John 8 Bible Study
Why did Jesus spend the night at "Mount of Olives"
(John 8:1) instead of His "house" (John 7:53)?
He didn't have a house to go to: "And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.'" (Luke 9:58)
Couldn't He afford one?
Of course He could. He made and owns everything in the universe but chose to forego materialistic comforts and assets.
Did Jesus or His disciples at least dress well?
No, and Jesus said that those who dress well are not His disciples, but politicians: "But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts." (Luke 7:25)
Then why do some Christian leaders today dress gorgeously and live in luxury?
They have no biblical justification for it. Instead of heeding Jesus' command to "give to the poor" (Mark 10:21), they tell the poor to give to them and then live in luxury while millions go unfed around the world. Their lifestyle is an abomination to Jesus' example and teachings, and disqualifies them as true Christian leaders.
What Old Testament law are the scribes and Pharisees referring to in John 8:5?
“If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die—the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel. “If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you." (Deuteronomy 22:22-24)
Anything odd about their accusation?
If she was "caught in adultery, in the very act" (John 8:4), where was the man who was in the act with her?
Why did they all of a sudden want Jesus' opinion?
They interrupted His teaching to try to trap Him and brand Him a false teacher in front of those gathered.
What’s the trap?
If Jesus doesn’t approve the stoning, He breaks the Jewish law just cited. If He approves it, He breaks the Roman law that prohibits Jews from issuing capital punishment. Sounds like a pretty good trap.
What did Jesus write on the ground?
We don't know. He may have written something meaningful or just may have scribbled to make the men step closer to see what He was writing, thus drawing their eyes off the woman, who may have been less than fully clothed since she was caught “in the act”.
Who left first after hearing, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a
stone at her first" (John 8:7)?
The older ones.
Why do you think?
They had accumulated more sins over their longer lives.
Why doesn't Jesus chastise the woman for her sin?
She probably lived through the scariest and the most shameful moment of her life. She was caught “in the act” and dragged away by a band of men who wanted to kill her. She knew her sin and also Jesus’ authority over her.
How do we know that?
If she thought nothing of her sin or Jesus, she would have left the moment the last accuser left. Instead, she remained "standing" (John 8:9) and called Jesus “Lord” (John 8:11). Throughout His ministry, Jesus chastised the Jews and others who thought they weren't sinful, but showed mercy to those who admitted their sins and sought forgiveness, and this remains unchanged today.
Does Jesus address the woman' sin nevertheless?
Yes, He tells her to, "go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
Who did Jesus speak to in John 8:12 if everybody had left?
The accusers had left but those who were being "taught" (John 8:2) before the intrusion were still there. John 8:20 says that Jesus spoke these word "in the treasure... in the temple", so He may have moved to a different part of the temple. It also may be a little later since (other) Pharisees had arrived.
Why did He call Himself "light" (John 8:12)?
When night fell on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, four golden lamps were lit in the temple and remained lit for the duration of the feast. The Greek word translated, "early in the morning" in John 8:2 is orthros, which literally means "dawn". As the day dawned after the last night of the feast, the four golden lamps are extinguished. It is at this moment that Jesus told those around Him, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
What does it mean to "not walk in darkness but have
the light of life" (John 8:12)?
To not continue lost in sin but to have Jesus light up and be the path to eternal life.
What do the Pharisees mean by His witness being "not true" in John 8:13?
According to the Jewish legal standard, a testimony was valid only if two men witnessed to it. Since Jesus was alone in His witness, they were saying that His testimony is invalid.
What is Jesus saying in John 8:14?
Even if He is the alone as a witness, His testimony is valid because He is someone to whom their legal standard doesn't apply.
Is it true that Jesus judges "no one" as He says in John 8:15?
Jesus has full authority to judge - "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." (Matthew 28:18) - but didn't use it. Instead of judging and condemning the world, He came to save it. But if they don’t believe in Him, they end up judged and condemned by their own unbelief.
