“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Jesus, the Light of the World
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.”
Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father[a] who sent me is with me. Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact.[b] I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.”
“Where is your father?” they asked.
Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time[c] had not yet come.
The Unbelieving People Warned
Later Jesus said to them again, “I am going away. You will search for me but will die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going.”
The people[d] asked, “Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going’?”
Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be,[e] you will die in your sins.”
“Who are you?” they demanded.
Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be.[f] I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” But they still didn’t understand that he was talking about his Father.
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am he.[g] I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” Then many who heard him say these things believed in him.
Jesus and Abraham
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
“But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.”
“Our father is Abraham!” they declared.
“No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.[h] Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. No, you are imitating your real father.”
They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.”
Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”
The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?”
“No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father—and you dishonor me. And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!”
The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’[i] but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.”
The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?[j]”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am![k]” At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.
- 8:16 Some manuscripts read The One.
- 8:17 See Deut 19:15.
- 8:20 Greek his hour.
- 8:22 Greek Jewish people; also in 8:31, 48, 52, 57.
- 8:24 Greek unless you believe that I am. See Exod 3:14.
- 8:25 Or Why do I speak to you at all?
- 8:28 Greek When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
- 8:39 Some manuscripts read if you are really the children of Abraham, follow his example.
- 8:54 Some manuscripts read You say he is your God.
- 8:57 Some manuscripts read How can you say Abraham has seen you?
- 8:58 Or before Abraham was even born, I have always been alive; Greek reads before Abraham was, I am. See Exod 3:14.