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Christ Teaching in Jerusalem
Summary —The Woman Taken in Adultery. The Light of the World. The Father's Witness. Freedom by the Truth. Abraham's Seed. The Son of Man before Abraham.
3. The scribes and Pharisees. The scribes were theologians. They brought this woman to Jesus 359for trial to see what he would decide, and to criticise him. They wished grounds for charges (verse 6).
7–9. He that is without sin among you. When they persisted, saying, What sayest thou? he said what was an awful rebuke. They knew that he knew their lives, that they were as guilty as the woman they had brought. They forgot the demand of Moses (Deut. 17:5–7) that the witnesses should cast the first stone, and his answer was like a bolt of lightning. Covered with shame, when he stooped and wrote again, they went out one by one.
13, 14. My record is true. The Pharisees disputed this. Ordinarily the testimony of a man that he 360is sent from God is insufficient. He may be deceived, or a deceiver. But Jesus could not be deceived, for he knew all things; nor a deceiver, for he was Truth. Besides, he had other testimony (verse 18).
17. It is written in your law. Deut. 19:15. Observe Jesus says not our, but your law.
19. Where is thy Father? Asked in scorn, because he said “the Father beareth witness of me.” If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father. The knowledge of Christ leads to a knowledge of the Father. See John 14:8.
28. When ye have lifted up the Son of man. Lifted him up on the cross. His “lifting up” would be the means of breaking down unbelief. We can see how this was verified. In fifty days after he was lifted up three thousand believed in a single day, and the work of faith went on until the civilized world acknowledged him as King.
31. If ye continue in my word, then ye are my disciples indeed. They “believed on him,” but their faith was not yet made perfect by obedience. Hence he adds the condition of discipleship. Their belief must move them to accept his word and obey it. There is a condition, continue in my word; a promise, shall be my disciples.
32. And ye shall know the truth. Disciples are learners. Their object is to know the truth. The way to know the truth is to obey the truth. The truth shall make you free. The Gospel obeyed, frees—frees from the yoke of Satan, from spiritual task-masters, from fear, fills the soul with hope and the free spirit of a son who serves the Father from love.
33. We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage. They trusted in their blood, rather than in obedience to the God of Abraham. Their proud language was false. Their nation had been in bondage for over six hundred years to Babylon, to Persia, to Macedon, to Syria, to Rome. They were also in bondage to sin.
34. Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. According to his custom, Christ makes no direct argument in reply, but states a truth and leaves them to apply it. The sinner is the slave of sin. See Rom. 7:9–24.
35. The servant abideth not in the house for ever. The servant has no claim to remain 362continually in the same family, but may be changed at will. The son can remain because he is a son. The Jews, servants of sin, would soon be expelled from the Lord's house.
36. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. If you would be free indeed you must have the freedom that the Son bestows, and become children. In order to fully comprehend the figure, read Gal. 4:19–21.
42. If God were your Father, ye would love me. They made this claim (verse 41). Their hatred of the Son was proof that they were not God's children.
44. Ye are of your father, the devil. There are two households: that of God, composed of his children; and that of the devil, composed of his children. All who hear the voice of Christ become God's children by adoption (Rom. 8:15–17), and all who refuse to hear him, do so because they belong to the devil's household and hear his voice. They “will do the lusts of their father.” He was a murderer 363from the beginning. He caused the first murder, moves those who do murder, and those who seek to kill Christ are of his spirit.
48. Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? They resort to the language of passion and vituperation. Of all men they hated the Samaritans most, and hence this charge. They next accuse him, not of having a devil, but of being possessed with a demon, or evil spirit.
49. I honour my Father. He passes by in silence their first charge; the second he shows cannot be true, for he honors his Father, which a demon could not do; and yet the Jews dishonored him, while he honored the Father.
51. If a man keep my word, he shall never see death. Here again is a condition and a promise. Notice (1) Its universal character. If any one, Jew or Gentile, male or female, bond or free. (2) The condition: Keep my words. By obedience we are not only freed, but enter into life. (3) Shall not see death. Death of the body is not reckoned death, but merely the gate through which the believer enters upon a more perfect life. The real death is that of the soul.
53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham? Their argument is: They that heard the word of God are dead, and shall they who have heard thee not die? Their question is asked in scorn. Compare John 4:12.
54. If I honour myself, my honour is nothing. They had just asked: Whom makest thou thyself? The Father, who honoreth him, will settle that question by his resurrection from the dead and exaltation. 364
58. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. A solemn and official declaration, preceded by “Verily, verily.” The utterance is a remarkable one. It does not merely assert that he was before Abraham, but before Abraham was, I AM. It identifies with the I AM of the Old Testament. Divinity has no past tense, no future tense, but always the present.
59. They took up stones to cast at him. They regarded his language blasphemy. If he had been only a man it would have been. 364
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