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The Gospel of John: Revealing the Invisible God 

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

Chapter 8


 

 

The adulterous woman

The light of the world

Jesus' attitude toward easy-believism

 

Summary Highlights of Chapter 8

 

 

This book is a verse-by-verse commentary.  To go to the commentary for any particular verse in Chapter 8, please click on a number below.

 

 

 

The adulterous woman

 

8:1     But Jesus went to the mount of Olives.

 

After the officers sent by the priests and Pharisees failed to take Jesus captive, he "went to the mount of Olives," on the east of Jerusalem. It is a north and south ridge, about 300 feet higher than the temple site, about a mile long, and divided into three or four summits (Smith, p. 224). According to the scriptures, this area was where Jesus often retreated for prayer and meditation (see Luke 22:39).

 

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8:2     And at dawn, he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him: and having sat down he was teaching them.

 

Dawn comes from orthrou, which means early in the morning. The surprising thing here is that Jesus came again into the temple. He had no fear of the authorities. Perhaps this was because he knew his father would protect him until his time had come. He certainly knew that his life was in the hands of his heavenly father. Whatever else may have entered his mind, Jesus put teaching the people foremost.

 

Another surprising thing here is that people were there at this early hour. Perhaps it was because of the hot climate, and people rose early in order to enjoy the cool of the early morning. Also surprisingly, all the people who were there came to Jesus.

 

Jesus "was teaching them." Was teaching comes from edidasken, which is an inceptive imperfect. The inceptive means that the teaching had just begun, and this should have been properly translated as, "he began to teach them."

 

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8:3     And the scribes and the Pharisees bring a woman to him having been taken in adultery, and having set her in [the] midst,

 

The scribes and the Pharisees again are equal to the priesthood, who were the lawyers of their day. The Pharisees were also the most powerful of all the sects of Israel. They "bring a woman to him having been taken in adultery." According to the law, adultery was a sin which required death by stoning; however, there is no record that the Jews ever enforced it. Supposedly, they had brought her to be punished, although their primary purpose was to trap Jesus.

 

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8:4     They say to him, Teacher, this woman was taken in the very act, committing adultery.

 

Note carefully that the scribes and Pharisees did not address the crowd, but only addressed Jesus. They were not seeking any real justice for the woman; they only sought to trap Jesus.

 

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8:5     Now in the law, Moses commanded such to be stoned: thou therefore what sayest thou?

 

They began by quoting Moses, apparently believing that even Jesus would not go against the law of Moses. They were referring to the law as noted in Leviticus 20:10. Then they smugly asked, "What sayest thou?" Or, what do you have to say about that? They must have thought they had him trapped now.

 

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8:6     But this they said tempting him that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus having stooped down, with [his] finger wrote on the ground.

 

Tempting comes from peirazontes, which could also be translated as testing. Jesus did not answer them with any words. He just stooped down, and with his finger, he wrote on the ground. What he wrote was not recorded.

 

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8:7     But as they continued asking him, having lifted up himself, he said to them, The sinless one among you, let him cast the first stone at her.

 

The scribes and the Pharisees believed Jesus could not answer their question, and they kept badgering him. Finally, Jesus stood up, and gave them an answer. "The sinless one among you, let him cast the first stone at her."  In other words, if any of you has never sinned, that one may cast the first stone. Jesus put the onus on his would-be accusers, and appealed to their consciences.

 

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8:8     And again having stooped down, he wrote on the ground.

 

This was the second time that Jesus stooped down to write on the ground.

 

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8:9     But they having heard, and being convicted by the conscience, went out one by one, beginning from the elder ones until the last; and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in [the] midst .

 

For once, the Pharisees heard. They were not able to assimilate any of his spiritual teachings, but at least they did hear him when he discussed their sinfulness.

 

These words caused them to be "convicted by the conscience." Convicted comes from elegxomenoi, which means,

"1. A proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested. 2. conviction, for convicting one of his sinfulness, 2 Tim.iii:16" (Thayer, p. 202).

 

Conscience comes from suneideeseoos, which means dual knowledge, or joint knowledge.  In this case, Jesus knew they had sinned, and they also knew.

 

Being under conviction, they "went out one by one, beginning from the elder ones until the last." The elder ones left first because they were the leaders of the group. When they began to leave, the younger ones followed their example.

 

When everyone had left, "Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in [the] midst."  In the midst sounds as though there were others present, but it only indicates that she was still standing where she was before. She and Jesus were the only ones there, as the next verse points out.

 

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8:10     And Jesus, having lifted up himself, and seeing no one but the woman, said to her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Did no one condemn thee?

 

The words, "Jesus, having lifted up himself," indicates that he must have remained squatting as he was when he began to write. Perhaps he stood, asked his question, and then paused before looking around. In that case, verse 8:10 would be a continuation of verse 8:8.

 

When they were all gone, Jesus looked around, and saw "no one but the woman."  All the accusers were gone, so Jesus asked the woman, "Where are thine accusers? Did no one condemn thee?" This adulterous woman must have felt greatly relieved.

 

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8:11     And she said, No one, Sir. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

 

Sir is a word which should be noted here. It is the same word which was often translated as lord, or master. It is a word of respect. Often, when a person was addressed as kyrios, sir, or master, the speaker also bowed to show respect.

 

Jesus answered the woman, and said to her, "Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more."  The word condemn comes from katakrinoo, a compound word of the preposition kata and the verb krinoo. Kata is prefixed in order to show emphasis, and krinoo is the word for judge. When written as a compound word, it emphasizes a sort of judgment. Literally, it means a judgment of guilt.

 

Kata does not refer to any sentence being pronounced, although some interpret it as such. Fundamental preachers often erroneously interpret the word condemn, or condemnation, as meaning sentenced to hell. It only means a judgment of guilt. No one present found the adulterous woman guilty of sin.

 

John included this short conversation between Jesus, the Pharisees, and the adulterous woman to demonstrate a truth about the ministry of Jesus. First, Jesus did not judge the Pharisees, but aroused their consciences. Second, he did not judge the adulterous woman. Why? John gave the answer to this in John 3:17.

"For The God sent not his son into the world that he might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him."

 

One purpose for Jesus coming into the world was to save the world, not judge it.

 

This conversation also demonstrates the truth that no one is capable of judging another. We may acknowledge some act as opposite to the scriptures, and therefore a sin, but we can not go further and say the person committing the act is a sinner. This is the province of The God, and his son, Jesus, when he comes again.

 

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The light of the world

 

8:12     Therefore Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world; he that follows me in no wise shall walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of the life.

 

The word "therefore" refers back to remarks which Jesus previously made to the crowd in the temple. In his previous dialogue with the Pharisees about how to treat the adulterous woman, Jesus had demonstrated an attribute of his heavenly father. He showed that the purpose for which he had been sent was not to judge others, but to reflect the grace of The God. Grace and truth came by Jesus, the Christ. He demonstrated these two attributes of The God to the world.

 

In this verse, Jesus began to teach further about his purpose for being on earth. In one of his previous discussions, he had shown the relationship between the manna of the Old Testament and himself as the bread of the life. He was not the bread from heaven which fed people physically, but the bread from heaven which fed people spiritually. He was the bread of the life, zoe, spiritual life.

 

Now, "Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world."  The word light comes from phoos, one of seven different Greek nouns for light. It is the word used to indicate the light generated by a fire. It is not the fire, but the resulting light from the fire. Thus it is with Jesus. He is the light generated (so to speak) by his heavenly father. The light he reflects are qualities of The God. He was bringing the light, or knowledge, of this still unknown, invisible god to those around him.

 

Remember, the people Jesus spoke to knew nothing of The God dwelling in the heavenly holy of holies. The way had not yet been opened by his crucifixion. But also keep in mind that John was writing from a later understanding of what Jesus really meant when he spoke to this crowd in the temple.

 

By the time John wrote, holy spirit had brought to remembrance many things which neither John nor the other apostles understood at the time Jesus spoke them. Mark 9:32 says,

"They understood not."

