17. Truth that Sets You Free (John 8:12-59)


Audio (36:33)


William Holman Hunt, 'The Light of the World' (1853-54), Keble College, Oxford, and a later copy in St. Paul's Cathedral, London.  It illustrates Revelation 3:20 -- 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock....'
As you will recall, the account of the Woman Taken in Adultery (7:53-8:11) isn't in the earliest manuscripts of John's Gospel, so the context of today's lesson goes back to the previous chapter, and continues Jesus' sayings at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem.

I Am the Light of the World (8:12)

According to Jewish scholar Alfred Edersheim, each night of the Feast of Tabernacles, the Court of Women in the temple would be brilliantly illuminated, hosting celebrations of festive joy that centered around the final harvest and the "days of the Messiah." He notes that the term "light" had special meaning during this festival in relation to the expected Messiah.[83]

It is in this context that Jesus makes the second of his "I am" declarations, "I am the light of the world."[84] We also see several "I am" references in this chapter that don't have an object (such as "light of the world" or "gate for the sheep"), but emphasize Jesus' oneness with the Father.

  • "I am [he]" (8:24) -- unless you believe you'll die in your sins
  • "I am [he]" (8:28) -- the Son of Man
  • "Before Abraham was, I am!" (8:58)

Jesus' enemies were deeply offended that Jesus identified himself so closely with the Father, "making himself equal with God" (5:18). They were correct that this was his intent.

Here, in the midst of the a Feast that emphasizes light and the expected Messiah, Jesus speaks boldly.

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" (8:12)

Light in Messianic Passages

Psalm 118 was read and sung throughout the Feast of Tabernacles, laden with clear messianic allusions.

"22  The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
23  the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24  This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25  O LORD, save us; ["Hosanna"]
O LORD, grant us success.
26  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you.
27  The LORD is God,
and he has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand,
join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. " (Psalm 118:22-27)

Jesus as the Light is an important theme elsewhere in John's Gospel as well.

"In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." (1:4-5)

"The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world." (1:9)

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." (3:19)

"As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (9:4-5)

"You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." (12:34-36a)

In addition, several Messianic prophecies contain the idea of light.

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned....
For unto us a child is born." (Isaiah 9:2, 6)

"The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings." (Malachi 4:2a)

Simeon's prophecy: "My eyes have seen your salvation ... a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." (Luke 2:30-32)

Paul summarizes the law and the prophets as proclaiming:

"... that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles." (Acts 26:23)

Never Walk in Darkness (8:12b)

Jesus makes a promise in our passage:

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (8:12)

Those who follow Jesus as a disciple (akoloutheō[85]) -- and continue to do so (present tense suggesting continued action) -- will always have light to guide them. This is similar to Jesus' saying later in this discourse:

"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31b-32)

There is no salvation in mere inquiry or intellectual examination of Jesus and his claims. Salvation comes in continuing to follow him, in holding to his teachings.

"If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." (7:17)

The assurance comes in following, in embracing, in obeying.

Q1. (John 8:12) In what sense is Jesus the Light of the World? What is Jesus' promise concerning light for his followers? Exactly what does that mean for the way you live?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1460-q1-light-of-the-world/

The Father's Testimony (8:13-20)

John 8 contains a running dialog between the Pharisees and Jesus where they challenge him and he replies. The Pharisees begin by challenging Jesus' claim to be the light of the world on the grounds that it is just his claim, not backed up by two or three witnesses as would be required in court according to the Mosaic Law.

"13  The Pharisees challenged him, 'Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.'
14  Jesus answered, 'Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15  You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16  But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17  In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. 18  I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.'
19  Then they asked him, 'Where is your father?'
'You do not know me or my Father,' Jesus replied. 'If you knew me, you would know my Father also.'" (8:13-19)

Notice that their criticism in 8:15 comes from judging Jesus by "human standards" (NIV, NRSV), literally "according to the flesh" (ESV, cf. KJV). It's so easy for our world to judge Jesus according to the world's standards as a good man and founder of a religion, but not to see him as the Son of God, a Savior and Rescuer who would be their Friend. The Pharisees and our world judge that way because they don't know Jesus' origin from the Father. As Paul said,

"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer." (2 Corinthians 5:16)

In verse 15b, Jesus says, "I pass judgment on no one" (NIV). We know that he will judge all men on the Last Day (Acts 17:31; 10:42; 5:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1), but for now he does not come to condemn or pass judgment, but to save (3:17; 8:11; 12:47).

