Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: John's Gospel Studies|
Chapter: John 8
Passage: John 8:1-11
A. Find Out:
1. What was Jesus doing and where? v.1,2
2. Who brought who to Jesus? v.3
3. What did they claim, what did they ask, and why? v.4-6a
4. What did Jesus do, what did he state? v.6b,7
5. What was the result? v.9
6. What was Jesus' final instruction to the woman? v.11
The authorities are out to get Jesus. Was the woman a set up? No probably not otherwise Jesus would have exposed that. Where was the man who committed adultery with her? He was let off by the men who were the authorities, but probably they were not bothered much about her sin anyway, just that it was an opportunity to get Jesus!
If he condemned her the sympathetic crowd would be against him, and if he let her off he would be seen to break the Law. Tricky! So Jesus bends down and writes in the dust. Some have suggested he wrote the sins of the people before him, but it is more likely that he simply ignored them and prayed to His Father for wisdom. His answer goes to the heart of all before him and they realise that they are not perfect and have no right to condemn. There is not one who can declare, “I am sinless”.
Jesus' way of dealing with these authorities is instructive. He did not look them in the eye while he is considering the question, nor after he has made his statement. His approach is entirely non-confrontational and low key. He allows the truth to do its work.
1. Can we allow the truth to do its work or do we feel we need to attack
people who are coming at us unjustly?
2. Jesus does not accept sin but at the same time he always seeks to move
A. Find Out:
1. What did Jesus declare himself to be? v.12
2. Why were the Pharisees objecting? v.13
3. Why did Jesus say his testimony was valid? v.14
4. How did he say they were judging? v.15
5. Why did he say his decisions were right? v.16
6. How, did he argue, adequate testimony was being given? v.17,18
Good and evil, light and darkness are always contrasted, and in this passage Jesus declares “I am the light of the world”, or “I am the goodness of the world”. Wherever Jesus went he brought goodness (he has just done so in the previous passage) and when he comes into our lives he brings goodness. To the foolish he brings wisdom, to the sinner he brings holiness and to the sad he brings gladness, transformation in every case, for the light excludes darkness.
This is a dynamic claim made by Jesus and of course it is objected to by the Pharisees. Rather than focusing on the truth of it, they complain that he shouldn't say it because he is being his own witness. Who else could say it? John the Baptist was dead and they hadn't believed him anyway? The disciples were still just learning the truth so they cannot be considered witnesses. Jesus reply to this is simple: he doesn't appeal for human witnesses, he himself knows the truth and so does his heavenly Father who sent him, that is enough. This is going to cause some confusion to the Pharisees but they are confused already. Anyone who had received Jesus already would know the truth of what he was saying, and that is enough.
A. Find Out:
1. What did the Jews ask and what did Jesus reply? v.19
2. Why was he not arrested? v.20
3. What 3 things did Jesus say would happen? v.21
4. What did the Jews wonder? v.22
5. What did Jesus say about his origin and their origin? v.23
6. Why did he say they would die in their sins? v.24
Throughout this part Jesus speaks prophetically and as such speaks in a manner that those who are truly seeking God will understand but all others will be confused by (see Isaiah 6:10 ). So here again we see Jesus referring to his Father, declaring that if you know who Jesus is you will also know his Father. (NB. In John's Gospel Jesus refers to his Father over 90 times, in Matthew only 18, in Mark only 2, in Luke only 8).
At part of this prophetic utterance Jesus decrees the end of those who refuse to believe in him: they will die in their sins. Three times in these verses he says it, and so it comes as a clear warning for those who have ears to hear.
In the midst of all this Jesus keeps referring to the place where he will go but they cannot follow. In true prophet teaching style he places before them truth that should provoke thought in the seeker. This is the classic form of teaching used by Jesus to provide sufficient for those who are seeking to enable them to come to a right conclusion, but in such a way that those who are not seeking will not be able to make sense of it. In that it reveals quite clearly those who are destined for eternal life and those who will die in their sins!
1. Jesus teaches for seekers!
2. Seekers will hear, think, understand and respond.
A. Find Out:
1. What did they ask Jesus and what was his reply? v.25
2. What did he say he had to say about them? v.26
3. What did they not understand? v.27
4. When did Jesus say they would know what? v.28
5. What did Jesus say he did? v.29
6. What resulted from this? v.30
Jesus has been speaking about his origin in heaven and in such a way that the Jews listening found it hard to understand. In today's passage he says a number of significant things.
First, he boldly says he has much to say in judgement of them. Jesus speaks words that are both comfort and judgement. They are comfort to followers but judgement to unbelievers. He has that right.
