Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, 'You will be made free'?"
Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.
And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
[John 8:31-36 NKJV]
When Jesus says that “the truth will make you free”, we know that He is the living embodiment of what Truth is. In this context ‘the Son’ and ‘the Truth’ are synonymous — either can be used and will mean the same thing. Thus verse 32 could legitimately read ‘and you shall know the Son, and the Son shall make you free’.
Likewise verse 36 could read ‘Therefore if the truth makes you free, you shall be free indeed’. Jesus is ‘the way, the truth and the life.’ and said so [John 14:6 NKJV]
Some among the Jews are beginning to be persuaded by this young man, for ‘as He spoke these words, many believed in Him.’ [John 8:30 NKJV] We see here that Jesus is now talking to those Jews who believed Him — and they want to know more — asking what it means to be free because they have ‘never been in bondage’.
Jesus answers by saying that the freedom He provides is freedom from our sin nature. Effectively, freedom in the Spirit, not a freedom to go your own way, for that freedom is ‘bondage to the world’.
Faith In God is a terrific adventure in the dark; I have to believe that God is good in spite of all that contradicts it in my experience. It is not easy to say that God is love when everything that happens actually gives the lie to it. Everyone’s soul represents some kind of battlefield. The point for each one is whether we will hang in and say, ‘Though things look black, I will trust in God.’
(from ‘Baffled To Fight Better’)
Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”
So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”
And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”
And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”
They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.
[John 8:21-27 NKJV]
What we see over and over again in John’s Gospel are the words ‘They did not understand that ...’ And often we do not understand at first. The message Jesus brings into the world is one that few, at the time or now, readily understands.
Why would we? This is new, undiscovered territory; a landscape never before encountered. Just imagine if someone came up to you in the street where you live and said to you ‘I have many things to say and to judge concerning you’. I’d be concerned and not a little upset. ‘Who does this man think he is?’ Jesus always speaks from a place diametrically opposed to what we know from our experience, and His purpose is to show us where we are heading and convince us to turn around and go the other way with Him.
If we think of the enormity of the task that Jesus had on His shoulders — declaring the truth of the government of God (Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. [Isaiah 9:6a NKJV]) — it is plain that He had no time to waste smoothing egos or formulating a marketing strategy.
Jesus spoke truth, knowing that He was the seed from another world — the eternal realm — that was being planted in the hearts of men to be nurtured into new and everlasting life.
Just as the disposition of sin entered into the human race by one man, so the Holy Spirit entered the race by another Man, and Redemption means that I can be delivered from the heredity of sin, and through Jesus Christ can receive an unsullied heredity, viz.; the Holy Spirit.
You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me.
It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true.
I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”
Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”
These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.
[John 8:15-20 NKJV]
What does Jesus mean when He says ‘... I judge no one. Yet if I do judge ...’. The Amplified Bible gives us a clearer view of Jesus’ intention here, for it says ‘ ... I do not [set Myself up to] judge or condemn or sentence anyone. Yet even if I do judge ...’ That crucial ‘set Myself up to’ clarifies His purpose ... and answers a puzzle that most Christians wrestle with at some time or another.
We too must not set ourselves up in judgement of another, but there are times when we simply cannot ignore a situation which calls for a moral decision — and holy discernment is the path to choose — we must side with Jesus; for we are not alone, just as He was not alone. Jesus intercedes for those who believe in Him and we thus have a direct line to the throne of God.
Jesus says these words in the treasury — a place where not only many sacred temple objects were housed, but also formed a home for the priests. So it is not just about what Jesus said, but where he said it.
To exercise judgement — or discernment as to how to react in a given situation — we must be in a holy place; not just in the temple, but in the treasure-house.
It is not simply a case of “what would Jesus do?”, we know what Jesus would do — He would seek the will of the Father who sent Him. We should be able to say ‘yes, I know.’
God and love are synonymous. Love is not an attribute of God, it is God. Whatever God is, love is. If your conception of love does not agree with justice and judgement, purity and holiness, then your idea of love is wrong.
Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery.
And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.
Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him.
But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
[John 8:2-8 NKJV]
This passage has a number of significant points shown, some of which we have touched on before ...
Now early in the morning ...
Many important events in the Bible — including the discovery of the ‘stone rolled away’ from Jesus tomb, occur ‘early in the morning’. The significance of this perhaps is that the event occurs at what we would term ‘first light’ and maybe is a spiritual marker of a moment of revelation, when we can ‘see the light’.
this woman was caught in adultery
This, of course, was a serious matter, and the Pharisees sought to trap Jesus in a doctrinal mistake to accumulate evidence against Him. They hoped perhaps that He would defy the law of Moses and show Himself to be a false prophet. However, Jesus would not be so easily baited.
But what do you say?
Jesus response was to turn the question back on His accusers, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Jesus is too wise for such a ruse. This is another way of saying ‘Judge not that ye be not judged.’
Jesus ... wrote upon the ground
Why did Jesus stoop down and write or draw on the ground with His finger? A lot of speculation and discussion has arisen on this point. For what it is worth, my feeling is that, as Jesus was in the temple, He was ‘taking a moment’ to be in connection with the Father by touching Holy Ground
go and sin no more
But whatever the reason, Jesus’ purpose was to bring sinners to repentance and salvation, not to heap on condemnation. ‘When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”’
Don’t be disturbed today by thoughts about tomorrow; leave tomorrow alone, and bank in confidence on God’s organising of what you do not see.
But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe.
This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man,
so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow.
Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.
[2 Corinthians 2:5-8 NKJV]
I am sure that I’ve mentioned this before — about offence — because it seems that offence is easily taken. We are often surprised by what offends others — and sometimes surprised at what offends us — and it seems that the degree of sensitivity needed to avoid offence is impossible to attain.
But if anyone has caused grief ...
Are we offended by others’ remarks ... ? Do we give offence to others ... ? The answer too often, if we are honest with ourselves, is ‘Yes!’ It needn’t be deliberate; but the unintentional gaffe can be every bit as hurtful. These things are unavoidable and knowing how to deal with this human interaction is where we can learn so much from the Holy Spirit, if we will but give Him power in our lives.
you ought rather to forgive and comfort ...
We know about forgiveness and comfort. These things are the cornerstone of our faith. Without those two interconnected elements we are tied to imperfect past human experience. Sometimes that works; but many times it lets us down.
I urge you to reaffirm your love to Him ...
The answer we also know. ‘Turn your eyes toward Jesus’. Reaffirming our love to Him needs to be a daily experience. A daily necessity. That re-commitment is essential. We know it in our hearts. To reaffirm means to ‘state again strongly’, to strengthen the assertion we have already made.
Don’t let your commitment slide in the face of present difficulties. Our Lord is always the answer to any difficulty. Hold fast to Him and ‘reaffirm your love to Him’.
Just say ‘Yes, Lord, Yes!’
Never run away with the idea that it doesn’t matter much what we believe or think; it does. What we believe and think, we are; not what we say we believe and think, but what we really do believe and think, we are; there is no divorce at all.