What is He adding in John 8:16-18?
Even according to their legal standard, His witness is valid because the second witness is God the Father in heaven.
Why didn’t they arrest Him?
“His hour had not yet come” (John 8:20)
When will the Jews understand what Jesus said in John 8:21-26?
"When you lift up the Son of Man." (John 8:28)
Why do you think Jesus would waste His time and words like this with the Jews?
"As He spoke these words, many believed in Him" (John 8:30), so they weren't wasted. They never are: "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)
What qualifies someone as Jesus’ disciple?
"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed." (John 8:31) We need to know what He said in order to know what to abide in, but knowledge by itself is insufficient. Obedience is what qualifies us.
What or who is "the truth" in John 8:32?
It's Jesus, "the Son" (John 8:36) of God, who also declared, "I am... the truth" in John 14:6.
Is it true that they "have never been in bondage to anyone" as they claim in John 8:33?
Absolutely not. They had been in bondage under the Egyptians for 400 years, the Assyrians when they were conquered in 722 BC, the Babylonians during the 7th and 6th centuries BC, and were presently in bondage under the Romans.
Is that what Jesus points out in John 8:34?
No, He remains in the spiritual realm.
How does what he said in John 8:34, "Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin" apply to us?
Whatever sins we have in our lives enslave us.
How do we get free from them?
"If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36) Jesus isn’t someone we come to after we’ve freed ourselves from sins and cleaned up our act; we can’t clean ourselves enough to be righteous before the perfectly holy God. We come to Him first in our sinful state and ask Him to free and clean us.
Who is the "your father" Jesus refers to repeated in John 8:38 and John 8:41?
"You are of your father the devil." (John 8:44)
What is happening in this passage?
In what is perhaps the most heated exchange between Jesus and the unbelieving Jews recorded in the Gospel of John, Jesus is responding to the first half of their claim in John 8:33, "We are Abraham’s descendants" by pointing out that while they may be so by genealogy (John 8:37), their spiritual father is "the devil." The Jews try to insist, “Abraham is our father” (John 8:39) and then, "We have one Father - God" (John 8:41) but both times, Jesus points out how both claims are disproven by their actions, which show them to be liars and murders, just like the devil, who is "a murderer from the beginning... a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44)
How do the Jews retaliate?
They suggest, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” in John 8:48, and then turn it into a declaration in John 8:52: "Now we know that You have a demon!"
Why do they call Jesus a "Samaritan" in John 8:48?
Samaritans were half-breeds born outside of the Jewish race. It was a racist insult.
Why did they take up stones?
They were going to stone Jesus to death.
When might you have expected them to be inflamed to grab stones to kill Him?
John 8:44, when Jesus called them the sons of the devil.
What was worse than being called the sons of the devil that made them grab stones to kill Him?
Jesus' declaration, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58)
What’s the big deal about that?
“I AM” is the name God gave Himself in Exodus 3:13-14: "Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Jesus was declaring to them in terms that are crystal clear to them that He is God, and that's what made them try to kill Him.
How did Jesus hide Himself and go through "the midst of them" (John 8:59)?
Probably the same way He did in when the people tried to kill Him upon hearing His very first sermon in Nazareth: "So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way." (Luke 4:28-30) Walking invisibly through a crowd is easy for God.
Did Abraham really see Jesus and "was glad" as Jesus stated in John 8:56?