 

"I am the light of the world; he that follows me in no wise shall walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of the life." Just as Jesus once spoke of himself as being the bread of the life, he now spoke of himself as "the light of the world."

 

World comes from kosmou which means the whole of the civilized world. As the bread of life, he told people they were to feed on him, or grow spiritually. As the light, he told the people that he was the one who provides the proper knowledge of The God.

 

People no longer needed to walk in darkness, or ignorance, but in the light, or knowledge, which will lead them into eternal life. He gave them the recipe for how to avoid this walk in darkness. It was simply to follow him. Jesus is the one who will light the way for those who will follow in his footsteps.

 

Psalms 119:105 says,

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

 

Jesus is that logos, or word. He is the light of the world. If people will not follow what he divulges to them of his heavenly father, they will walk in darkness. They will be ignorant of the reality about The God. But, if they follow, they will not be ignorant, or walk in the darkness.

 

If they do follow, what will be the results? "They shall have the light of the life." Both light and life have the definite article. This sets each of them as being the only light, and the only life. There is only one light which gives the light of the life. That life is a gift from The God.

 

Those who walk in the light will have the knowledge, or light, which will lead them into the life, or eternal life, or the life in the next age, that of the kingdom of The God. All of this is of grace, not of works. Jesus told them they were to follow. He set the example. He left the trail. And, he also gives the light to lighten their path.

 

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8:13     The Pharisees therefore said to him, Thou bearest witness concerning thyself; thy witness is not true.

 

According to Jewish law, anyone who bears witness of something is not considered to be truthful until there is substantiating testimony from someone else. The Pharisees would not accept his word as truth because he was the only one they knew who testified to this fact.

 

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8:14     Jesus answered and said to them, Even if I bear witness concerning myself, my witness is true, because I know whence I came and whither I go; but ye know not whence I come and whither I go.

 

Jesus continued to assert his "witness concerning myself is true." The Pharisees often raised this same question about the nature of his testimony. To be fair, if we were to put ourselves in their place, we might also question him in the same manner. The one whom he used as a witness for himself was the invisible god of whom these people knew nothing. They looked to Jehovah, as their god. They would not accept that their god, Jehovah, stood before them as the man, Jesus.

 

Jesus further confounded the crowd by saying, "I know whence I came and whither I go; but ye know not whence I come and whither I go." Came is an aorist, indicative, active, which indicates that it is something which is in the past. Jesus had come, and he knew from where he started. Jesus also knew "whither I go." He knew that he would return to the Father who sent him. These words show his faith that he would succeed in doing what the Father had assigned to him. He would finish the course, even though it led to his crucifixion.

 

Concerning the Pharisees and the crowd, Jesus said, "ye know not whence I come and whither I go."  How could they? Their religion had strayed so far from the truth of the scriptures that they did not even recognize it. This verse represents the beginning of an indictment of how far they had strayed from the intentions of the invisible god.

 

In the next several verses, Jesus tried to explain to them why they knew very little about the scriptures, and what those scriptures revealed about his father in heaven.

 

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8:15     Ye judge according to the flesh, I judge no one.

 

Jesus began his indictment by stating, "Ye judge according to the flesh." When they were judging Jesus, they saw only another man, not one who had been sent from the Father.

 

The word flesh comes from sarx. The meaning of this word includes the intentions of the natural man as opposed to the spiritual man. It also includes the meaning that every intent of the fleshly nature is opposed to The God. Jesus said they were acting according to the flesh. Their actions were not those of spiritual men, or those acting under the auspices of holy spirit.

 

This accusation still rings true today in most organized religions of the world. Those religions usually do not develop spiritually mature adults. Without knowledge of the word, people cannot mature spiritually (see II Peter 3:16 and Hebrews 5:13).

 

Jesus said, "I judge no one." No comes from ou, the absolute no. He absolutely judges no one. Earlier, Jesus said that he came not to judge the world, but to save it. Lest someone not understand, this may be a good place to state that there will be a time when Jesus will judge the works of every person. But, while he was here in the flesh, he had a completely different purpose.

 

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8:16     And if I also judge, my judgment is true, because I am not alone, but I, and the father who sent me.

 

If comes from ean. This is a conditional sentence, beginning with ean and followed by an indicative clause. In other words, Jesus was telling them that his purpose was not judgment, but if it were, which it is not, it would be true.

 

"Because I am not alone" is the reason that, if he did judge, it would be a true judgment. Jesus knew the presence of the Father through holy spirit, which dwelt upon him without measure. Since this presence was not visible in a carnal sense, those to whom he spoke had no idea what he was saying to them.

 

Then he said, "I and the father who sent me."  There were now two witnesses to what Jesus had been telling them: himself and his heavenly father.

 

The Pharisees considered themselves to be the spiritual leaders of Israel. Jesus said they were carnal in their judgments. Such comments would be a severe blow to their pride, to their sense of being spiritually superior to common men. These Pharisees questioned Jesus, a mere carpenter from Nazareth, because they "knew" they were superior to him in their knowledge of the scriptures. However, when Jesus confounded them with his answers, they retreated in anger.

 

Not much has changed.  Few pastors will sit and discuss the scriptures one-on-one with a "layman."  Some refuse because they are afraid they might be asked questions they could not answer; some refuse because they feel spiritually superior. My discussions with pastors concerning the scriptures have been very few, especially when considering the number of pastors I have tried to talk with. In fact, I do not recall any who would participate in a serious discussion of the scriptures with me for more than a few minutes.

 

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8:17     And in your law it has been written, that the witness of two men is true.

 

Jesus quoted the Levitical law about what constitutes a correct witness in a court of law. The witness of two men who agree constituted testimony which was accepted as the truth of the matter at hand (see Deuteronomy 19:15).

 

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8:18     I am [one] who bears witness concerning myself, and the father who sent me bears witness concerning me.

 

Verse 8:18 is nearly synonymous with verse 8:16, and no further comment is needed.

 

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8:19     Therefore they said unto him, Where is thy father? Jesus answered, Neither me ye know nor my father. If ye had known me, ye would have known my father also.

 

"Where is thy father?" This was the fundamental question the people were asking. They had no conception of anyone beyond their god, Jehovah. The invisible god of heaven, the father of whom Jesus spoke, was unknown to them. Jesus had often spoken of his father in the heavens, but they seemed unable to assimilate his words with their religion.

 

Religion is one of the most blinding elements to spiritual growth. The parameters of any religion are so narrow, and the condemnation for straying beyond them so severe, that few people are willing to pay the price to go beyond them and grow into spiritually mature adults.

 

Jesus spoke quite clearly when he told them, "neither me ye know, nor my father." The word know comes from oidate, a form of eidoo, which means

"to know, i.e., get knowledge of, understand, perceive" (Thayer, p. 174).

 

The Pharisees had not the least notion about who Jesus really was. And, neither did they have any real knowledge of his father.

 

"If ye had known me, ye would have known my father also." This is a contrary-to-fact conditional sentence. Jesus was saying that if they had any understanding of who he really was, then they would have known, or had some understanding of the father.

 

The main purpose why Jesus came was to reveal the invisible god and his attributes to the world. It must have been discouraging to Jesus to realize that no matter how much he taught, so few seemed to understand.

 

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8:20     These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, teaching in the temple; and no one took him, for his hour had not yet come.

 

It is still a matter of conjecture today about why John felt it was necessary to state the location where Jesus spoke. It was "in the treasury, in the temple." The treasury was located within the temple. But, was Jesus actually within the treasury?

 

Few people were ever allowed inside the treasury because of the great wealth stored there. Therefore, the en, translated as in, probably should have been translated as "in [the vicinity of]."  This latter translation can be substantiated by Mark 12:41 which says,

"And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury."

 

Although Jesus was openly showing himself, "no one took him for [because] his hour had not yet come." See the earlier comments on verse 7:30 for review.

 

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8:21     Therefore Jesus said to them, I go away, and ye will seek me, and ye will die in your sin; where I go ye are unable to come.