Second, he says why he has that right: because all he says is what he hears from his Father (in heaven) and God makes no mistakes, so what he, Jesus, says is correct. Jesus goes even further about his relationship with Father: he even claims that because he follows the Father and only says and does what Father says, all that he does is right and pleasing to the Father. That is a claim that can only come out of a secure relationship.
Third, Jesus indicates the manner of his death. To be sure it is in a very enigmatic way but for us, because we can see the end, we now know he was referring to his death on the Cross. Everything about this passage says Jesus knows WHO he is, WHY he has come and WHAT is his end. He is totally understanding his mission.
1. God wants us to have a secure and close relationship with Him so that
we know that what we do is pleasing to Him.
2. God wants us to be sure of our mission.
A. Find Out:
1. What makes a disciple? v.31
2. What then happens? v.32
3. Why did the Jews object to this? v.33
4. What sort of slavery was Jesus speaking about? v.34
5. How did he say a son and a slave differ? v.35
6. What freedom does Jesus speak of? v.36
A number have just put their faith in Jesus (v.30) but to make sure they are genuinely going to be his disciples Jesus warns them that only someone who holds onto and lives out his teaching is really a disciple of his, and when a person does that they will know it is the truth and that will set them free.
At that they have a problem. They clearly only part understood and they reveal their ties with the old traditions. Basically what they are saying is, “What is this about freedom? We thought we were free already. We've never been slaves!” Well that wasn't true to start with! They had been slaves in both Egypt and Babylon and even know were under the rule of Rome . Not exactly freedom! But Jesus shows the freedom he is talking about is freedom from sin. A slave has a temporary place in the family he says (it could be sold off anytime) but a Son will always have a place. The implication is that Abraham's true children of faith WILL be considered sons but the natural descendants without faith may well be cast out and sold off because of sin.
Real freedom is freedom from sin and it only comes when Jesus sets you free. These Jews had to know more than a surface belief in Jesus, they had to realise their need and the answer to it.
1. All of us are (were) slaves to sin. We need(ed) a Saviour.
2. Jesus releases us completely from this slavery and makes us sons.
A. Find Out:
1. What contradiction did Jesus point out? v.37
2. What did Jesus say he was telling? v.38a
3. What did he say about them and what was their reply? v.38b,39a
4. Why did Jesus say that wasn't true? v.39b,40
5. What did he say they were doing? v.41a
6. What did they reply? v.41b
At the heart of this part of the discussion is the question, “Who is the father or originator of your actions” We may claim natural parentage but according to Jesus our behaviour indicates another parentage. There are only two options!
Jesus acknowledged that the Jews were descended from Abraham and indeed they claimed him as their father, yet Jesus claimed that they behaviour and intentions indicated that they were not truly sons of Abraham. Abraham was a friend of God, a man of faith, but by trying to kill the Son of God they show they are neither of these things. So, says Jesus, that means you have another father who does the things you are trying to do. Jesus will go on to identify their “father” as Satan (see tomorrow) and that is the clear conclusion: your intention and behaviour indicates who your true “father” is, and it will be either God or Satan.
We may wish to be a lot more gentle in our assessment of intention and behaviour but the Bible is quite clear cut about it; you either follow God or allow Satan to lead you (see also 1 John 5:19), and the way you live indicates quite clearly who it is you follow!
1. Do I live and think as if the Holy God is my Father, so my actions and
thoughts are holy and righteous?
2. The alternative is that I let Satan lead me.
A. Find Out:
1. What would the Jews do if God were their father and why? v.42
2. Why were they not understanding Jesus? v.43
3. To who did they belong and what did they want to do? v.44a
4. What two characteristics of him are given? v.44b
5. What were they doing in respect of Jesus? v.45,46
6. What effect does a relationship with God have? v.47
Yesterday we saw how Jesus was saying that natural parenthood isn't the real issue, it is spiritual parenthood. Now he focuses his argument even more and comes right out with the claim that their real father is Satan, because they show all the same characteristics as Satan. He was a murderer (death came through sin and killing became almost a natural part of the human race) and they now wanted to kill Jesus. If anyone desires to kill another person it is a sign of the characteristic of Satan. Satan was also a liar and because they listened to his lies they could not accept the truth that Jesus was speaking; it was almost as if they were actually unable to hear and take in what he was saying.
But to balance all this Jesus also says that it is only when you desire a relationship with God that you can hear God. Here is a profound truth. God is speaking all the time but most people are unable to hear what he is saying because of their sin. It is only as they become aware of their folly and aware of the awfulness of their position that they will start reaching out to God and only then will they really start hearing and receiving the truth.
