By: Steve Shirley
"The Woman Caught In Adultery." Let's begin by reading about this in (Jn 8:1-11).
While this is a well-known section of Scripture, there is fairly strong evidence that these verses were not a part of the autographa, or early manuscripts. Quoting John MacArthur's Study Bible, this "evidence" is things such as:
1. External manuscript evidence representing a great variety of textual
traditions is decidedly against its inclusion, for the earliest and best
manuscripts exclude it.
2. Many manuscripts mark the passage to indicate doubt as to its inclusion.
3. No Gr. church father comments on the passage until the twelfth century.
4. The vocabulary and style of the section also are different from the rest of the gospel, and the section interrupts the sequence of v. 52 with 8:12.
However, nothing in it contradicts the whole of Scripture, and it is worthy of study.
(Verses 3-4) "brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery" My question (while unanswerable) has always been, "How did they happen to "catch her in the act?"
(Verse 5) "Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned." This law is found in (Lev 20:10)(Deut 22:22-24). (Lev 20:10) says, "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." Does something in this verse stand out to you?
(Verse 6)(NASB) "They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him." This was one of a number of times the "scribes and Pharisees" attempted to set up a "no-win scenario" against Jesus. If Jesus said she "should" be stoned, He went against "Roman law," which did not allow Jews to carry out death sentences (see: Jn 18:31). If Jesus said she "shouldn't" be stoned, He was going against "Jewish law." So how does He avoid this trap? See (verses 7-8)!
(Verses 6,8)(NASB) "Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground." What was Jesus writing??
(Verse 9) "went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last" Do you see some significance to this?
(Verse 11) "go, and sin no more" While Jesus did not "condemn" the adulteress for her sin, He did tell her that she had sinned, and needed to stop. How can we apply this to ourselves?
Next, let's read (Jn 8:12-30).
(Verse 12) "I am the light of the world." This is one of many places in John where Jesus refers to Himself to as "light" (i.e. 1:4-9, 3:19-21, 9:5, 12:35-36,46). It is also the 2nd of 7 times that Jesus uses a key "I AM" statement (a metaphor describing Himself) in the book of John (also see: 6:35, 10:7,9, 10:11,14, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1,5).
(Verses 13-18)(NKJV) "You bear witness of yourself." We discussed this earlier in John 5:31-47. This goes back to the Old Testament in (Deut 17:6)(Deut 19:15), where "witnesses" were needed in order to establish the truth of a matter. The Pharisees were telling Jesus that the only "witness" He had was Himself. As He did in (Jn 5:37-38), Jesus again states that both He, and the Father are witnesses.
(Verse 15) "Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man." Jesus is not saying here that He does not "judge," as He clearly says He does just 11 verses later in verse 26. (also see: Jn 5:22,27,30, Jn 7:24, 2 Tim 4:1, 2 Cor 5:10). What He is saying is that He does not "judge" in the way the Pharisees judged ("after the flesh").
***Note: However, the primary purpose of Jesus while on earth was to "save," not to "judge" (Jn 12:47-48).
(Verse 19) The Pharisees failed to understand that when Jesus said "the Father," He was speaking of God the Father, and not an earthly father.
(Verses 21-22) Here, Jesus basically repeats the same words He had said a little earlier in (Jn 7:33-36): "Where I go you cannot come." Do you remember what we said about this?
In (Jn 7:35), the Jews thought maybe Jesus was intending to "go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles." Here, in verse 22, the Jews thought maybe Jesus intended to "kill Himself."
(Verse 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." A clear claim to deity, Jesus' pre-existence.
(Verse 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." It is very important to note that "He" (as in "I am He") is not found in the original Greek. This would make this another "I AM" claim by Jesus. Therefore, Jesus is saying that if one does not believe He is "I Am," (or God), that person will "die in their sins."
(Verse 28) "Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man..." Here, Jesus is clearly prophesying His impending crucifixion on the cross. He did this in a number of places: (Jn 3:14)(Jn 12:32-33)(Mt 20:18-19)(Mt 26:1-2).
(Verse 28) "then shall ye know that I am he" (Again, the "He" should not be included here.) One day, after the Jews had crucified Jesus, they would come to realize that the things Jesus said about Himself were true. He WAS God in the flesh!
(Verse 30) "As he spake these words, many believed on him." Certainly some had "genuine" saving faith after hearing these words of Jesus, but for most their "belief" did not turn into true saving faith. We see this from verse 31 and onward as Jesus speaks "to those Jews who believed in Him." Look at what the "believers" say.
Finally, let's read (Jn 8:31-59).
(Verses 34-36) "whosoever committeth sin is the servant (a slave) to sin" As humans, we are in bondage to sin, and cannot break free from it. Only through Jesus Christ can we be set free! Let's turn to a place that shows this more fully in (Rom 6:15-23).
(Verse 41) "We be not born of fornication" This is likely goes back to the birth of Jesus. It seems clear that the Jews knew that Joseph was not the father of Jesus, and since he wasn't, they assumed Mary must have been impregnated by another man. (At first, Joseph had also believed this: Mt 1:18-25.) Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:26-38).
(Verse 42) "If God were your Father, ye would love me." Jesus pretty clearly says here that God the Father was not the "Father" of these Jews, because they did not "love" Jesus. While ALL humans are a creation of God, we can only become a "child of God" by faith in Jesus Christ (Gal 3:26)(Jn 1:12)(Rom 8:14-17). Through Jesus, God the Father becomes our Father, and we are "adopted" into His family (Eph 1:5-6)(Rom 8:15)(Gal 4:5-6).