Verse 20 highlights the charged atmosphere Jesus faced in the temple from his enemies.

"He spoke these words while teaching in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put.[86] Yet no one seized[87] him, because his time had not yet come." (8:20)

Jesus' claims were interpreted as blasphemy by his enemies -- and previously the chief priests and Pharisees had sent temple guards to arrest him (7:30, 32, 44) -- but it wasn't his time yet.

You Will Die in Your Sins (8:21-24)

Jesus' conflict with the Pharisees is not just verbal sparring. There are life and death issues at stake. If they don't believe, they will die in their sins.

"21  Once more Jesus said to them, 'I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.'
22  This made the Jews ask, 'Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, "Where I go, you cannot come"?'" (8:21-22)

 Jesus is referring to his crucifixion and exaltation to heaven. Even after his resurrection, most of his enemies didn't believe in him, but continued to seek the Messiah elsewhere -- as Jews do today.

"23  But he continued, 'You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24  I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be][88], you will indeed die in your sins.'" (8:23-24)

Because of their unbelief Jesus says to the Jewish leaders, "You will indeed die in your sins" (8:24b). How sad! The Savior from sin is present and he will die for their sins, but they look elsewhere for salvation.

This afternoon God led me to visit a 94-year-old man I've known for more than 20 years. His parents were devout, his brother attended my church during his lifetime. This man counts himself as a believer. He thinks that he's "a pretty good Christian," and hopes to go to heaven, but hardly ever attends church.

I failed to help him move closer to Jesus, though I tried. I suppose that after 94 years, you have your defenses pretty well built up. But the man's Savior guided me to visit him and speak to him one more time about his relationship with Jesus so that he won't die in his sins.

What does it mean to die in your sins? Paul put it this way to the Ephesian church:

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world.... All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath." (Ephesians 2:1-3)

Without trusting in Jesus as your Savior, you are "dead in your transgressions and sins," while desperately needing life that comes only from the One who can free you from those sins. To die in our sins means to die without trusting Christ as Savior. To die in our sins means to die without having the guilt of sins removed from us. And on Judgment Day we will have to answer for every one of our sins -- unless our names are written in the Grace Book, the Lamb's Book of Life where those who trust in Jesus are recorded (Revelation 21:2; 20:12).

Q2. (John 8:21-24) What does it mean to "die in your sins"? What is the consequence of this? How is it possible for Jesus' enemies to be speaking with the Savior from sin without receiving forgiveness from him? They are so close, but so far! Do you know anyone like this?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1461-q2-die-in-your-sin/

Sent by the Father (8:25-29)

The dialogue continues.

"25  'Who are you?' they asked.
'Just what I have been claiming all along,' Jesus replied. 26  'I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.'
27  They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28  So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.
29  The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.'" (8:25-29)

His enemies don't recognize Jesus' relation to the Father. But Jesus tells them that after they have lifted him up on the cross,[89] they will know by his resurrection that he is who he claims, the divine Son of Man, that his words come from the Father.

Notice verse 29, where Jesus acknowledges the Father's presence and power with him. Jesus' heart is to do what pleases the Father; that should be our heart as well!

The Truth Will Set You Free (8:30-32)

Perhaps we were imagining only Jesus verbally sparring with his vocal enemies. But there were many among the listeners to this dialogue who came to faith by what they heard (see also 7:31). For them, Jesus has a promise.

30  Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him. 31  To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Verse 32 is one of the most often-quoted sayings in the Bible. It adorns many public buildings -- on courthouses, universities, even in the lobby of the headquarters of the US Central Intelligence Agency! Most of the time verse 32 is quoted by itself, without the context of verse 31. Verse 31 is the "if clause," while verse 32 is the "then clause," only true when the conditions of the "if clause" are met.

Let's look at what Jesus was saying:

If-clause (verse 31a): "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples." "Teaching" (NIV), is literally "word" (NRSV, KJV), though logos here implies more than a single word, but includes one's entire "proclamation, instruction, teaching, message."[90] "Hold to" (NIV), "continue in" (NRSV, KJV), "abide in" (ESV) is the preposition en, "in" and the common verb menō, "remain, stay." It can be used of a location, "stay," often in the special sense of "to live, dwell, lodge." Here, it is in the transferred sense of someone who does not leave a certain realm or sphere: "remain, continue, abide."[91] It isn't enough to casually peruse Jesus' teachings; we must remain/abide in them, continue to follow them. That is the condition of the if-clause.

