Monday, March 18, 2013

John 8 - Adultery and the I AM

LINK: John 8


BACKGROUND

125. Jesus forgives an adulterous woman: John 7:53-8:11

John 7:53-8:11 is not found in some of the ancient manuscripts and when it is found, it is not always in this chapter in the Gospel according to John. Most scholars do agree that it is "a fragment of authentic Gospel material" (Dr. F.F. Bruce) even though it may not be in the right place.

So, why was it placed here?
The material was placed before 8:12 in most Bible versions because the contents of this section relate well to two statements of Jesus in chapter 8 (“I pass judgment on no one” [8:15], and “Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin?” [8:46]). 
7:53. This verse shows that this story was a continuation of some other material. The original connection is now lost.
(The Bible Knowledge Commentary:Volume 2, Jn 21:24–25)
Jesus spent all night on the Mount of Olives; and in the early morning, all the people came to hear Him in the temple (Luke 21:37-38). Wanting to trap Him and discredit Jesus as a teacher, the Jewish leaders brought a woman caught in adultery to Him. According to Jewish law, both parties caught in adultery were to be stoned (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22). So, we do not know why the man was not there. If Jesus condemned her, He would lose the people's favor; but if He did not, the Jewish leaders could condemn Him for disagreeing with Moses. He was caught between a rock (or many stones) and a hard place!

We do not know what He wrote on the ground, but He pointed to the religious leader's own sinfulness and pointed out that He was the only Judge because He was sinless (John 8:16)!  No one could throw a stone but Jesus, and He chose not to condemn her!

126. Jesus is the light of the world: John 8:12-20

This is the second great "I am" statement in John with the first one being "I am the Bread of Life."  The world is in darkness, which is a symbol of evil, sin, and ignorance. Jesus came to illuminate our darkness as the only true Light (1:4, 9, 12:35, 46; 1 John 1:6-7)

Of course, this claim caused questioning from the religious leaders. How could He "self-authenticate" Himself because Rabbinic tradition rejected self-testimony. Jesus responded that His witness was God Himself! Jesus and God made two witnesses, the number required by the Law (Deuteronomy 19:15).

127. Jesus warns of coming judgment: John 8:21-30

Jesus said that they would "die in their sin" because they rejected and did not believe in the One who offers salvation (16:9). In John 8:28, He said that unless they believed that "I am," (the NIV adds a "he" that is not in the Greek) they would die. This is the "I Am," which is a self-designation for God from the Old Testament (Exodus 3:13-15).  Jesus was asserting His Deity. 

128. Jesus speaks about God's true children: John 8:32-47 

This passage points out something very profound, it is not acceptable to just "believe" in Jesus, we must "hold to His teaching" by being true learners and students (disciples)! This would allow them to know the truth and be free.

The Jews did not understand this since they were not slaves!  Jesus was talking about a different freedom. A freedom from the slavery of sin (Romans 6:15-23). Their physical genealogy as descendants of Abraham would not save them, they must be in spiritual kinship through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26, 29). If they were not this kind of kin, they were children of Satan (8:34,35). 

129. Jesus states he is eternal: John 8:48-59

Their reaction to this was to call Jesus a "Samaritan and demon-possessed" (see my post on John 4 to understand why calling Him a Samaritan was such an insult), but Jesus stuck to His calling and said that if anyone "keeps His word" (observes, pays attention to, fulfills), he would live eternally and never be separated from God (3:16; 5:24).  Again, He reiterated that salvation had nothing to do with being a descendant of Abraham but believing by faith. 

When Jesus referred back to Abraham as "rejoicing at the thought of seeing my day," it is probably referring to the messianic prophecy that through Abraham's seed "all peoples on earth will be blessed" [Genesis 12:3] because Jesus is that seed. This statement flummoxed them because they couldn't believe that a man in His thirties would have seen Abraham!  Then, He made another "I am" statement (see above) that declared His Deity. Consequently, they wanted to stone Him because stoning was the normal punishment for the sin of blasphemy. He slipped away because His time had not yet come (2:4; 7:6, 8, 30; 8:20). 


REFLECTION/APPLICATION

The Flow of Deity

These "I am" declarations by Jesus confirm His Deity. Here are other verses that you can connect together and "chain reference" in your Bible by writing "Deity" in the margin of the first reference with the next reference to go to under that. Here are the verses in order:

John 1:1
John 1:14
8:58-59
Exodus 3:14-15
John 8:24
John 10:30-33
Hebrews 1:3-4
Colossians 2:9-12
Colossians 1:15-20
John 20:27-29
John 17:5
Isaiah 42:8
Isaiah 7:14
Matthew 1:21-23
Isaiah 9:6
Isaiah 43:10-11
Micah 5:2
Luke 2:4-7, 10-11
Isaiah 44:6
Revelation 1:7,8; 17-18

This is very fun and encouraging to meditate through! Enjoy!

PRAYER


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . and we beheld His glory, glory as the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. The Word was the light that came into the world to dispel the darkness of it (John 1:1, 4, 9, 14). Thank You God for dispelling my darkness and for this amazing gift of salvation through Jesus! May many reading Your Word come to saving faith through it Amen. 
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