John 8:1-30 (NRSV)
Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them.
3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.
They ignore the obvious question: Where is the man who is equally culpable in this act of adultery?
5Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
9When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
Romans 8:1 (King James Version)
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
12Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Psalm 119:105 (New International Version)
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Since Jesus is the Word (John 1:1), it follows that he is also the light.
13Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.”
14Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15You judge by human standards; I judge no one. 16Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. 18I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.”
Jesus can testify about Himself because He, not they, has view of eternity: I know where I came from and where I am going.
Jesus can testify about Himself because He, not they, judges righteously: You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
Jesus can testify about Himself because His testimony is fully supported by God the Father: My judgment is true; for I am not alone.
19Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?”
Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
21Again he said to them, “I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.”
22Then the Jews said, “Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?”
23He said to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.”
The word “he” is added by translators so the sentence will make sense in English. Jesus calls them to “believe that I am,” which the Jews would hear as a claim to deity.
25They said to him, “Who are you?”
This question of the Pharisees comes from a combination of willful confusion and contempt. Though Jesus has told them over and over who He is, they will continue to ask until they get an answer they can use to condemn Him.
Jesus said to them, “Why do I speak to you at all? 26I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.”
27They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. 28So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me.
When Jesus says he will be “lifted up,” he means “lifted up” off the ground on a cross. When Jesus is crucified, they will see the perfect obedience of the Son to the Father.
29And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” 30As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
1) What do you think Jesus may have written on the ground?
2) Jesus’ words in 8:7 — Let he who is without sin cast the first stone — are commonly used today. Have you used this phrase? Has anyone ever said these words to you? What do these words say to your heart, your life?
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.