8:21 Jesus said therefore again to them,
"I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sins.
Where I go, you can't come."
8:22 The Jews therefore said, "Will he kill himself, that he says,
'Where I am going, you can't come?'"
8:23 He said to them, "You are from beneath. I am from above.
You are of this world. I am not of this world.
8:24 I said therefore to you that you will die in your sins;
for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins."
8:25 They said therefore to him, "Who are you?"
Jesus said to them, "Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning.
8:26 I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you.
However he who sent me is true;
and the things which I heard from him, these I say to the world."
8:27 They didn't understand that he spoke to them about the Father.
8:28 Jesus therefore said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man,
then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing of myself,
but as my Father taught me, I say these things.
8:29 He who sent me is with me. The Father hasn't left me alone,
for I always do the things that are pleasing to him."
8:30 As he spoke these things, many believed in him.
The Law states: "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife-- with the wife of his neighbor-- both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death." Lev 20:10 Actually if I were Jesus here I'd probably first ask for them to present the adulterer before continuing. But in a sense Jesus does this. What did he write in the sand? I think he most likely wrote down the 10 commandments just as he did when he presented them to Moses. "When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God." Ex 31:18 In this way he was preparing the people for his response. For though she broke the law, so has everyone else in various areas.
Jesus did not speak against the law here. He did not disagree with the
law. (After all, he wrote it!) He simply requested that in this particular
case for this particular woman that the person throwing the first stone
at her in accordance with the law be without sin. This turned the tables
on her accusers. For as Solomon has said, "There is not a righteous
man on earth who does what is right and never sins." Ecc 7:20
They could have further challenged Jesus asking what gives him the right
to impose such a requirement. But then again Jesus could have pressed them
further concerning their individual sins and found each of them worthy
of death as well. Thus playing the "sin" card diffused the situation.
Essentially what Jesus did was rather than tell them not to stone the
woman, he was telling them - OK, along with this woman, who else should
we stone? It made them think that each one of them may be worthy of
stoning under the Law of Moses, seeing as even picking up sticks on the
Sabbath is punishable by death.
Was Jesus condoning adultery? Certainly not. He told the woman to go and sin no more. Not only did he not condone her behavior, he didn't forgive her. What he was saying that, for now I don't condemn you, in order to give you time to repent. This is much as it says in Rom 2:3-5 "So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape Godís judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that Godís kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of Godís wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed." The idea is that God will tolerate sin so to give people time to repent. But if they fail to do so, greater wrath awaits, not only due to the original sin, but because they disregarded God's grace.
This is often the case today in popular antinomian Christianity where, if you were to tell the licentious not to sin any more, you will be condemned by others as if you were throwing stones! Indeed if you follow Jesus' example you will be the one the religious elite will thrown stones at!
Now concerning civil law, it's interesting that under the Law of Moses murder and adultery were both punishable by death. That's God's point of view. Then tell me, in this country why is it that murder is punishable by death or life in prison while adultery has no penalty associated with it? Indeed in many states while adultery provides a basis for divorce, the fact of adultery does not even come into play when it comes to settlement issues. As former-President Clinton has demonstrated along with the media we live in an adulterous land where such behavior goes unpunished because it is the norm.
There is too much licentious behavior tolerated in the Christian community as well. Paul writes, "I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you." 1Cor 5:9-13 However if a modern antinomian Christian lived in Paul's time he would brush off this command as if he were the Lord saying "He who is without sin cast the first stone". But in fact Paul has that application in here when he speaks of judging those outside. God who is without sin will judge them. But we are responsible to judge those inside. That's what the Bible says!
Jesus not condemning her here does not necessarily mean that she had been forgiven. He mentions nothing of the forgiveness of her sins here. Nor does it mention anything of her repenting. As he said previously speaking of his present mission on earth, "I pass judgment on no one." John 8:15 But in his second coming he will come to pass judgment. But here he provides an opportunity for her to repent. And that's what he's given us as well. Failing to do so will bring judgment in the future.
John 5:31 "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid."The actual word for "valid" alethes, is the same word for "true". Thus most translations simply say "true". Unlike English, there appears no distinction in Koine Greek between "valid" and "true", but this ambiguity may affect the interpretation. Not only John 5:31, but in this very passage in John 8:17 Jesus noted, "In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid." That's a sensible translation, for the testimony of two men is not necessarily "true", for they could both be lying. But in a legal sense the testimony of two is to be reckoned valid.
John 8:14 "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid"
What's the application? Christians should also be confident that as we testify of Christ our testimony is valid for we are simply repeating what the Bible says and that has already been affirmed by the Father through miracles. Just as those who rejected Jesus rejected the Father, so also those who reject our message reject God.
vs 21,24 Here's another paradox:
John 8:15 "You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one."In fact Jesus was very judgmental. But John 8:15 I take it that Jesus is speaking by way of ellipsis, which is to say, "You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one in that manner." He made this point previously in John 7:24 "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment." A right judgment is not simply based on outward appearance.
John 8:21 "you will die in your sin."
vs 22 Will he kill himself? In some sense they were correct, for Jesus speaking of his life says, "No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again." John 10:18 The cross was a suicide mission.
vs 23 Jesus is from above and he is not of this world, but what of the Christians? Have we not been born of the earth? Yes, but then again so was Jesus. But of his disciples Jesus says, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of it." John 17:16"We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one." 1John 5:19 "They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood." 1John 4:5.6
vs 25-30 "Who are you?" Jesus forces them to infer the answer from what he has said of himself. He needs not answer directly. We come to the revelation of who Jesus is when we exalt him. For he says, "when I am lifted up (or "exalted") from the earth, will draw all men to myself." John 12:32 And yes these verses speaking of lifting up Jesus (John 3:14; 8:28; 12:32) do have dual meanings. For these could refer to his being exalted by God in his crucifixion and ascension, but these also could speak of exalting him in our hearts. The word "lifted up" in Greek means "to exalt" and is translated "exalt" 14 out of 20 times in the King James. Thus verse 28 can read "When you have exalted the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be" Thus if we want people to come to faith in Christ let us exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.
"I do always those things that please him."
May this be also our goal.
Eph 5:10 "and find out what pleases the Lord."
Col 1:10 "we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord
and may please him in every way:"
1Th 4:1 "we instructed you how to live in order to please God."