The answer is found in a powerful passage in Genesis chapters 14 and 15 that’s almost impossible to appreciate without knowing an ancient custom. We’ll need to read 35 verses but it will be worth it. Abraham is still called Abram in this passage: "14:8 And the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and joined together in battle in the Valley of Siddim 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar - four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of asphalt pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled; some fell there, and the remainder fled to the mountains. 11 Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. 12 They also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. 13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner; and they were allies with Abram. 14 Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people. 17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him. 18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “ Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. 21 Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’ - 24 except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.” Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” 2 But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” 4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. 7 Then He said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” 8 And he said, “Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?” 9 So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. 11 And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” 17 And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. 18 On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates." (Genesis 14:8-15:18) In brief, five kings had invaded the region in which Lot lived, defeated the local kings and made off with everything, including Lot, who is Abram’s nephew. Abram learned of it, chased down and defeated the invaders with his servants, and brought back Lot, as well as everything else. One of the local kings is grateful to Abraham and tells him to keep the things he recovered. Abram declines and tells him that he will wait for God to bless him, lest any man claim credit for anything Abram ends up with later. This was commendable because at this time Abram had neither heirs nor land. God is pleased with Abram and tell him that He is Abram’s "exceedingly great reward" (Genesis 15:1), to which Abram laments that given his childless state, even what he owns will be inherited by a hired servant named "Eliezer of Damascus" (Genesis 15:2), and asks God what He will give him. God promises him descendents as many as the star, and Abram believed God's promise. (Genesis 15:6). But God promised to give him land in the vicinity, Abram retorted, “How shall I know that I will inherit it?” (Genesis 15:8) and this is where things get interesting.
What is God’s response in Genesis 15:9?
Instead of giving Abram an answer, God tells him to go fetch three animals and two birds.
What does Genesis 15:10 say Abraham did with them?
He killed them, and even cut the animals in half.
Did God tell him to do that?
Then why did he do it?
When God told him to fetch the animals and the birds, Abram understood that as a command to prepare for a covenant.
What is a covenant?
It's an ancient blood oath best described with an example. To arrange a marriage, for example, the leading members of the two families gather to discuss the terms, which include things but also future conduct of the soon-to-be spouses. After the terms have been agreed, they dig or find a small trench, kill, cut and lay animals on either side of the trench so that the blood gathers in it. The father of the groom then stands up, takes off his sandals and walks through the trench, splattering the gathered blood on himself. The message is that if any of the promises that he has made, including the good behavior of his son, are broken, the bride’s family may kill him - the father - and walk in his blood. The groom better not beat his wife, for example, as doing so could mean the death of his father. Next, the bride's father stands up, takes off his sandals and walk through the blood to back up his promises with his life.
What does Genesis 15:12 say about Abram?
“Horror and great darkness fell upon him.” This is a Hebrew expression that means he was scared to death or petrified in fear.
Why did he become so scared all of a sudden?
He realized that while God will be faithful in keeping His promises, he wasn't sure if he [Abram] or his kids could keep his to obey and remain faithful to God. Abram realized that by consummating this blood oath, he would be sentencing himself to a violent death, hence the fear.
What passed between the cut pieces first?
"A smoking oven" (Genesis 15:17)
What do fiery objects in the Old Testament represent?
Presence of God.
What are some other examples?
Burning bush: "Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God." (Exodus 3:1-6) and pillar of fire: "So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness. And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people." (Exodus 13:20-22)
So what does the smoking oven passing through the cut pieces accomplish?
It sealed God's end of the covenant.
Next goes Abram, right?
No, second fiery object, "a burning torch... passed between those pieces." (Genesis 15:17)
What is a burning torch?
It's a fiery object, hence God, that brings light to a dark environment.
What does John 1:4-5 say about the Word that became flesh?
"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
Who is being referred to in this verse, and as the “burning torch” in
It’s Jesus. As Abram stood in front of the pool of blood trembling in fear, Jesus told him in Genesis 15:13-16 that while his kids will indeed mess up, both they and Abram will end up okay, then nudged Abram out of the way, and passed through the blood in his place, in effect declaring, "When you and your kids mess up, I will pay for it with My life!" Jesus sentenced Himself to death for our sins 2000 years before the cross.
What did Jesus cry out on the cross just before dying?
“It is finished!” (John 19:30). His promise had been kept.
So did Abraham see Jesus and "was glad" as Jesus stated in John 8:56?
You bet. Jesus saved his life, as he did ours.