 

Therefore refers back to verse 8:19, where Jesus accosted them with their unbelief. Now, in predicting his ascension to the Father, he said, "I go away," an event which will occur after his crucifixion. Then, he said, "ye will seek me."

 

Seek comes from zeeteesete, which means that sometime in the future they will try to find him. This seeking will be in a spiritual sense, as shown by the next comment: "and ye will die in your sin."

 

Note carefully that sin is singular, not plural. What is their sin? It is unbelief that Jesus is the messiah, or lord, or coming king. When they die, they will still be in unbelief. They rejected Jesus as to whom he presented himself to be. Their rejection of that truth was so intense that they will never be able to change their minds about him. They will continue in their rejection until they die.

 

When Jesus died on the cross, he died for the sin of the world. His death covered their unbelief. Why, then, did Jesus tell them they would die in their sin? Unbelief erodes the inheritance purchased for everyone by the death of Jesus. When anyone continues to abide in unbelief, that person is wasting their inheritance. They will not enter the next age, the kingdom of The God, in a place of blessing, to share in the glories of Jesus as the christ, or king. Therefore, Jesus told them, "where I go, ye cannot come."

 

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8:22     Therefore the Jews said, Will he kill himself, that he says, Where I go ye are unable to come?

 

This is a perfect example of a bunch of carnal religionists trying to understand spiritual truths. The carnal mind is completely unable to grasp such concepts. After all that Jesus had said previously, they still tried to interpret his words in a fleshly manner.

 

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8:23     And he said to them, ye are from beneath. I am from above. Ye are of this world. I am not of this world.

 

Jesus' concern for his enemies, the Pharisees, is inescapable. He continued to try explaining who he was, and why his father had sent him. The phrase "ye are from beneath" indicates that their origin was from the earth. Because of this, they must change their manner of thinking. They continued to think as carnal beings. Although they looked upon themselves as spiritual guides of Israel, they simply could not discern his spiritual concepts.

 

Jesus again tried to explain to them that he came "from above." This was simply restating what he had told them several times before: He was sent by the heavenly father.  To make it blatantly clear, Jesus said, "Ye are of this world. I am not of this world." What could have been clearer?

 

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8:24     Therefore I said to you, you will die in your sins; for if ye believe not that I am [he], ye will die in your sins.

 

Jesus continued to clarify his statements for those who questioned him. Therefore points back to verse 8:21, where Jesus told them they would die in their sin (singular). Here, however, Jesus said sins (plural). Why the difference? Earlier, he was speaking of their unbelief, which is the basis of all sins. Now, he spoke of the results, or sins, of that unbelief.

 

Jesus said they would die in their sins because they "believe not that I am [he]."  The word [he] is not included in the Greek manuscript, and some contend that it should not be added. They maintain that when Jesus said "that I am" he was referring to himself as the I am, or Jehovah of the Old Testament. Either way, it is clear that Jesus was telling them to believe that he was the messiah, or the christ, or the king of Israel.

 

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8:25     They said therefore to him, Who art thou? And Jesus said to them, Altogether that which I say to you.

 

In answering their question, Jesus did not reiterate what he had already told them. He simply said he was all that he had previously told them. Maybe Jesus was running out of patience with these people.

 

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8:26     I have many things concerning you to say and judge; but he that sent me is true, and I, what I heard from him, these thing I say to the world.

 

Jesus said "I have many things concerning you to say and judge." Previously, he had said he did not come to judge the world. How can his statement here be reconciled to his previous statement?

 

The word judge is a present tense infinitive. The present tense signifies an ongoing activity. Therefore, Jesus was not speaking about a future judgment of these people themselves, but of judging their present actions toward himself. This was not equivalent to the judgment which will take place when he comes again. That will be an official judgment. Now, however, Jesus was only making an assessment of their present actions toward himself.

 

Jesus reaffirmed his earlier statement that "he that sent me is true," referring to his heavenly father, the invisible god. He also reaffirmed that what he heard from the Father, he said to the world. Heard is an aorist indicative, which is similar to the English past tense. Jesus was referring to his existence as Jehovah. When he was with the heavenly father, he heard many things from the Father. The holy spirit, which was upon him now, gave him the ability to recall those things he had heard.

 

"Those things I say to the world." Jesus continually stated his subordination to his heavenly father in all things. He spoke not of himself, but only as the Father instructed him. Therefore, he was acting as an emissary of the invisible god, and told the world only what he had been instructed to say.

 

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8:27     They knew not that he spoke to them of the father.

 

"They knew not" means they had absolutely no understanding. The not is the Greek ouk, the absolute no. After all that Jesus had taught, and all the many repetitions, "they knew not that he spoke to them of the father."

 

Before we become too critical of these people, we must remember that the way into the heavenly holy of holies had not yet been opened. Jesus had not yet been crucified; therefore, the heavenly veil which hid the invisible god from the knowledge of men had not been rent. They did not have the blessing of "hind sight," which is available to people today.

 

In spite of that, Jesus apparently expected them to believe him when he told them who he was. Still, they had to get beyond the fact that they knew him as the son of Joseph, the carpenter. How many today would react in a similar manner?

 

Mark 9:31-32 records what Jesus said to his close disciples about his coming crucifixion. How did they react? Mark 9:32 says,

"They understood not that saying."

 

Yet, these were the disciples of the inner circle, the men who had walked and talked with Jesus daily. They heard what Jesus said to the crowds, as well as what he said only to themselves. However, they did not understand much of what he told them. It was only later, after the coming of holy spirit upon them, that they would recall what he had said, and then they would understand.

 

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8:28     Therefore Jesus said unto them, When ye shall have lifted up the son of the man, then ye shall know that I am [he], and from myself I do nothing but as my father taught me, these things I speak.

 

Jesus spoke in a prophetic sense, as the Greek grammar shows by his use of "shall have lifted up."  The Greek word he used was uphooseete, an aorist subjunctive. The subjunctive was used when something had not yet occurred. When it was used in conjunction with the aorist tense, then it was equivalent to the future indicative, which gives it the sense of certainty. Those people would understand this as something which Jesus expected to come to pass.

 

"Lifted up" speaks not only of his crucifixion, but also of his exaltation. Jesus would be exalted to the right hand of the Father as a result of his crucifixion. It would be difficult to separate these two different results as they are from the same event. Without his crucifixion, Jesus would not have ascended to the Father.

 

After they had crucified Jesus, "then ye shall know that I am [he], and from myself I do nothing but as my father taught me, these things I speak."  There are three truths here. First, "they shall know that I am [he]." Concerning this statement, see our comments made on verse 8:24.

 

Second, "from myself I do nothing but as my father taught me." Jesus, as the Old Testament Jehovah, learned from the Father. Jesus could now recall that knowledge, and that is what he taught. Through prayer, Jesus not only received instruction from the Father, but also the determination to continue.

 

The third truth is that, "these things I speak." Jesus said only those things which he had learned as Jehovah, when, so to speak, he sat at the very feet of the invisible god. Nothing he said came from himself. This was a claim of absolute obedience to the will of his heavenly father. It is little wonder those who heard these claims may have taken them with "a grain of salt."

 

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8:29     And he who sent me, is with me; the father left me not alone, because I do always the things pleasing to him.

 

Jesus again repeated that he was sent. He did not come on his own accord, nor on his own authority. He constantly indicated his subordination to his heavenly father. Not only was he sent, but the one who sent him, "is with me." Is with me is written as present tense, which signifies constant action. By using this language, Jesus asserted that his heavenly father was a constant presence in his life.

 

The reason for the constant presence of the heavenly father was because, "the father left me not alone, because I do always the things pleasing to him."  Does this mean that we, too, can experience the presence of our heavenly father by doing the things pleasing to him? The answer to this question is somewhat convoluted.

 

First, we must be careful not to fall into the trap of believing we can do works in order to please The God. Second, we must understand that only those things done by The God through us are pleasing to the heavenly father. Jesus has made this clear several times when he has said, "I do nothing of myself." Submission to the heavenly father is the important part of this equation. As we submit ourselves to him, then The God, through holy spirit, will bring forth in our lives those things which are pleasing to him.