Then-clause (verse 31b): "... you are really my disciples." A person who continues to believe in Jesus' teachings -- not just for a while, but permanently -- is a true disciple of Jesus. "Disciple" is mathētēs, "learner, pupil, disciple."[92] To be a true disciple, means to be alēthōs, that is, "corresponding to what is really so, truly, in truth, really, actually."[93] John often uses this word group to distinguish the true and authentic from the false and inauthentic.[94] A true/actual/real disciple believes for the long run. This theme is found elsewhere.

"... nor does his word (logos) dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent." (John 5:38)

"Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching (didachē) has both the Father and the Son." (2 John 1:9)

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of...." (2 Timothy 3:14)

The context of 8:31-32 speaks of the truth according to Jesus -- spiritual truth, not secular truth or natural science. Those who hold to this spiritual truth are Jesus' disciples.

Result-clause (verse 32). "Then[95] you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." The results of being a true disciple are expressed in the future tense in verse 32. Especially in John's Gospel, alētheia, "truth," carries the idea of "authenticity, divine reality, revelation."[96] Jesus is the Word, the Logos, the Expression of God himself, the one who speaks the Words of God (1:1).

So the truth of verse 32 is spiritual, God's reality truth, not just human truth. And as we will see in verses 34-36, you will be set free not from ignorance but from sin. Only when we conform our lives with reality, with truth, can we be truly free.

Of course, there is a general sense in which any kind of truth sets a person free from ignorance, from superstitions, from false charges in a court of law. And education's truths can set people free from poverty, perhaps. These are the senses in which the world quotes the phrase. But the sense in which Jesus spoke it -- as can be easily demonstrated from the context -- is that Jesus' spiritual truth can set people free from sin that otherwise can enslave them, so long as they continue to affirm and live in this truth.

Q3. (John 8:31-32) What is the mark of a "real" disciple? What does it mean to "continue" in Jesus' word? What truth sets us free? When this is quoted in a secular content, how does its meaning differ from its context here in John's Gospel?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1462-q3-continue-in-my-word/

Slaves to Sin (8:33-36)

The world misunderstands the saying, so we shouldn't be surprised if Jesus' opponents misunderstood it too. They took "set free" to mean emancipation from slavery, as the word is often used.[97] They took offense. Though politically under Roman rule, Jews still maintained some freedom under their own kings (Herod's sons) and high priests (appointed by Herod's family). At least, they insist, they aren't slaves!

"They answered him, 'We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?'" (8:33)

So Jesus explains that he is not talking about political or social slavery, but spiritual slavery.

" 34  Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (8:34-36)

Slavery to sin is a difficult concept for us -- mainly because we usually don't understand how trapped we are by our habits, core beliefs, thought patterns, desires, passions, and lifestyles. Remember the verse from Paul that we considered above:

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath." (Ephesians 2:1-3)

We thought we did this of our own free will, but our will has become ensnared, trapped in our sin. The sin we may have once committed out of our own (relatively) free will, now enslaves us, making us unable to stop. This is not just a matter of will-power, but is demonic, following "the ruler of the kingdom of the air" (Ephesians 2:1). Paul speaks clearly of this slavery to sin (Romans 6:17-18, 22; 8:2).

Jesus says, "Everyone who sins is a slave to sin" (8:34). That is, he does what his master ("sin") causes him to do. We cannot free and reform ourselves. We need a Savior, a Rescuer to break the power of sin in us. We need the Spirit to deliver us and renew us in the spirit of our minds.  We need the Son to set us free and give us a status before God as sons, not slaves (8:35).

Q4. (John 8:34-36) How does sinning enslave a person? What is necessary to set a person free from bondage to sin? What part does Jesus' "truth" (8:32) have in this? How does the "Son" set people free? If you find yourself trapped by habitual sin, how can you get free?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1463-q4-slaves-to-sin/

Abraham's Children (8:37-41)

Now Jesus questions his opponents' supposed allegiance to Abraham. You aren't acting like Abraham did, Jesus says.