1. The natural man is blind and deaf to God.
2. It is only as the Holy Spirit works, as we pray and the individual rejects
their old values that truth starts being heard and received.
A. Find Out:
1. Of what two things did they accuse Jesus? v.48
2. How did Jesus reply and what did he say he did? v.49
3. What did he say he wasn't doing? v.50a
4. Yet what did he say about God? v.50b
5. What did he promise and on what condition? v.51
6. How did the Jews seek to prove this wasn't true? v.52
Jesus has just called them liars and sons of Satan and the Jews, somewhat understandably, are upset. They accuse him of being demon possessed which was, from a natural point of view, completely unlikely because he had just been denigrating Satan and Satan wouldn't be against himself (as Jesus points out elsewhere!)
In reply to these accusations, Jesus simply denies it and then declares that he at least, seeks to honour his Father (which they don't do because they reject the Son). And then comes an amazing promise: if you follow Jesus' words you will never die. For us now, we can see that Jesus was promising everlasting life but for the Jews then this was just confusing. As they thought about this they reasoned with materialistic thinking and said that that can't be so otherwise Abraham would still be alive. They are going on to challenge whether he believes he is greater than Abraham and of course the answer is yes, he is the Son of God!
Yet again we see it is the hostility in the hearts of these Jews that refuses to allow them to have a teachable spirit. Such a person would have gently asked him to explain. They simply rejected him!
1. Do we criticise what we don't understand?
2. A teachable heart asks for it to be explained.
A. Find Out:
1. What was the Jews' objection to what Jesus had just said? v.53
2. Why didn't Jesus worry about getting glory? v.54
3. Why did Jesus have to speak about his Father? v.55
4. What did Jesus say of Abraham & what was their response? v.56,57
5. What, in response, did Jesus claim? v.58
6. What was their reaction to this? v.59
As we said above, Jesus has just made the claim that anyone who keeps his word will not die. The Jews strongly objected to this. Abraham, they said, was our father and he died so are you saying that you are greater than him? Jesus eventual answer was that he existed before Abraham, and in fact his declaration, “I am” was reminiscent of God's words to Moses (Exodus 3:14), “I AM”, and in this Jesus is making a clear claim to divinity. That this is so is quite obvious for the Jews went to stone him, obviously for blasphemy (the same is seen in John 10:30 -33).
Yet before Jesus comes to that he answers their abusive, “Who do you think you are” by basically saying, “I don't need to defend myself. My Father will honour me and that is enough”. He then proceeded to elaborate on his relationship with his Father, who clearly was God in heaven, who he knew but they didn't. Not only that, he says, Abraham looked forward to my coming. How, we might ask. Because Abraham knew that through his seed the world would be blessed (see Gen 22:18 , 26:4 & 28:14) and Jesus is that seed that brings that blessing
1. Jesus IS the “I am” on the earth, THE Son of God.
2. We can rest in God to allow Him to bring honour to us. We do not need to
Because the content of John's Gospel is often so complex and profound it may be helpful to look back over chapter 8 at this point and see it in breakdown form to see the flow of the discussion from verse 12 on:
v.12-30 First Interchange
- ends in a number believing
v.31-59 Second Interchange
- ends in them trying to stone Jesus
In the first interchange there seems to be a sense of genuine questioning resulting in a number apparently believing in him, perhaps just as their expected Messiah. It was to these Jews that Jesus then continues teaching to show that he required far more than mere mental assent, he wanted obedience to what he taught. From then on there seems to be opposition and disagreement (v.33,41), then abuse (v.48,52), and eventually outright attempt to kill him (v.59). John shows us that Jesus was not content to let them come to be place of easy believism; he wanted total surrender!
In this second group of 9 studies we have seen :
There is a mixture here of Jesus taking the initiative with his teaching (e.g. v.12, 21,23, 31) and simply responding to the questions and hostility of those before him (e.g. v.14, 25, 34, 42, 49,54, 58). Again and again Jesus speaks in ways that would have been understood by seekers after the truth, but which only seem to create greater confusion in the minds of these hostile Jews. The lessons that come out from this chapter are sharp and clear! May we heed them.
1. Jesus often teaches in an oblique manner
2. When he does this he is testing out hearts
3. Our responses show whether we have a teachable spirit
4. Our responses show whether we are truly submitted to him.
Bring to the Lord, in humility, any questions or queries that you have and allow him to teach you.
PART 3 : "Healing and Dispute"
In this next Part we are, by stark contrast with chapter 8, going to see a healing incident, yet the discussions that ensue following it, reveal yet again the hardness of heart and blindness that existed in the religious people of Jesus' day. May they not be in us!