 

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Jesus' attitude toward easy-believism

 

8:30     As he spoke these things, many believed on him.

 

Jesus finally seemed to be getting through to some of this crowd in the temple area. The word on comes from eis, usually meaning into. People believe into Jesus, or have a belief in the things which the scriptures tell about Jesus.

 

This can be considered as a constant growth in the knowledge of The God, and of his son, Jesus, the Christ. Or, as is so often true in evangelical circles, it may be considered as a one time event, followed by very little growth after the original action of faith. Which was true of those whom this verse said believed on him?

 

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8:31     Therefore Jesus said to the Jews who had believed on him, If ye abide in my word, truly ye are my disciples.

 

Having a first faith that Jesus is the christ is not the end of the process. It was true then, and is still true today. Jesus explained this to those who had just believed on him. A one time act of faith is not sufficient to make disciples. Disciples, Jesus said, are those who "abide in my word."

 

Abide comes from meineete, an aorist subjunctive. The aorist subjunctive speaks of something which must be true in the future. Hence, Jesus was telling these Jews who supposedly had believed, that they must abide, or remain, in my word in the future times of their lives. It takes more than a simple profession of faith to make a disciple.

 

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8:32     And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

 

What truth was this? Jesus was referring to all that he represents as the word of The God. This includes the fact that he was the Old Testament word, Jehovah, the god of Israel. He was also speaking of all that he accomplished for mankind while revealing the love of the invisible god to them.

 

John, the Baptist, said,

"Behold the lamb of The God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

 

Takes away comes from airoon, which means to take away in such a manner that sin will neither be imputed nor punished. The judgment of sin for the whole of the world was over and done with at the crucifixion of Jesus. Remember, John, the Baptist, taught from his own bible, which was the Old Testament. Perhaps he had in mind Psalms 98:2, which says,

"The lord has made known his salvation,"

 

or maybe Psalms 3:8, which says,

"Salvation belongs to him."

 

Any good concordance will reveal many other Old Testament scriptures which ascribe salvation completely to The God. Salvation is a gift from The God to all men, through the activity of his son, Jesus, the Christ.

 

A few New Testament scriptures on the subject of salvation may be helpful in understanding that salvation is totally of grace. Nothing men may do will cause salvation to come about. Neither "accepting Jesus as their personal savior," nor baptism, nor keeping the sacraments, nor acquiring the "second blessing" will do us any good at all. All the various requirements that organized religion stipulates as necessary to get The God to bestow salvation are simply wrong.

 

Ephesians 2:16 says,

"[The God in Christ Jesus] might reconcile both [Jews and Gentiles] in one body to The God through the cross, having slain the enmity by it."

 

The words in brackets were inserted to clarify the context of this verse. Thus we see that we were reconciled to The God through the crucifixion of Jesus.

 

We also have forgiveness of sins as explained in Colossians 1:14.

"In whom we have redemption through his blood,[or death], even the forgiveness of sins."

 

According to Romans 5:18, we are also justified [made righteous].

"So then as by one offence, [it was] towards all men to condemnation, so also by one accomplished righteousness toward all men to justification of life."

 

Titus 3:4-7 says,

"But when the kindness and the love to man of our savior god appeared, not by works which were in righteousness which we practised, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of [the] holy spirit, which he poured out on us richly through Jesus christ our saviour; that having been justified by his grace, we should become heirs according the hope of life eternal."

 

The only thing men can do is to react to the salvation The God has already wrought, and bestowed, upon all men by his grace. [For further comments on this subject see our book, The Truth Revealed In Romans, especially the comments on Romans 3:21-28.]

 

Continuing with verse 8:32, Jesus said, "and the truth shall set you free." The truth that salvation is of The God, through his son, and is bestowed upon all through his grace, is the truth that shall set you free. But, free from what? For one thing, free from the burden of the law. And, free from striving to do works in order to be pleasing to The God.

 

Salvation is a gift, and it cannot be earned by anything men may do. Thus, all are set free to serve The God in love, not fear. This allows us to live as humans, yet be at peace with The God.

 

It is very difficult to be free if you believe you have received salvation from The God because you did something, such as believe, or be baptized, or "accept Jesus as your personal savior," or whatever the organized church says you have to do to gain salvation. Such teaching will never lead to the freedom which Jesus was speaking about here.

 

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8:33     They answered him, we are Abraham's seed, and to no one have never been under bondage; how sayest thou, ye shall become free?

 

They assumed he was speaking to them of being in bondage to some other peoples. "We are Abraham's seed."  John, the Baptist, faced the same situation when he was extolling the need for people to change their mind about the coming kingdom of The God which would be expressed in the person of Jesus.

 

Matthew 3:9 says,

"And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham [for] father; for I say to you, that The God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham."

 

The Jews depended a great deal upon their lineage for salvation. They expected to be blessed because they were descended from Abraham. Jesus had a new interpretation, and things were not the same.

 

Paul clarified this same point in his letter to the Galatians.

"There is not Jew nor Greek; there is not bondman nor free; there is not male and female; for all ye are one in christ Jesus; but if ye [are] christ's, then ye are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to promise" (Galatians 3:28-29).

 

Paul stated quite clearly that The God makes no distinction in gender, or position, or ancestors. Any differences were done away with by the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus to the right hand of the Father.

 

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8:34     Jesus answered them, Verily verily I say to you, that everyone that practices the sin is a bondman of the sin.

 

Jesus clarified the bondage from which the truth would set them free. It was not only freedom from sin, but the sin. The definite article, and the use of the singular sin, has special significance here. The sin, hamartias, means "missing the mark."  The mark being missed is a way of life which wastes the authority to enter into the next age in a place of blessing. The focus here is not on individual sins, but the result of a way of life.

 

The KJV mistranslated "practices the sin" and made it "committeth a sin." The result is that many preachers claim that the commission of one sin causes a person to be a bondman of sin. The translation from Berry, however, is a much more correct one.

 

The word practices comes from poioon, a present participle. The present tense gives this the sense of something which is continuous in nature. It is not a one time sin, as the KJV version is often construed to mean. The sin these people were practicing was a common one, committed yet today by those who are trapped in easy-believeism. They had given a mental assent to what Jesus said, but there was no real commitment of themselves, as we shall see.

 

Jesus told them they were "a bondman of the sin." Bondman comes from doulos, the word which Paul used to describe himself as a "love slave of Jesus" (Romans 1:1). Jesus told these Jews they were a slave of "the sin," which would keep them from entering the next age in a place of blessing.

 

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8:35     Now the bondman abides not in the house for ever; the son abides for ever.

 

Jesus was referring to Genesis 21:10, where Sarah told Abraham,

"Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir, even with Isaac."

 

Jesus was telling them they were carnal, and their actions made them spiritual descendants of Ishmael, Hagar's son.

 

Paul clarified this further in Galatians 4:29-30.

"But as then, he who according to flesh was born persecuted him [born] according to spirit, so also now. But what says the scriptures? Cast out the maid-servant and her son, for in no wise may the son of the maid-servant inherit with the son of the free [woman]."

 

Paul, of course, used this incident in the life of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, and her son, Ishmael, as an allegory.

 

Jesus told the Jews that since they were children of the flesh, they were servants, and not sons. Therefore, he would abide, but they would not. They would be cast out.

 

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8:36     If therefore the son shall set you free, ye shall be really free.

 

If comes from ean, which means that it is only a possibility that Jesus shall set them free. They were doulos of hamartias (the sin), and therefore they loved what they were doing. Although Jesus will pay the penalty of their sins, they will not be really free unless they quit the practice of the sin.

 

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8:37     I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word has no entrance in you.

 

Jesus was admitting that the Jews who were so devious in their thoughts and actions, were actually descendants of Abraham. He had no argument with their statement. The word seed comes from sperma, the word from which we derive the English word sperm.