"37  'I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38  I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.'
39  'Abraham is our father,' they answered.
'If you were Abraham's children,' said Jesus, 'then you would do the things Abraham did. 40  As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41  You are doing the things your own father does.'
'We are not illegitimate children,' they protested. 'The only Father we have is God himself.'" (8:37-41)

Abraham was a man of faith. You can only claim to be his spiritual descendants if you do what he did.

A Liar and the Father of Lies (8:42-47)

Now Jesus speaks harshly to his opponents. Abraham was a man of faith. He listened to God. Those who love Abraham's God will recognize the Son when he brings the Father's words.

"42  Jesus said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43  Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.
44
 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
45  Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46  Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? 47  He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.'" (8:42-47)

Rather than being Abraham's children, Jesus says, you are the devil's children, since you act like him -- rejecting truth. Their desire to arrest and kill Jesus is an additional indication of their true allegiance to the one who "was a murderer from the beginning."

Just because a person is an adherent of a religion doesn't mean that he belongs to God! Many in church today are functionally unbelievers, as sad as that is to say.

Q5. (John 8:44) What does this verse teach us about the devil's character? What does this tell us about people who don't always tell the truth? If Jesus is "the Truth" (14:6), what is an habitual liar?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1464-q5-father-of-lies/

Believers Never See Death (8:48-51)

Jesus' enemies answer his charge that they are children of the devil with name-calling.

"48  The Jews answered him, 'Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?'

49  'I am not possessed by a demon,' said Jesus, 'but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50  I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.'" (4:48-50)

There are others listening to this exchange, some of whom are being convinced by Jesus (7:31; 8:30), so in verse 51 Jesus speaks again to them.

"I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." (8:51)

 Here's another if-then statement like we saw in 8:31.

If-clause. "If anyone keeps my word...." "Keeps" is tēreō, "to keep watch over, guard," here in the sense, "to persist in obedience, keep, observe, fulfill, pay attention to," especially of law and teaching.[98] This is similar to the if-clause in 8:31a, "If you hold to/continue in (menō) my word...."

Then-clause. "He will never see death." "See" (theōreō) is used here figuratively in the sense of "undergo, experience."[99] A similar figurative expression we see is "taste death" in 8:52.[100] This is not physical death Jesus is speaking of, but spiritual death, separation from God. Jesus is speaking in terms of eternal life and eternal death as he does elsewhere:

"He has crossed over from death to life." (5:24)

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." (11:25-26)

What a wonderful promise!

Unbelief (8:52-55)

Ears of faith hear Jesus' promise of eternal life and rejoice. But Jesus' opponents are incensed. They go back to Jesus' assertion that they don't act like their supposed father, Abraham. Abraham died, they say, how can a person not die?

"52  At this the Jews exclaimed, 'Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. 53  Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?'
54  Jesus replied, 'If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55  Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word.'" (8:52-55)[101]

You claim to know my Father, says Jesus, but you do not.

Before Abraham Was, I Am (8:56-59)

Now Jesus speaks boldly about his pre-existence!

"56  'Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.'
57  'You are not yet fifty years old,' the Jews said to him, 'and you have seen Abraham!'
58  'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!'" (8:56-58)

Jesus' opponents have no idea who Jesus is. Nor do they really know the Father. So to them, Jesus' claim to precede Abraham appears as blasphemy. But, as it turns out, it is the truth. Jesus said, literally,

"Before Abraham was, I am." (8:58b)

Notice he didn't say, before Abraham "I was" (past tense), which you'd expect him to say, speaking about his pre-existence, but "I am" (present tense). It is clear that Jesus is identifying himself with Yahweh, the great I AM who appeared to Moses at the burning bush.[102] Moses asks God's name.

"God said to Moses, 'I am who I am.' He said further, 'Thus you shall say to the Israelites, "I am has sent me to you."'" (Exodus 3:13-14)

The context of John 8:58 is time. Jesus is saying that he not only precedes Abraham in time, but he exists timelessly! This takes us back to the very preface to the Gospel of John:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." (1:1-2)

This eternal timelessness of Jesus is expressed in Hebrews:

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)

And Christ's eternal origins match the timelessness of God the Father in the Book of Revelation.

Father: "... who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne (Revelation 1:4).

Father: "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8).

Christ: "I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades" (Revelation 1:17-18).

Father: "Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come" (Revelation 4:8).

Father: "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life" (Revelation 21:5-6).

Christ:  "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (Revelation 22:13).

