John 8:12-30

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 11, 2010


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

We are still in Jerusalem with Jesus during the Feast of Tabernacles.

This was a yearly feast that took place in the fall.  For a week the Jewish people would camp out under the stars in tents or “booths”, to remember those forty years in the wilderness when they lived in tents before God brought them into the Promised Land.

John has already given us several “wilderness images” tying Jesus to that time:

Jesus is the Bread – as there was manna in the wilderness (John 6)
Jesus brings living water – as water came from the Rock (John 7)

One of the rituals that occurred during the feast took place on the evening of the first night in the Court of the Women (where Jesus was in our passage), when a golden candlestick was lit in the Court of the Women at the temple.  This was a picture of the pillar of fire by night that led Israel in the wilderness.

At the end of the feast, the candlestick would be extinguished.

We are most likely on the eighth day of the feast, and early in the morning as Jesus entered into the Temple and began to teach, He was interrupted.

Play video of the Adulterous Woman.

:12-20 The Light of the World

:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

:12 I am – the Greek words here are “ego eimi”, the Greek equivalent of God’s name, “I AM” – this is the basic interpretation of God’s name “Yahweh

It would have been simpler and just as correct for Jesus to just have used “eimi”, which is translated “I am”, but He uses the fuller phrase “ego eimi”.

This is what God told Moses at the burning bush when Moses asked God His name:

(Ex 3:13–14 NKJV) 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?” 14 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.’ ”

This is the second of Jesus’ great “I am” statements.  The first was:

(Jn 6:35 NKJV) —35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
He will make five more statements like this in the Gospel of John.
“I am the door” (John 10:9), “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11), “I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25), “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and “I am the vine, ye are the branches” (John 15:5).
Jesus professed to be not only the inexhaustible source of spiritual nourishment, but he also was the genuine light by which truth and falsehood could be distinguished and by which direction could be established.

:12 the light

Not only would the light burning in this Court of the Women be something in the minds of the people, but it is still early in the morning, the sun is just coming up.

The subject of “light” was one often connected to God, the Messiah, as well as the Temple.

The Old Testament speaks of this, like:

(Is 9:2 NKJV) The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.

The Jewish Rabbis also taught this.

In a commentary (Midrash) on the book of Genesis, the rabbis said that the original light in which God wrapped Himself as a garment could not shine by day because it would have dimmed the light of the sun.  From this light the sun and the stars were kindled.  This same light was now being kept under the throne of God for the Messiah, in whose days it would once more shine.
Also from Edersheim:
In a commentary (Midrash) on the book of Nehemiah we are told: while commonly windows were made wide within and narrow without, it was the opposite in the Temple of Solomon, because the light issuing from the Sanctuary was to lighten that which was without.
In another commentary on the book of Lamentations (1:16), the Messiah is called the “Enlightener”, saying that ‘the light dwelleth with Him,’
When Jesus was dedicated as a baby in the Temple, an old prophet named Simeon said that this child was:
(Lk 2:32 NKJV) A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”


He is the Light

What does the Bible mean by "light"?
1.  Illumination
Light helps make things clearer.

(Ps 119:130 NKJV) The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.


When you're sitting in a dark room, it's hard to make things out.  You hear a noise but can’t figure out what’s happened until you turn on the light.

If you have one of those micro-sized metal splinters in your finger, it hurts, but you can't see it until you get your finger under a real strong light.

Imagine driving down a strange road at night, without any headlights! You need light.

2.  Purity
Light speaks of righteousness, the opposite of sin.

(Jn 3:19–21 NKJV) —19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”


Ever wonder why evil, scary horror movies are always shot at night?  What’s so scary and evil about the middle of the day?

When Jesus is saying that He is the “Light of the World”, He is not only saying that He is the Messiah, but also that He is the Light of purity and holiness, and that His light gives men a chance to have direction in their lives.

:12 followsakoloutheo – to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him; to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple

The Greek tense indicates continuous action, a continuous following moment by moment.

If you go walking at night in the woods, and your Friend has a candle, as long as you stay close to Him, you won't be in the dark.  If you stop following Him, you will find yourself in darkness.

We’re going to see that the Pharisees are having trouble understanding what Jesus is saying.

This is because they are not following Jesus and they are in darkness.

The woman who had been brought before Jesus had been walking in darkness, and for the first time the “lights” have come one.  Will she stay in the light?


Walking in the Light

If we are following Jesus, then two things are going to happen:
1.  A growing sense of direction (illumination)

It's like the change that took place in the life of Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf.  Helen Keller tells of the dramatic moment when Annie Sullivan first broke through her dark, silent world with the illumination of language:

“We walked down the path to the well house, attracted by the fragrance of the honeysuckle with which it was covered.  Someone was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout.  As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly.  I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers.  Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten—a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand.  That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!  There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away. “

When we follow Jesus, we may not have all the answers yet, but things start making sense little by little.
We begin to orient our lives around a new center.