 

Then Jesus accused these Jews, who had supposedly believed on him, of trying to kill him. "Ye seek to kill me, because my word has no entrance in you." No comes from the absolute ou. Entrance comes from xoorei, which means there was absolutely no room in them for his word. This statement implies that Jesus did not accept their protestations of believing on him, that it was nothing more than an outward proclamation with no substance.

 

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8:38     I speak what I have seen with my father; and ye therefore do what ye have seen with your father.

 

Jesus again stated that he "speaks what I have seen with my father." With such statements, Jesus was referring to his previous existence as Jehovah, the word of that invisible god. Has seen is written in the perfect tense, which shows that it was something which had come to a conclusion in the past, and the effects of it continue.

 

Although Jesus was here as a man, under the guidance of the holy spirit, he was able to recall what he had previously seen, and that was what he spoke about. The Jews also, "do what ye have seen with your fathers." Just as their fathers killed the prophets, they also seek to kill Jesus.

 

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8:39     They answered and said to him, Our father is Abraham. Jesus says to them, If ye were children of Abraham, the works of Abraham ye would do.

 

The Jews had a great dependency upon their position as children of Abraham, or of his seed. However, Jesus said, "If ye were children of Abraham, the works of Abraham ye would do." Children comes from tekna, meaning pupil. Thayer (p. 617) points out that,

"In the N. T. pupils are called children of their teachers"

 

This is a first class conditional sentence, which assumes something to be true, but contrary to the facts. Jesus said "if" what they said was true, then they would do the works of Abraham. However, they are not doing the works of Abraham; therefore, their very argument that they were children was turned against them.

 

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8:40     But now ye seek to kill me, a man who has spoken the truth to you, which I heard from The God; this Abraham did not.

 

Notice that Jesus referred to himself as a man. He did not say he was a god-man, some kind of a mix between a man and The God, as religionists so often portray him. He simply stated that he was a man. If he were The God, could any man kill him? Does The God ever die? Did The God die on the cross, or was it Jesus, a man, just as he said he was? If Jesus were the same as The God, why did he seek to evade the Jews, and the death on the cross, until his hour had come? Even crucifixion would not kill The God. If The God died, the whole of creation would collapse.

 

Jesus also qualified himself as one "who has spoken the truth to you which I heard from The God." Jesus iterated this very point, over and over. The truth he speaks is from The God, and not of himself. Abraham did not seek to kill him.

 

Jesus was referring to Genesis 18:1-8 which says this about Abraham:

"And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mam're: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat."

 

Several items should be noted in these verses from Genesis. First, the word, LORD, with all capitals in the KJV, signified the word, Jehovah. When only the first letter (Lord) was capitalized, it signified someone who was considered greater than the one who was addressing him, such as a master, teacher, or rabbi. Both words are used above. But, note carefully, it was Jehovah who appeared as one of three men.

 

Second, Jesus told the Jews they were trying to kill him, a man, who had told them the truth. Jehovah told Abraham the truth about Sodom and Gomorrah, and that he and Sarah would have a child in their old age. Yet Abraham did not seek to kill Jehovah even though he appeared to him as a man. When Jehovah appeared to Abraham as a man, it presaged his coming as Jesus, a man, who would tell the Jews the truth.

 

Third, the fact that he ate a meal that Abraham provided for the three men shows that Jehovah really was a man. The other two men proved to be the angels which visited Lot in Sodom. Religionists would have us believe that angels were a different species than men, created by The God before he created mankind. But, the scriptures say that angels are men with heavenly bodies.  [For more on this point, see our article, A Study of Angels.]

 

Jesus used this event to tell the Jews that it was he whom Abraham fed while he was Jehovah, the word of The God. This event of the Old Testament was an actual occurrence, but Jesus used it as a parable to illustrate a truth to the Jews.

 

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8:41     Ye do the works of your father. They said therefore to him, We have not been born of fornication; we have one father, The God.

 

In verse 8:39, Jesus told the Jews that they were not children of Abraham. He again repeated to them that "ye do the works of your father," which was not Abraham. They took offence at this, saying, "we have not been born of fornication." They used ouk, the absolute not.

 

If they were not the seed of Abraham, but had some other ancestor, then they would not be real descendants of Abraham. So, to offset the remark which Jesus had made, they now claimed that "we have one father, The God." By saying this, they were proclaiming their obedience to Jehovah, who was the only god they knew.

 

The way into the presence of the invisible god of heaven was not yet open, and when Jesus tried to explain about his father to them, they did not understand the importance of what he was saying.  When Jesus spoke of the Father, they thought he meant Jehovah.

 

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8:42     Therefore Jesus said to them, If The God were father of you, ye would have loved me, for I came forth from The God, and am come; neither have I come of myself, but he sent me.

 

Again Jesus used a contrary-to-fact conditional sentence which, for sake of argument, was stated as a truth. "If you were what you say you are, then you would have loved me." Since they did not love Jesus, this nullifies the fact stated as truth.

 

Jesus said they should love him because "I came forth from The God, and am come." Came forth comes from ekeelthon, written in the indicative aorist active. This shows that Jesus was active in the coming. The indicative told the Jews it was a truth. The aorist, with the indicative, comes as close to the English past tense as possible.

 

Came forth stated the past tense, while am come is a present indicative, which stated that he was present, after having come forth from The God. If they were followers of the Old Testament word, as they should have been, they would have known Jesus was speaking truth to them.

 

"Neither have I come of myself, but he sent me." Jesus said this so often, but he still repeated it as it seemed that no one would accept his statement as truth. Jesus was not speaking of Jehovah, whom they considered to be their god. Instead, he spoke of the invisible god of heaven.

 

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8:43     Why do ye not know my speech? Because ye are unable to hear my word.

 

Speech comes from lalian, and word comes from logou. Both words are derived from the Greek logos.  Lalian was used by Jesus to

"Denote the form of expression, the outward shape of the discourse. Logos signifies the content (Morris)" (Rienecker, p. 239).

 

These Jews were, absolutely, ouk, unable to know that he spoke from The God. Neither could they understand the content, logou, of that speech.

 

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8:44     Ye are of [the] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye desire to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has not stood in the truth, because there is not truth in him. Whenever ye may speak falsehood, from his own he speaks; for he is a liar, and the father of it.

 

"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye desire to do."  Jesus told the Jews they were not children of Abraham, but were children of the devil. Devil, understood by most English speakers as a noun, is actually an adjective used as a pronominal. It is a compound word composed of dia and bolou. Dia basically means two, and is divisive. Thus the word devil means to thrust, bolou, through, dia.

 

When Peter told Jesus, "Not so," after Jesus had told him he would be crucified, Jesus called him satan, or a devil. Why? Because his remark sought to separate Jesus from the purpose of The God. Thus, anyone who persuades either himself, or others, from following The God's purpose for their lives, is a devil. Devil is a personification of such a person, or persons.

 

Jesus told them they were of their father the devil, because they followed the ways of a dividing one, and "the lusts of your father ye desire to do." The word lusts comes from epithumia. Bauer (p. 292) says,

"In a bad sense as a desire for something forbidden; to act in accordance with the desires, Jn. 8:44."

 

Carefully considering this definition reveals that such lusts arise from the carnal nature, or the devil, which Jesus said was their father.

 

This is a difficult truth to accept for those who believe that the devil is a fallen angel. James 1:14 illuminates this truth quite sufficiently.

"But each one is tempted, by his own lust [epithumia] being drawn away and being allured."

 

Every person's personal devil is his or her own lust, personified in the scriptures as a devil, or satan.

 

"He was a murderer from the beginning, and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him." Jesus was speaking of Cain who slew his brother. Genesis 4:8, says,

"And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him."

 

Cain's offering was refused because it was not offered in faith. He believed not the truth.

 

The truth is that truth revealed about The God by his word. Without faith, one cannot be standing, or abiding in the truth, or the knowledge of The God. They walk in darkness, or follow their own lusts, or their private devil.

 

Jesus continued by saying, "Whenever he may speak falsehood, from his own he speaks." Own comes from idios. Thayer (p. 296) says,

"Idios. Pertaining to one's self, one's own; used universally of what is one's own as opposed to belonging to another."

