Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Bible Study Notes in John- Chapter 8

John 8

-Though some of the early manuscripts that we have did not include the section from this episode on the adulterous woman, I personally believe that these events happened and are inspired by the Holy Spirit. Jesus had gone to the Mount of Olives, just across the Kidron Valley on the eastern side of Jerusalem. This is where He would spend much time praying, where He was betrayed, where He would ascend post-resurrection, and where He will one day return to this earth (Zechariah 14:4, Matthew 26:30-50, Luke 22:39-40, Acts 1:9-12). From there, early in the morning, He came again into the Temple, and many people were coming to Him. He sat down and began to teach the wisdom of the Kingdom. While this was occurring, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the very act of adultery. She was set in the center of the court, and the religious leaders began to test Jesus with her to see what He would say in regards to their laws. They wanted grounds to accuse Him, which I believe shows their knowledge of His love and compassion for all people from the very beginning of this incident. Instead of taking their bait, Jesus, in all His supernatural wisdom, stooped down and with His Finger wrote on the ground. The text is not specific as to what He wrote, though many men of God have speculated on this through the millennia. No doubt He was seeking the LORD’s will and desire in this matter with a perfect unity of purpose. The leaders persisted in asking Him what He would do. With this, Jesus straightened up, and said to them matter-of-factly and simply, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then He went back to writing on the ground by stooping down again. When those accusers heard this, they began to go away one-by-one beginning with the older ones. Jesus was soon left alone with the woman in that courtyard. Standing back up fully, Jesus asked, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She responded, “No one, Lord.” Then He exclaimed, “I do not condemn you, either, Go. From now on sin no more (John 8:1-11).”

-Then, Jesus continued His teaching by speaking to His listeners, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.” The Pharisees, who were often there observing, but seldom comprehending or believing, started an argument, “You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered their accusation, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me.” He then explained to them the details of the Law as far as the number of witnesses to pronounce a testimony as true. He and His Father bearing witness verified His testimony. So they wanted to know who His Father was. Jesus answered this by stating, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” Jesus spoke these words in the treasury as He continued to teach in the Temple area, and no one seized Him because His time had not yet come for incarceration (John 8:12-20).

-Then He reiterated, “I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going you cannot come.” The Jews thought He might be speaking of suicide or something. So the Lord clarified, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” Then He taught that unless they believed in Him, in others words the Messiah, they would die in their sins, thus not being allowed in His Kingdom’s presence. This mystified these religious people. They questioned, “Who are You?” So Jesus maintained, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning? I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” They had not perceived that He had been speaking to them about Yahweh, the Father. Therefore, just to make clear the point, Jesus let them know that when they lifted Him up (a prophecy here), they would know that He was the One that did nothing of His own initiative, but only taught the things His Father taught Him. Then He maintained once more, “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” As these things were being spoken, many actually came to believe in Him (John 8:21-30). God’s work was being accomplished even through much adversity.

-*Application*- Our witness will not always be met with open arms and acceptance. Often there is a struggle between good and evil with the presentation of the supernatural ways of a loving God. Many people will not understand, and even be antagonistic towards the truth. Keep loving them with compassion and explaining the Father to them anyway, just like Jesus did. When we do, we will see people come to trust in the Lord.

-The Lord now addresses those who had believed in Him by picking up on the theme of abiding in Him who was the truth, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” These to whom He spoke thought of themselves as free already, so Jesus had to teach them about how sin makes humanity slaves. Real freedom comes only from the Son who releases His children from the bondage of sin and depravity (Romans 7:14-8:16). Then, He revealed the hearts of some of those who wanted to kill Him, “I know that you are Abraham’s offspring; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.” After that, He restated His position with the Father in doing the things He has seen with Him. Then, He rebuked those whose father was the enemy and told them if they were really Abraham’s children to do the deeds of their ancestor. Seeking to kill a Man of truth who was from God is not what Abraham was about. Christ plainly revealed that they were under the dominion of another father, Satan, or the devil. They pronounced that they were not born of fornication (possibly a slight on Christ’s character here with His reputation of being Mary’s illegitimate Son), and that God was their Father. But, Jesus told them that if this were so, they would love Him because He proceeded forth from the Father, not of His own initiative, but as a Man who was sent. He wondered why they did not understand what He was saying, and then concluded that it was because they could not hear His word since their father was the devil and they wanted to do his desires. He, Satan, was a murderer from the get go and does not stand in the truth. In other words, the devil is a liar and the father of all lies. That is his nature, but because Jesus was proclaiming the truth, He was not believed by this deceived bunch. Jesus boldly makes a concluding statement, “Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” The angered Jews retorted, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” This underhanded, half-breed, insult did not deter the Messiah, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” Taken back by this comment, the Jews now thought even more that He was demon possessed. They knew that Abraham and the prophets, as great as they were, all died and tasted death. They wondered aloud who Jesus made Himself out to be. Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be a liar like you, but I do know Him, and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” Offended, the Jews purported, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus then spoke in Messianic language they could all understand, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM (emphasis mine).” Because they perceived this to be a blasphemous statement as He equated Himself with the LORD, they picked up stones to hurl at Him, but Jesus was able to hide Himself and escaped out of the Temple (John 8:31-59).

-*Application*- The truth is what sets us free, not some man-made traditions and complications. These Jews were counting on ancestry to save them, not a Messiah, which had clearly been revealed by Abraham and the prophets of the Old Testament. This is a reminder that we are all born in sin and have a deceptive nature apart from coming to the Savior and making His truth our truth. His freedom is freedom indeed because it breaks us from the bondage of sin. And, it is the only way to eternal life. Accept His word and don’t deny it like many of these Jews did that Jesus was trying to reach with the gospel.

Verses to Memorize: John 8:12, 36, 42, 44, 58

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