Saint John – Chapter 8

The Bible – New Testament

Saint John

Chapter 8


while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 1


But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them.


Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle.


They said to him, «Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.


Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. 2 So what do you say?»


They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. 3


4 But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, «Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.»


Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.


And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him.


Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, «Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?»


She replied, «No one, sir.» Then Jesus said, «Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more.»


5 Jesus spoke to them again, saying, «I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.»


So the Pharisees said to him, «You testify on your own behalf, so your testimony cannot be verified.»


Jesus answered and said to them, «Even if I do testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified, 6 because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I come from or where I am going.


You judge by appearances, 7 but I do not judge anyone.


And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father who sent me.


Even in your law 8 it is written that the testimony of two men can be verified.


I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me.»


So 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.»


He spoke these words while teaching in the treasury in the temple area. But no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.


9 10 He said to them again, «I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.»


11 So the Jews said, «He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?»


He said to them, «You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world.


That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, 12 you will die in your sins.»


13 So they said to him, «Who are you?» Jesus said to them, «What I told you from the beginning.


I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world.»


They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.


So Jesus said (to them), «When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.


The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.»


Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.


14 15 Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, «If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,


and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.»


They answered him, «We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. 16 How can you say, ‘You will become free’?»


Jesus answered them, «Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.


A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son 17 always remains.


So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free.


I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you.


18 I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence; then do what you have heard from the Father.»


19 They answered and said to him, «Our father is Abraham.» Jesus said to them, «If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham.


But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do this.


You are doing the works of your father!» (So) they said to him, «We are not illegitimate. We have one Father, God.»


Jesus said to them, «If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me.


Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you cannot bear to hear my word.


You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.


But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me.


Can any of you charge me with sin? If I am telling the truth, why do you not believe me?


Whoever belongs to God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not listen, because you do not belong to God.»


The Jews answered and said to him, «Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan 20 and are possessed?»


Jesus answered, «I am not possessed; I honor my Father, but you dishonor me.


I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the one who judges.


Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.»


(So) the Jews said to him, «Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’


Are you greater than our father Abraham, 21 who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?»


Jesus answered, «If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’


You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word.


Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it 22 and was glad.


So the Jews said to him, «You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?» 23


24 Jesus said to them, «Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.»


So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.

1 [1] Mount of Olives: not mentioned elsewhere in the gospel tradition outside of passion week.
2 [5] ⇒ Lev 20:10 and ⇒ Deut 22:22 mention only death, but ⇒ Deut 22:23-24 prescribes stoning for a betrothed virgin.
3 [6] Cf ⇒ Jeremiah 17:13 (RSV): «Those who turn away from thee shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the , the fountain of living water»; cf ⇒ John 7:38.
4 [7] The first stones were to be thrown by the witnesses (⇒ Deut 17:7).
5 [12-20] Jesus the light of the world. Jesus replaces the four torches of the illumination of the temple as the light of joy.
6 [14] My testimony can be verified: this seems to contradict ⇒ John 5:31 but the emphasis here is on Jesus’ origin from the Father and his divine destiny. Where I am going: indicates Jesus’ passion and glorification.
7 [15] By appearances: literally, «according to the flesh.» I do not judge anyone: superficial contradiction of ⇒ John 5:22, ⇒ 27, ⇒ 30; here the emphasis is that the judgment is not by material standards.
8 [17] Your law: a reflection of later controversy between church and synagogue.
9 [21-30] He whose ambassador I am is with me. Jesus’ origin is from God; he can reveal God.
10 [21] You will die in your sin: i.e., of disbelief; cf ⇒ John 8:24. Where I am going you cannot come: except through faith in Jesus’ passion-resurrection.
11 [22] The Jews suspect that he is referring to his death. Johannine irony is apparent here; Jesus’ death will not be self-inflicted but destined by God.
12 [24,28] I AM: an expression that late Jewish tradition understood as Yahweh’s own self-designation (⇒ Isaiah 43:10); see the note on ⇒ John 4:26. Jesus is here placed on a par with Yahweh.
13 [25] What I told you from the beginning: this verse seems textually corrupt, with several other possible translations: «(I am) what I say to you»; «Why do I speak to you at all?» The earliest attested reading (Bodmer Papyrus P66) has (in a second hand), «I told you at the beginning what I am also telling you (now).» The answer here (cf ⇒ Proverb 8:22) seems to hinge on a misunderstanding of ⇒ John 8:24 «that I AM» as «what I am.»
14 [31-59] Jesus’ origin («before Abraham») and destiny are developed; the truth will free them from sin ( John 8:34) and death ( John 8:51).
15 [31] Those Jews who believed in him: a rough editorial suture, since in ⇒ John 8:37 they are described as trying to kill Jesus.
16 [33] Have never been enslaved to anyone: since, historically, the Jews were enslaved almost continuously, this verse is probably Johannine irony, about slavery to sin.
17 [35] A slave . . . a son: an allusion to Ishmael and Isaac (Genesis 16; 21), or to the release of a slave after six years (⇒ Exodus 21:2; ⇒ Deut 15:12).
18 [38] The Father: i.e., God. It is also possible, however, to understand the second part of the verse as a sarcastic reference to descent of the Jews from the devil (⇒ John 8:44), «You do what you have heard from [your] father.»
19 [39] The works of Abraham: Abraham believed; cf ⇒ Romans 4:11-17; ⇒ James 2:21-23.
20 [48] Samaritan: therefore interested in magical powers; cf ⇒ Acts 7:14-24.
21 [53] Are you greater than our father Abraham?: cf ⇒ John 4:12.
22 [56] He saw it: this seems a reference to the birth of Isaac (⇒ Genesis 17:7; ⇒ 21:6), the beginning of the fulfillment of promises about Abraham’s seed.
23 [57] The evidence of the third-century Bodmer Papyrus P75 and the first hand of Codex Sinaiticus indicates that the text originally read: «How can Abraham have seen you?»
24 [58] Came to be, I AM: the Greek word used for «came to be» is the one used of all creation in the prologue, while the word used for «am» is the one reserved for the Logos.