 

Falsehoods come from the people themselves, not from some other entity which may be blamed.

 

"He is a liar, and the father of it." Jesus was not being complimentary to these Jews. Essentially, he told them they were walking in the darkness of untruth, and following the lusts of their carnal nature. This would be difficult for any religionists to accept, especially when they believed they were the epitome of righteousness. Unfortunately, this is true today of those who are "saved," and consider themselves better than the "unsaved."

 

As a clincher to these remarks, consider I John 3:11-12.

"Because this is the message which ye heard from [the] beginning; that we should love one another: not as Cain [who] was of the wicked one, and slew his brother; and on account of what he slew him? Because his works were wicked, and those of his brother, righteous."

 

Did the devil, as a separate entity, make Cain kill Abel? No! Cain killed because his works were evil, and Abel's were righteous. He killed when he was incensed by his own carnal nature. [For further comments on the devil or satan, see our article, A Study of Satan.]

 

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8:45     And because I speak the truth, ye do not believe me.

 

The carnal mind cannot understand spiritual matters. Jesus spoke the truth, but the Jews did not believe him. As long as they continued in unbelief, they were unable to believe, or accept the truth of what Jesus said.

 

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8:46     Which of you convinces me concerning sin? But if I speak truth, why do ye not believe me?

 

Concerning comes from elegxei, which means to

"convict, to prove, to convince with proofs" (Rienecker, p. 239).

 

Jesus asked them what proof they had that he had sin. Sin was written as the singular, hamartias, and thus denoted a condition which would have precluded him from being in the will of The God.

 

Jesus continued to ply the Jews with questions which they were unable to answer adequately. Their answers were usually another accusation. "Why do ye not believe me?" The not is the absolute ouk. They absolutely had no faith at all in what he told them.

 

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8:47     He that is of The God, hears the words of The God: therefore ye hear not, because ye are not of The God.

 

Each use of the word not comes from ouk, the absolute no. Time after time, Jesus continued to inform these very religious people that they were absolutely not of The God. They were not followers, nor had any input from The God concerning their actions. They did not even have a proper faith in him.

 

These statements must have infuriated these Jews who esteemed themselves to be a light unto the rest of the world! Even after Jesus repeatedly told them they were not followers of The God, they still did not believe him.

 

Even today, it is the most religious people who are the hardest to convince about what the scriptures really teach. They know (beyond doubt) what their religion teaches, and they accept the dictates of their religion without question. Denominational teaching is so often repeated, and so seldom questioned, that it is simply accepted as "truth."

 

Although denominational doctrines contain many contradictions to the scriptures, people still continue to accept them as irrefutable "truth." Any who question them run the real risk of being condemned by the rest of the congregation, and especially by the pastor, as heretics. If the persist in their questioning, they will most likely be forced from the membership. Denominational doctrines are probably the most blinding influence preventing people from understanding the word of The God. They are absolutely not, ouk, of The God.

 

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8:48     Therefore the Jews answered him and said to him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a demon?

 

As usual, when someone presents a truth from the scriptures to unbelieving religionists, instead of studying to see if it might be true, they attack the speaker. The Jews accused Jesus of being a Samaritan, a major insult. The Jews considered the hybrid religion of the Samaritans as being total error. To accuse a fellow Jew of being a Samaritan was about the worst insult they could muster.

 

But, not being content with one insult, they added another: "thou hast a demon." The word demon comes from daimonion, which the KJV translated as devil. However, daimonion is a different word from diabolos, devil. Thayer (p. 123) defines daimonion as

"a spirit, a being inferior to god, superior to men."

 

It was used here in an evil sense, but a daimonion may be either good or evil.

 

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8:49     Therefore Jesus answered the Jews, I have not a demon; but I honour my father, and ye dishonour me.

 

Those who declare the word of The God must often defend themselves against just such an accusation as these Jews made against Jesus. Jesus told them, "I have not a demon." Then he went on to tell them why. "I honor my father." Honoring the Father is not the work of a demon.

 

The word honor comes from timoo, and is often confused with worship. The basic meaning of the word is to set a price, or value, upon something or someone. It may also mean to reverence, or show deference to someone acknowledged to be greater than oneself.

 

Then Jesus charged the Jews because, "ye dishonor me."  When the negative a is prefixed to timoo, then the word honor is changed to dishonor. This charge indicated that they denigrated his real worth. They did not give him the respect he deserved as the son of The God. Of course, they did this because of their disbelief.

 

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8:50     But I seek not my glory: there is he who seeks and judges.

 

Jesus dismissed their disrespect by saying, "I seek not [ouk] my glory," essentially equating both honor and glory. Actually, they are two different words, timoo and doxa, but in the context here, Jesus used them interchangeably. He was not seeking any evaluation from the Jews which would cause praise, or glory, to himself.

 

Jesus also issued a warning to these self-righteous Jews. "There is he who seeks and judges." He was speaking of his father whom he honors. His father seeks honor and judges those who do not give it to him. If the son is not honored, neither is the Father (John 5:23), and dishonoring the Father will be judged.

 

Jesus was making their dishonor of him equivalent to dishonor of the father. How often Jesus remonstrated against these Jews who showed little respect for the things of The God whom they claimed to worship. Religious they were, but righteous they were not!

 

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8:51     Verily, verily, I say to you, If anyone keep my word, in no wise shall he see death forever.

 

This is a third class conditional sentence, which expresses a probable future condition. It expresses what will take place if the conditions are fulfilled. The condition which must be fulfilled is to "keep my word."  Keep comes from teereesee, meaning

"to guard, to observe, to keep" (Thayer, p. 622).

 

This is an aorist subjunctive which assumes a future truth. If this condition is true in the future, then that person "in no wise shall he see death forever." No is the absolute ouk.

 

Those who keep his word will not "see death." See comes from theooreesee, an aorist subjunctive. It means to observe something as a spectator, or see as a participant. Such a person will not even observe any part of death. Jesus was not speaking of physical death, but spiritual death, not being able to enter the next age in a place of blessing.

 

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8:52     The Jews therefore said to him, Now we know that thou hast a demon. Abraham died and the prophets, and thou sayest, If anyone keep my word, in no wise shall he taste of death forever.

 

Lacking spiritual insight, these people thought only about physical death. They simply could not comprehend that Jesus was speaking about a spiritual death. They knew that even the greatest of their ancestors and the prophets had died. To them, this was convincing evidence that Jesus really did have "a demon."

 

There are three ways in which the word translated forever, aiona, is written in the Greek. The first, as used here, means "into the age," or the coming kingdom of The God. The second means "into the ages." The third means "into the ages of ages."  This third meaning is what most people think of as forever.

 

The KJV often translated aiona as world, which leads to the erroneous conclusion that the world, or the planet, will come to an end. However, this word only means that the age will come to an end.

 

In this verse, Jesus said "taste of death" instead of "see death." Taste comes from geuomai, which means

"to feel, make trial of, experience" (Thayer, p. 114).

 

In other words, those who keep his word will not experience spiritual death. As this study progresses, we will see that Jesus made many statements about the blessings which would accrue to those who kept his word.

 

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8:53     Art thou greater than our father, Abraham, who died? And the prophets died. Whom makest thou thyself?

 

Who do you think you are? What are you claiming for yourself? They still had no idea of what Jesus was talking about. These religious Jews have no idea who Jesus really is! He had tried and tried to explain to them, but they can only think carnally. Jesus showed remarkable patience because he was aware of the truth Paul stated in Romans 8:6-7.

"For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the spirit, life and peace. Because the mind of the flesh is enmity towards god; for to the law of The God it is not subject; for neither can it [be]; and they who are in flesh cannot please god."

 

Even though enmity toward The God is a natural reaction of carnal people, Jesus still did not want these recalcitrant Jews to experience spiritual death. This concept is still difficult for many people to accept. Our very human nature hates to have The God rule over us. This is why there is so little preaching today about the total commitment of self to the word, or instructions of The God.