Almost like changing the orientation of a compass, we have a new, better north pole to point us with.

God’s Word begins to put a light on our lives, and it begins to show us what’s on the path we’re walking on.

(Ps 119:105 NKJV) Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

2.  A growing sense of what’s right (purity)
Coming to Jesus involves coming into the light.

The things that you’ve done secretly begin to get exposed.

We call this “truth”.  The Greek word for “truth” (aletheia) means “not hidden”.  That’s a good definition of being in the light, not being hidden.

Paul wrote,

(Eph 4:15 NKJV) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

Growing up in Christ involves “truth”.  It means we stop hiding from our sins and learn to face them.

What are you going to do when your sin is exposed?

(1 Jn 1:5–9 NKJV)5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Walking in the light brings complete cleansing, as long as you respond to the light, confess your sin, and move away from your sin.


If I had dirt all over my face and stand in front of the bathroom mirror, if the light is off I may never see what needs to be washed.

When I turn the light on and see the dirt, I’m faced with a choice.

Will I leave my face dirty?  Or will I wash it?

One of the benefits of having a good light in the bathroom is that you won't be embarrassed when you go out in the sunshine.

The woman caught in adultery has now found herself standing in the light.  Will she respond to the light?  Will she follow the light?

:13 The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.”

:14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going.

Legally, what the Pharisees are saying is true.  It’s not enough to just testify about yourself.  Jesus Himself said the same earlier:

(Jn 5:31 NKJV) “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.

But here Jesus brings up a pretty solid objection.

Even though there’s truth to what the Pharisees are saying, just because a person bears witness of himself doesn’t mean that he’s telling a lie.

Jesus knows who He is, where He came from, and where He’s going.

:15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.

:15 fleshsarx – flesh; man’s physical nature; man’s sinful nature

(Jn 8:15 NLT) You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone.

The Pharisees are living examples of this flawed judgment – they had just brought the adulterous woman before Jesus, not trying to help this woman, but to trick Jesus.

In reality, we all have pretty flawed judgment.  We are limited by our own human understanding.  Can you tell what’s happening with this “cop” video? (Play “Fighting Over Donut” commercial)

We too can fall into the trap of sizing people up according to “human”, fleshly standards.

What do you do for a living?
Where do you live?
What kind of car do you drive?
Warning:  Questions like this are “Pharisee” questions.

:16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me.

:17 It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true.

You can’t charge a person of a crime with only the testimony of one person.  It takes the testimony of two people to establish a fact (Deut. 19:15)

(Dt 19:15 NKJV) “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.

(Dt 17:6 NKJV) —6 Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.

:18 I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”

Jesus’ second witness is the Father.

Back in John 5, Jesus gave a few more witnesses to who He was:

John the Baptist (Jn. 5:33)

The works that Jesus did (Jn. 5:36)

The Father (Jn. 5:37)

The Scriptures (Jn. 5:39)

:19 Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”

:19 Where is Your Father?

It’s possible that the Pharisees are just bewildered about what Jesus is talking about.

It could be that they are making a subtle slur against Jesus, that there was a question about who Jesus’ real, legitimate Father was.

After all, when Joseph and Mary got married, she was already pregnant and claiming that God had made her pregnant.

They will hint at this again later in the discussion:

(Jn 8:41 NKJV) You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”

Of course we know that Jesus is referring to God as His Father.

And Jesus is saying that they do not know God.  If they knew God, they would have realized who Jesus was.


Religion versus Relationship

The people talking to Jesus are religious people.
I would define a “religious” person as someone who does things like dressing up and going to church, singing in the choir, or having a Christian bumper sticker on your car, and uses strange words like “brother” or “sanctification”.

Sometimes we do these kinds of things because we think it’s right.  Sometimes we do these things to impress other people.  Sometimes we think we’re impressing God.

Play “How to Worship” Video.
God doesn’t care if you are “religious”.
God does care whether or not you know Him.
Jesus is concerned that these are very religious people standing before Him, yet they do not know God.  They do not have a personal relationship with the Father.
If they really knew God, they would recognize who was standing before them.

:20 These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.

:20 treasurygazophulakion – a repository of treasure, especially of public treasure, a treasury

This was located in the Court of the Women, one of the places that usually had the larger crowds of people.

Both men and women were allowed in this court, but not Gentiles.

According to the Mishnah, there were 13 trumpet-shaped receptacles, called Shopharoth.  Seven were for various required offerings and six for freewill offerings (m. Šeqal. 6.5).