Yes, these are the eternal implications when Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am." (8:58b)

Jesus' opponents are spiritually dull, but they are astute enough to grasp the fact that Jesus is making himself equal with God -- again. And they respond.

"At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away[103] from the temple grounds.[104]" (8:59)

It wasn't Jesus' time. Soon, but not yet.

Q6. (John 8:58) What does Jesus' statement, "Before Abraham was, I am," tell us about Jesus? How does this statement relate to John 1:1-5?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1465-q6-before-abraham-i-am/

Lessons for Disciples

John's Gospel: A Discipleship Journey with Jesus, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Entire study is available in paperback, Kindle, and PDF formats.

Though much of this passage is a running dialog between Jesus and his enemies, we find a number of lessons that we can apply as disciples.

  1. Jesus is the Light of the world, the Light that illuminates our pathway (8:12).
  2. Unless people put their trust in Jesus, they will die in their sins, that is, without their sins forgiven. The issues are life and death! (8:24).
  3. Real disciples continue in Jesus' teaching and follow it. Only this way can they really know the truth that can set them free from sin (8:31-32).
  4. Those who sin are a slave to sin, and need emancipation from slavery from the Son himself -- Jesus (8:34-36).
  5. Those who love God will also embrace Jesus -- if it is truly Yahweh, the God of the Bible, that they love. Otherwise, their love of God is a sham (8:42).
  6. The devil is described as a murderer, devoid of real truth. He is liar and the father of those who lie (8:44)
  7. Those who follow Jesus' teachings in faith will never see spiritual death (8:51).
  8. Jesus' preexistence predates Abraham (8:58).

Prayer

Father, thank you for drawing us to Jesus, who can set us free and keep us free -- from sin and from whatever binds us. We are so easily deceived; thank you for putting love for you in our hearts. We do love you! Help us to continue on the path with our Lord. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Key Verses

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12, NIV)

"I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins." (John 8:24, NIV)

"When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me." (John 8:28, NIV)

"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" (John 8:31-32, NIV)

"I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:34-36, NIV)

"If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me." (John 8:42, NIV)

"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44, NIV)

"I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." (John 8:51, NIV)

"'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!'" (John 8:58, NIV)

Endnotes

[83] Edersheim, Life and Times, Book 4, chapter 8, pp 837ff.

[85] Akoloutheō, BDAG 36, 3.

[86] The thirteen shofar-chests or offering boxes were probably in the area of the Court of Women, since the women had access to them (Mark 12:41-42).

[87] "Seized" (NIV), "arrested" (NRSV, ESV), "laid hands on" (KJV) is piazō, "seize, arrest, take into custody" (BDAG 812, 2a).

[88] Egō eimi, "I am," here, as the NIV puts it, "I am [the one I claim to be]." See Appendix 4. The 'I Am' Passages in John's Gospel.

[89] The theme of being "lifted up from the earth" is found elsewhere: 3:14 and 12:32-34.

[90] Logos, BDAG 600, 1aβ.

[91] Menō, BDAG 631, 1bβ.

[92] Mathētēs, BDAG 609.

[93] Alēthōs, BDAG 44, b.

[94] Alēthēs, "true" and alēthinos, "authentic" are also in this word group. So Jesus is the "true light" (1:9), the "true bread" (6:32), the "true vine" (15:1). There are "true worshippers" (4:23), a "true Israelite" (1:47), the "true God" (17:3).

[95] The connecting word here is the common conjunction kai, "and," though here it serves "to introduce a result that comes from what precedes: and then, and so" (BDAG 495, 1bζ).

[96] Rudolf Bultmann, alētheia, TDNT 1:245.

[97] "Set free" is eleutheroō, "to cause someone to be freed from domination, free, set free" (BDAG 317).

[98] Tēreō, BDAG 1002, 3.

[99] Theōreō, BDAG 454, 2c.

[100] Geuomai, "to partake of something by mouth, taste, partake of," here in the figurative sense of, "to experience something cognitively or emotionally, come to know something" (BDAG 195, 2).

[103] "Hid himself" is kryptō, middle voice used in an active sense, "hide" (see also 12:36; BDAG 571, 1a). "Slipping away" (NIV), "went out" (NRSV, KJV) is exerchomai, "go out, come out, go away, retire" (BDAG 1aα).

[104] KJV includes at the end of verse 59, "going through the midst of them, and so passed by," but it is not found in the earliest manuscripts.


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