 

If the word of The God were preached, plainly, without twisting it to please "itching ears," most churches would not be nearly as full as they are now. Paul said,

"The word is a two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12).

 

The word cuts both going and coming. It cuts deeply into a carnal person's psyche, and unless they are seeking to obey the word, they will react in anger toward the speaker.

 

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8:54     Jesus answered, If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my father who glorifies me, [of] whom ye say that he is your god.

 

"If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing." Again, Jesus used an opposite-to-fact conditional sentence since he did not glorify himself. He was not a braggart, and if he had been, his glory would be nothing. Nothing is a compound word of ouk, the absolute no, and den, or thing. Glorify comes from doxa, which means, among other things, "to speak well of," or to magnify.

 

It is basic human nature to speak well of ourselves, or to glorify ourselves, especially if we have done something good. Jesus, however, did not do so. Instead, he said, "it is my father who glorifies me." It was his father, the invisible god, who said, "This is my beloved son, hear ye him."  This commendation was granted to no other man, either before or after Jesus.

Jesus may also have been speaking of his coming crucifixion, as recorded in John 17:1.

"These things spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to the heaven and said, Father, the hour has come; glorify thy son, that also thy son may glorify thee."

 

When Jesus said, "ye say," it was an accusation, not a commendation. Their words said one thing, but their actions said something else. No matter how many times Jesus told these Jews that they were not in alignment with the purposes of The God, their religious convictions would not let them believe. Religious people today are just as stubborn in their beliefs, and most will not even consider the possibility that they may be wrong.

 

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8:55     And ye have not known him, but I know him; and if I say that I know him not, I shall be like you, a liar. But I know him, and I keep his word.

 

Jesus used two different words for known and know. Known comes from egnookate, augmented with an e, which puts it in the past tense. These Jews have absolutely not, ouk, known him. Thayer (p. 117) defines egnookate as

"to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of."

 

The Jews thought Jesus was speaking of their god, Jehovah. But, he was actually speaking of the invisible god, of whom they knew nothing. The world would know nothing of this invisible god until after the crucifixion of Jesus, which would open the way into the heavenly holy of holies, and into the very presence of The God. Although Jesus talked repeatedly of The God, people had no access to him until after Jesus was crucified. "Ye have not known him," ever.

 

"But I know him." Jesus used the Greek word oida, know, derived from eidoo, which has a different connotation than egnookate. Thayer (p. 117) defines oida as,

"to perceive, notice, discern, discover....to see with the eyes."

 

Jesus was telling the Jews that he had seen The God, and thus had come to know him. This was very plain talk, and served to further infuriate the men challenging him.

 

"If I say I know him not, I shall be like you, a liar."  This is another contrary-to-fact, third condition sentence. Jesus used the same word for know, oida. Jesus says that if he denied knowing The God, he would be a liar, like them, because they said they did know him. Liar comes from pseustees, from which we derive the word pseudo, fake.

 

"But I know him and I keep his word."  There are two sides to faith. One is to give mental consent, and the other is to obey the word of The God. James 2:17 put this quite succinctly.

"So also faith, if it have not works, is dead by itself."

 

Proper faith is always accompanied by righteous deeds; if not, it is dead faith. This is the danger of telling people all they have to do is "accept Jesus as their personal savior," as so many evangelical churches do.

 

Jesus said, "I keep his word." Keep comes from teeroo, which means,

"to attend to carefully, take care of...to keep, to hold firmly" (Thayer, p. 622).

 

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8:56     Abraham, your father, exulted in that he should see my day, and he saw and rejoiced.

 

Or comments on verse 8:39 also apply to this verse, and no further comment will be added here.

 

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8:57     Therefore the Jews said to him, thou art not yet fifty years [old], and thou hast seen Abraham?

 

They were still stymied by their literal thinking, and could not conceive that Jesus had been their god, Jehovah. As Jehovah, Jesus dwelt with The God as his word in the Old Testament. Now, in the flesh, he was still the word of The God, and what he spoke to them was truth. But, they could not understand. They were still thinking of Jesus as only a man, which he was; but he also had been Jehovah before becoming a man. It was while he was Jehovah, that Jesus had seen Abraham.

 

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8:58     Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am.

 

Jesus again used "verily, verily" to assert that his statement was true before he said it. Such usage would forestall any argument which might follow. And what was the truth he stated? "Before Abraham was, I am." Was comes from the Greek genesthai, an aorist, which means "come into existence." Before Abraham came into existence, I am.

 

This was one of the clearest statements Jesus made about his real identity. This time they understood what he said. He was older than Abraham, at least insofar as his previous existence as the "I am" was concerned.

 

These Jews would have clearly understood the "I am" as being Jehovah, the god of Israel. This would have been considered the ultimate audacity! This mere man, Jesus, was claiming to be the "I am" of the Old Testament!

Exodus 3:14 says,

"And god said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto Israel, I AM hath sent me unto thee."

 

I am is written in the present tense, and in this context it signifies a constant now of existence.

 

Jesus was claiming to be Jehovah, the god of Israel. This could not be! He must be mad! He has committed the blasphemy of blasphemies! No good Jew could stand for this!

 

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8:59     Therefore they took up stones that they might cast at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went forth out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and thus passed on.

 

People found guilty of blasphemy were usually stoned. Their guilt had to be established in a court of law, and required at least two witnesses. This crowd, however, was reacting in anger, motivated by mob rule rather than legal process.

 

Hid means to conceal oneself. How Jesus did this was not explained. There was a crowd there, and he mingled with them, "going through the midst of them, and thus passed on." These Jews finally understood, at least partially, what Jesus was claiming for himself, and they did not like it!

 

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Summary Highlights of Chapter 8

 

# Kata is prefixed in order to show emphasis, and krinoo is the word for

     judge. When written as a compound word, it emphasizes a sort of

     judgment. Literally, it means a judgment of guilt.  Kata, however, does

     not refer to any sentence being pronounced, although some interpret it

     as such. Fundamental preachers often erroneously interpret the word

     as condemn, or condemnation, meaning sentenced to hell. However, it

     only means a judgment of guilt.

 

# We may acknowledge some act as opposite to the scriptures, and

     therefore a sin, but we can not go further and say the person

     committing the act is a sinner. This is the province of The God, and his

     son, Jesus, when he comes again.

 

#  Jesus showed that the purpose for which he had been sent was not to

     judge others, but to reflect the grace of The God.

 

#  Jesus was not the bread from heaven which fed people physically, but

     the bread from heaven which fed people spiritually. He was the bread

     of the life, zoe, spiritual life.

 

#  Jesus is the light generated (so to speak) by The God. The light he

     reflects are qualities of The God. He was bringing the light, or

     knowledge, of this still unknown, invisible god to those around him.

 

# As the bread of life, Jesus told people they were to feed on him, or grow

     spiritually. As the light, he told the people that he was the one who

     provides the proper knowledge of The God.

 

# People no longer needed to walk in darkness, or ignorance, but in the

     light, or knowledge, which will lead them into eternal life. Jesus gave

     them the recipe for how to avoid this walk in darkness. It was simply to

     follow him. Jesus is the one who will light the way for those who will

     follow in his footsteps.

 

# Every intent of the fleshly nature is opposed to The God. Jesus said they

     (the Pharisees) were acting according to the flesh. Their actions were

     not those of spiritual men, or those acting under the auspices of holy

     spirit.  This accusation still rings true today in most organized religions

     of the world. Those religions do not normally develop spiritually

     mature adults. Without knowledge of the word, people cannot mature

     spiritually.

 

# These Pharisees questioned Jesus, a mere carpenter from Nazareth,

     because they "knew" they were superior to him in their knowledge of

     the scriptures. However, when Jesus confounded them with his

     answers, they retreated in anger. Not much has changed.  Few pastors

     today will sit and discuss the scriptures one-on-one with a "layman." 

 

# Religion is one of the most blinding elements to spiritual growth. The

     parameters of any religion are so narrow, and the condemnation for

     straying beyond them so severe, that few people are willing to pay the

     price to go beyond them and grow into spiritually mature adults.

