Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
 49  Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.
 50  And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
  48 - Samaritan The Jews hated them and the feeling was mutual. See jn0409. Jesus here has entered a long discussion about who He really is. Compare His simple revelation accepted by the Samaritan woman jn0426.
.51 ¶ Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
.52  Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
.53  Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
.54  Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
 55  Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
.56  Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
  51 - Never see death The second death of being no more ob16. The first death is usually referred to as sleep. See on jn0647.
  56 - Abraham rejoiced to see my day The OT does not record this revelation to Abraham. It was likely part of his covenant experience. See ge1512.
 57  Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
.58  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
 59  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.
  58 - Before Abraham Jesus Christ is the I AM God of the Exodus ex0304. We see that the Jews understood this claim because they were ready to stone Him for blasphemy. They already hated Him. Here was there chance. But His work wasn't finished.
  Also Peter wrote of the pre-incrnate Christ (of Him before coming in the flesh.) See on the "spirits in prison" 1pe0318. This was before Abraham.

John home
Commentary home