Some have suggested that this is what Jesus was referring to when He said,
(Mt 6:2 NKJV) —2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
“Sounding a trumpet” may have been talking about dropping a lot of coins into the metal receptacle and letting people know how generous you were.

Some have pictured the “trumpets” as being narrow at the top and wide at the bottom (like an upside-down trumpet).  Some have pictured them as in the movie, others as trumpets coming out of a wall.

:20 His hour had not yet come

We’ve seen this phrase several times already (Jn. 2:4; 7:6, 30).  There was a divine schedule as to when Jesus would be arrested, tried, and put to death.  This was not that time.

:21-30 Unbelievers Warned

:21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”

Jesus is speaking to people who will not believe in Him.

They are going to die in their sin because they refuse to believe in the Savior.

Where is He going? He is going to heaven.

:22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

:23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

Jesus is not from this world.

:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

:24 I amego eimi

Jesus could be implying, “Unless you believe that I am the Messiah you will die in your sins”.

He could be implying, “Unless you believe that I am the “I AM” you will die in your sins”.

:24 die in your sins

If you do not believe in Jesus, then when you die, you will have your sins with you when you stand before God, and you will have to pay the price for your sins.

When God judges people, He does not use a balance to weigh your good deeds against your sins.

You will pay for your sins. Sin has a serious price tag.
(Ro 6:23 NKJV) For the wages of sin is death…
If you “die in your sins”, you will have to pay with a spiritual death, an eternal separation from God.  We call this hell.

But if you believe in Jesus, then your debt is already paid.

When you arrive before the judge, the ticket will be stamped “paid in full”, because it was paid in full by Jesus on the cross.

He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins.

If you will receive His payment for your sins, then you will pass through God’s judgment and enter into eternal life!

:25 Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning.

Jesus has made it pretty clear.  He has said from the beginning that He was the Messiah.

And they are still confused.

It’s similar to what Pilate asked Jesus.  When Pilate wanted to release Jesus, the Jewish leaders objected:

(Jn 19:7–9 NKJV) —7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” 8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

:26 I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”

:27 They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.

Sometimes I have to confess that every once in awhile I’m not sure what Jesus means by some of the things He says.

But these fellows are TOTALLY clueless.  Why?

They have no spiritual understanding.  They don’t have the spiritual equipment necessary to understand spiritual things.


Right now there are messages passing through the air, right in front of you.  It’s possible that some of these messages might even be about you.
Some of these messages might be coming through our church’s wireless phone system.
Some of these messages might be coming through the cell tower located in the big cross out front.
Some of these messages might be coming through the wi-fi we have broadcasting from the back of the sanctuary.
Yet if you don’t have the right wireless phone, cell phone, or wi-fi computer, you’ll never even know those messages are there.
Without the spiritual eyes that come from being born again, there are going to be some things in the Bible that you are going to be clueless about.


Spiritual understanding

Human knowledge can be understood by any other human being as long as his IQ is high enough.  Spiritual knowledge is different.
To understand spiritual things, you need spiritual eyes.  You need spiritual light.
The natural man does not understand the things of the spirit.  Paul wrote,
(1 Co 2:14 NKJV) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
You must be born again, born from above.

:28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

:28 Son of Man

Jesus is referring to Himself using one of Daniel’s titles for the Messiah (Dan. 7:13-14)

(Da 7:13–14 NKJV) —13 “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

:28 lift uphupsoo – to lift up on high, to exalt

Is He talking about exalting and praising Him?

Jesus used this word when talking to Nicodemus:

(Jn 3:14 NKJV) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

Jesus uses this word later:

(Jn 12:32–33 NKJV) 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

He is talking about His death, being crucified.

And yet the cross was also the way that led to Jesus being glorified.

:28 you will know

After the resurrection, when Peter preached his first sermon, three thousand came to believe in Jesus. (Acts 2:41)

(Ac 2:41 NKJV) —41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

After the death and resurrection, there will be a number of priests and Pharisees will come to believe in Jesus (Acts 6:7; 15:5)

(Ac 6:7 NKJV) —7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.
(Ac 15:5 NKJV) —5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”

:28 I am He – the Greek is “ego eimi

It could be that Jesus is saying that when He is crucified, they will realize that Jesus is the Messiah.

It could be that Jesus is saying that when He is crucified, they will realize that He is the I AM, that He is God. (that’s what Thomas said…)

:28 I do nothing of Myself

Over and over Jesus has stressed the fact that He is simply obeying God.

:29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”

Have you ever had one of those days when you did nothing but stupid things and you wish you could do it all over?

Jesus never had one of those days.  He always did what was right.  He always did what God wanted Him to do.

:30 As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.


Will you believe?