 

# The main purpose why Jesus came was to reveal the invisible god and

     his attributes to the world.

 

# Note carefully that sin is singular, not plural. What is their sin? It is

     unbelief that Jesus is the messiah, or lord, or coming king. Unbelief

     erodes the inheritance purchased for everyone by the death of Jesus.

     When anyone continues to abide in unbelief, that person is wasting

     their inheritance. They will not enter the next age, the kingdom of The

     God, in a place of blessing, to share in the glories of Jesus as the christ,

     or king.

 

#  [The Pharisees were simply a] bunch of carnal religionists trying to

     understand spiritual truths. The carnal mind is completely unable to

     grasp such concepts. After all that Jesus had said previously, they still

     tried to interpret his words in a fleshly manner.

 

# Although the Pharisees looked upon themselves as spiritual guides of

     Israel, they simply could not discern the spiritual concepts presented by

     Jesus. To make it blatantly clear, Jesus said, "Ye are of this world. I am

     not of this world."

 

# Here (8:24), however, Jesus said sins (plural). Why the difference?

     Earlier, he was speaking of their unbelief, which is the basis of all sins.

     Now, he spoke of the results, or sins, of that unbelief.

 

#  Jesus continually stated his subordination to his heavenly father in all

     things. He spoke not of himself, but only as the Father instructed him.

     Therefore, he was acting as an emissary of the invisible god, and told

      the world only what he had been instructed to say.

 

# Through prayer, Jesus not only received instruction from the Father, but

     also the determination to continue.

 

# Can we, too, experience the presence of our heavenly father by doing

     the things pleasing to him? First, we must be careful not to fall into the

     trap of believing that our works can please The God. Second, we must

     understand that only those things done by The God through us are

     pleasing to him. Jesus has made this clear several times. Submission is

     the important part. As we submit ourselves to him, then The God,

     through holy spirit, will bring forth in our lives those things which are

     pleasing to him.

 

# Having a first faith that Jesus is the christ is not the end of the process. A

     one time act of faith is not sufficient to make disciples. Jesus said that

     disciples are those who "abide in my word."

 

# The only thing men can do is to react to the salvation The God has

     already wrought, and bestowed, upon all men by his grace.  The truth

     that salvation is of The God, through his son, and is bestowed upon all

     through his grace, is the truth that shall set you free.  Thus, all are set

     free to serve The God in love, not fear. This allows us to live as humans,

     yet be at peace with The God.

 

#  Jesus clarified the bondage from which the truth would set them free. It

     was not only freedom from sin, but the sin. The definite article, and the

     use of the singular sin, has special significance here. The sin, hamartias,

     means "missing the mark."  The mark being missed is a way of life

     which wastes the authority to enter into the next age in a place of

     blessing. The focus here is not on individual sins, but the result of a way

     of life.  It is not a one time sin, as the KJV version is often construed to

     mean.

 

#  The sin these people were practicing was that they had given a mental

     assent to what Jesus said, but there was no real commitment of

     themselves.

 

#  Jesus told the Jews that since they were children of the flesh, they were

     servants, and not sons. Therefore, they would not abide, but would be

     cast out.

 

# Although Jesus will pay the penalty of their sins (when he was

     crucified), they will not be really free unless they quit the practice of the

     sin.

 

# Notice that Jesus referred to himself as a man. He did not say he was a

     god-man, some kind of a mix between a man and The God, as

     religionists so often portray him. He simply stated that he was a man.

 

#  The truth Jesus speaks is from The God, and not of himself.

 

# When Jehovah appeared to Abraham as a man, it presaged his coming

     as Jesus, a man, who would tell the Jews the truth.

 

# Religionists would have us believe that angels were a different species

     than men, created by The God before he created mankind. But, the

     scriptures say that angels are men with heavenly bodies.

 

# "Neither have I come of myself, but he sent me." Jesus said this so often,

     but no one would accept his statement as truth. Jesus was not speaking

     of Jehovah, whom they considered to be their god. Instead, he spoke of

     the invisible god of heaven.

 

# Devil, understood by most English speakers as a noun, is actually an

     adjective used as a pronominal. It is a compound word composed of dia

     and bolou. Dia basically means two, and is divisive. Thus the word devil

     means to thrust, bolou, through, dia. Thus, anyone who persuades

     either himself, or others, from following The God's purpose for their

     lives, is a devil. This is a difficult truth to accept for those who believe

     that the devil is a fallen angel.

 

# Without faith, one cannot be standing, or abiding in the truth, or the

     knowledge of The God.

 

#  Jesus was not being complimentary to these Jews (the Pharisees).

     Essentially, he told them they were walking in the darkness of untruth,

     and following the lusts of their carnal nature. This would be difficult for

     any religionists to accept, especially when they believed they were the

     epitome of righteousness. Unfortunately, this is true today of those who

     are "saved," and consider themselves better than the "unsaved."

 

# Even today, it is the most religious people who are the hardest to

     convince about what the scriptures really teach. They know (beyond

     doubt) what their religion teaches, and they accept the dictates of their

     religion without question. Denominational teaching is so often

     repeated, and so seldom questioned, that it is simply accepted as

     "truth."

 

# Although denominational doctrines contain many contradictions to the

     scriptures, people still continue to accept them as irrefutable "truth."

     Any who question them run the real risk of being condemned by the

     rest of the congregation, and especially by the pastor. If the persist in

     questioning, they will most likely be forced from the membership.

 

# Denominational doctrines are probably the most blinding influence

     preventing people from understanding the word of The God. They are

     absolutely not, ouk, of The God.

 

# When someone presents a truth from the scriptures to unbelieving

     religionists, instead of studying to see if it might be true, they usually

     attack the speaker.

 

# How often Jesus remonstrated against these Jews who showed little

     respect for the things of The God whom they claimed to worship.

     Religious they were, but righteous they were not!

 

# There are three ways in which the word translated "forever," aiona, is

     written in the Greek. The first means "into the age," or the coming

     kingdom of The God. The second means "into the ages." The third

     means "into the ages of ages." This third meaning is what most people

     think of as forever.

 

# The KJV often translated aiona as world, which leads to the erroneous

     conclusion that the world, or the planet, will come to an end. However,

     this word only means that the age will come to an end.

 

# Enmity toward The God is a natural reaction of carnal people. This

     concept is still difficult for many people to accept. Our very human

     nature hates to have The God rule over us. This is why there is so little

     preaching today about the total commitment of self to The God.  If the

     word of The God were preached, plainly, without twisting it to please

     "itching ears," most churches would not be nearly as full as they are

     now.

 

# The word cuts both going and coming. It cuts deeply into a carnal

     person's psyche, and unless they are seeking to obey the word, they

     will react in anger toward the speaker.

 

#  It is basic human nature to speak well of ourselves, or to glorify

     ourselves, especially if we have done something good. Jesus, however,

     did not do so. Instead, he said, "it is my father who glorifies me."

 

# Religious people today are just as stubborn in their beliefs, and most will

     not even consider the possibility that they may be wrong.

 

# Although Jesus talked repeatedly of The God, people had no access to

     him until after Jesus was crucified.

 

# Proper faith is always accompanied by righteous deeds; if not, it is dead

     faith. This is the danger of telling people all they have to do is "accept

     Jesus as their personal savior," as so many evangelical churches do.

 

# They were still stymied by their literal thinking, and could not conceive

     that Jesus had been their god, Jehovah. As Jehovah, Jesus dwelt with

     The God as his word in the Old Testament. Now, in the flesh, he was

     still the word of The God, and what he spoke to them was truth. But,

     they could not understand. They were still thinking of Jesus as only a

     man, which he was; but he also had been Jehovah before becoming a

     man.

 

# Before Abraham came into existence, I am.  This was one of the clearest

     statements Jesus made about his real identity.

 

#  Jesus was claiming to be Jehovah, the god of Israel. This could not be!

     He must be mad! He has committed the blasphemy of blasphemies!

     No good Jew could stand for this!

 

 

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September 2009