(Verse 44) "Ye are of your father the devil." In verses 38 and 41, Jesus talks about their "father." Here, He tells them who their "father" is. As hard as it is to hear, if God the Father is not a person's Father, then "the devil (Satan)" is that person's "father."
We also learn three important things about "the devil (Satan)" in this verse:
1. "He was a murderer from the beginning."
2. "There is no truth in him."
3. "He is a liar, and the father of it."
(Verse 46)(NASB) "Which one of you convicts Me of sin?" While the Jews accused Jesus of sin a number of times (i.e. Jn 5:18, Jn 10:30-33, Mt 9:1-3, Mt 26:63-65), we clearly know that Jesus was sinless (2 Cor 5:21)(Heb 4:15)(1 Jn 3:5). This is exactly why we need Jesus. Because all men are sinners (Ecc 7:20)(Rom 3:10)(Rom 5:12)(1 Jn 1:8,10), when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, His sinlessness (perfect righteousness) is "imputed" to us (2 Cor 5:19,21)(Rom 4:7-8, 24-25)(Phil 3:9).
(Verse 48)(NASB) "You are a Samaritan and have a demon."
First, the Jews accused Jesus of being a "Samaritan." As we discussed earlier in John Chapter 4, the Jews hated Samaritans because they weren't "full-blooded" Jews.
Second, they accused Jesus of "having a demon." As we first mentioned in John Chapter 7, this is one of 5 times that Jesus was accused of "having a demon."
#1. (Mt 9:34) - Accused by the Pharisees
#2. (Mt 12:24)(Mk 3:22,30)(Lk 11:15) - Accused by the Pharisees / scribes / crowd
#3. (Jn 7:20) - Accused by the crowd
#4. (Jn 8:48-50) - Accused by the Jews
#5. (Jn 10:19-20) - Accused by the Jews
(Verse 49)(NASB) "I do not have a demon; but I honor my Father." Jesus explains here one reason why He could not "have a demon," or be demon possessed. It would be impossible for Him to "honor His Father" if He had a demon.
(Small rabbit trail) Can a Christian be "demon-possessed? This is a debate within Christianity. However, consider the above verse, and these points:
1. There is not one place in the Bible that "ever" shows that a Christian was demon-possessed.
2. Our bodies are the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16-17)(1 Cor 6:19-20). When a Christian is born again, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of him. To say that Satan or demons can possess a Christian is to say that they are dwelling in the temple of God. The Bible shows us this is impossible in three ways.
A: Light and darkness cannot exist in the same place (1 Cor 6:14-15)(1 Th 5:5)(1 Pet 2:9)(Acts 26:18).
B: A house divided against itself cannot stand, and our house is occupied with Jesus (Mk 3:25)(Lk 11:17).
C: We are God's house and occupied by God (Heb 3:6)(2 Cor 5:1-2).
The Bible clearly shows, and gives examples of "non-Christians" being demon-possessed (i.e. Mt 8:28-34, Mt 9:32-34, Mt 12:32-34, Mt 15:21-28). However, nowhere are there verses, or examples of "Christians" being demon-possessed. Christians can certainly be oppressed, and influenced by Satan and his demons working outside of us, but not from inside of us. Christians can be demon-oppressed, but not possessed, non-Christians can be demon-possessed.
(Verse 51)(NASB) "If anyone keeps my word he will never see death." What does Jesus mean by this?
(Verses 52-53) Clearly, we can see that the Jews failed to understand the underlying meaning of Jesus' words.
(Verse 56) "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad."
There is a fair amount of controversy about what Jesus meant here, and no one knows for sure.
Perhaps the most common explanation is this. We know in (Gen 12:1-3) that Abraham first received a covenant promise from God (called the "Abrahamic Covenant") (also see: Gen. Ch. 15 & 17). God said that through the "seed" of Abraham, "all the families of the earth shall be blessed." This "seed" ultimately pointed to Jesus (Gal 3:8-9,16,29)(Rom 4:13). In seeing the miraculous birth of Isaac, through whom God renewed the "covenant" (Gen 26:2-5), Abraham "rejoiced" that the promise would be fulfilled.
Another less popular explanation is that Abraham "rejoiced" because he was shown "types and figures" of this covenant promise pointing to Jesus several times. For example, he saw it: in Melchizedek (Gen 14:18-20), in what appears to be a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus (Gen Ch. 18), and in the (near) sacrifice of his son Isaac, and the substitutionary sacrifice of the ram (Gen 22:1-19).
It is also possible that it is simply speaking of the fact that Abraham saw Jesus in person after He died, and "rejoiced," knowing that He would be the fulfillment of the covenant. In addition, from Paradise, Abraham would have seen ("saw") the "day" the covenant was fulfilled when Jesus came to earth, "and was glad."
(Heb 11:13) tells us this, "These (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
(Verses 57-59) "Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?... Jesus said... Before Abraham was, I AM."
Jesus made two HUGE claims to His deity here:
1. He existed before Abraham, pointing to His eternal existence. (Other verses showing Jesus' eternal existence: Jn 1:1, Col 1:16-17, Jn 17:5)
2. He was the "I AM," meaning He was God. This points back to Old Testament verses such as (Ex 3:14)(Deut 32:39)(Isa 41:4)(Isa 43:10).
The Jews clearly understood what Jesus was saying here, and were going to stone Him for it (the penalty for speaking "blasphemy" - Lev 24:16), but Jesus hid Himself so they could not do so. As is said in other verses, it was not yet "His hour" (Jn 2:4)(Jn 7:6,8,30)(Jn 8:20)(Jn 17:1 - "the hour has come").