THE LIFE OF CHRIST
In our last lesson, we began our study with John 7:2. Jesus’ brothers want Him to go up to the feast and show everyone what He can do, but He does not do this because it is His time. We looked at Luke’s account of what happened as He left Galilee and made His way to the feast, which He arrived late to and in secret. However, He began to teach, and we learned the opposing Jews had sent some officers to arrest Him. We learn more about these officers and what happens on the last day of this feast as begin our study in:
John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
The feast lasted for seven days, but it officially ended on the eighth day with a holy convocation, which marked the end of the feast when the people left their booths and went back to their homes. One of the highlights of the feast that happened every day is pointed out by Mr. Woods:
Each day, during the feast a priest carried a golden pitcher to the pool (of Siloam), filled it and returned to the court of the temple, accompanied by throngs of people rejoicing greatly and poured it on the altar. Immediately, the Hallel, consisting of Ps. 113 -118 was chanted by the Levites and the people repeated each line after the priests. It was a ceremony of much joy and satisfaction. Ancient rabbis are quoted as having said that he who had never witnessed this ceremony did not really know what rejoicing meant. At the close of the singing of the Hallel there was a pause in the activities and it was evidently at this moment that the voice of the Lord rang out... (Woods, p. 155).
Also Westcott records:
On each of the seven preceding days water was drawn in a golden pitcher from the pool of Siloam and carried in procession to the temple and offered by the priests as the singers chanted Isa 12:3: "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation..." (Westcott).
Some believe that pouring out the water was done to acknowledge God for giving them rain for their crops. Others believe they did it to remember how God had given their forefathers water in the wilderness (Ex. 17:5-6; Num. 20:7-11). Perhaps both are correct. They also poured the water out looking forward to when the Spirit would be poured out during the time of the Messiah (Joel 2:28), which happened on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4, 16-17).
Since the golden pitcher was empty, Jesus was offering the rivers of water that would never dry up. Just as their forefathers thirsted in the wilderness and were physically satisfied by the water that came from the rock, Jesus was offering them to drink from Him, so they could become spiritually satisfied. Notice, Jesus said they must believe and come to Him, which proves that a person must have an active faith and be willing to obey what the Scriptures teach. Those who do this are promised the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit had not been given yet because Jesus would have to be glorified first (Jn. 16:7), which is speaking of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to heaven. The Holy Spirit was given as promised on the day of Pentecost (Act 2).
John 7:40 Therefore
many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, "Truly this is the
Prophet." 41 Others said,
"This is the Christ." But some said, "Will the Christ come out
again, there is great confusion among these people. Some thought He was the
prophet Moses spoke of (Deut: 18: 15, 19), which they did not understand was
talking about Christ. Others thought He was the Christ. One of their major
problems they had with Jesus being the Christ was they knew He had been raised
John 7:45 Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why have you not brought Him?" 46 The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this Man!"
These officers were sent to arrest Jesus back in verse 32. However, after hearing Jesus speak with authority, these officers were amazed and they did not arrest Him. They went back to the chief priest and Pharisees and they told them the reason they did not arrest Him was because, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” Jesus’ words had impressed these men enough that they were willing to disobey the orders of their superiors, which shows that Jesus was a masterful teacher.
John 7:47 Then the Pharisees answered them, "Are you also deceived? 48 "Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? 49 "But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed."
The Pharisees were not happy with the officers, and they questioned them about being deceived. The rulers refer to the Sanhedrin. Since the Jewish leaders were confident they knew the Law well, they made the argument that none of them believed in Jesus. Therefore, He must not be the Son of God, and the only reason the common people believed in Him, was because they were gullible and did not know the Law.
F.F. Bruce writes:
Even the liberal Rabbi Hillel, of the generation before Christ, summed up this attitude when he said, “No member of the common people is pious”. From the Pharisees point of view, the common people could easily be misled by any plausible teacher, because of their shocking ignorance of the true interpretation of the law (F.F. Bruce The Gospel & Epistles of John p.185).
These men were so wise in their own eyes, they could not see the truth. When we read the Scriptures, we discover that God tends to use those who are considered weak or foolish.
As Paul said:
1 Corinthians 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness"; 20 and again, "The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile."
Those who really wanted to know about Jesus would stay with Him and learn more about Him, but the Jewish leaders were too wise for that, so they would dismiss Jesus’ words without really listening to them.
Unfortunately, there are many people who have this same attitude these Jewish leaders had. They think they are so wise that they have everything figured out. When we becomes wise in our own eyes, we become impossible to reason with, and the Scriptures teach that there is more hope for a fool than a person like that (Prov. 26:12). Let’s look at a few more:
Proverbs 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.
Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. (See also Isa. 5:21).
John 7:50 Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, 51 "Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?"
This is the same Nicodemus we read about in John 3. He was a Pharisee and one of the rulers. These Jews could not rightly accuse Nicodemus of being ignorant of the Law of Moses or of their oral traditions, which is why he was able to remind them that a person must be heard first before he is judged (Ex. 23:1; Deut. 1:16).
Even their rabbinic literature states, “Flesh and blood may pass judgment on a man if it hears his words; if it does not hear them, it cannot establish its judgment” (F.F. Bruce The Gospel & Epistles of John p.186).
Nicodemus’ actions prove that not all the rulers were out to get Jesus. We also learn that some of these rulers believed in Jesus, but they were not willing to confess Him because they did not want be put out of the Synagogues (Jn. 12:42).
John 7:52 They
answered and said to him, "Are you also from
Nicodemus was willing to say something in defense of Jesus, they accused him of
being ignorant as well by asking him, “Are you also from
though they were mistaken about this, their main goal was to take away any
possibility of anything great coming out of
Next we read:
John 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 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. 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 "Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" 6 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. 7 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." 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 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?" 11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."
In John 7:53 we learned that the people could not agree
on who Jesus was, so they went to their homes, and verse 1 tells us that Jesus
went to the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives was a ridge of hills east of
Before we continue, I need to mention that John 7:53 – 8:11 has been debated over the years to whether these verses belong in the Gospel of John. If we examine our notes in our Bible on these verses it probably says these verses are not in the most reliable manuscripts. However, these verses do exist in more manuscripts than not.
J.W. McGarvey made this valid point:
This section is wanting in nearly all older manuscripts, but Jerome (A.D. 346-420) says that in his time it was contained “in many Greek and Latin manuscripts,” and these must have been as good or better than the best manuscripts we now possess (J. W. McGarvey, The Fourfold Gospel p. 544).
More sources could be sited, but this shows that these verses were in existence early on because those manuscripts Jerome had access to were much older than the ones we have available today. Also, this story fits perfectly into the text, and it does not contradict anything in the Word of God. Therefore, I believe this is sufficient evidence that these verses belong and are not a later addition.
In verse 2, Jesus goes to the temple early in the morning and teaches the people there. While they were listening to Him, the Scribes and the Pharisees rudely interrupted Him.
They brought a woman caught in adultery and put her in the middle of them. They did this because they were trying to trap Jesus, and they wanted a multitude of witnesses to attest to what they thought would bring about Jesus’ downfall. They said, “Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” As verse 6 teaches, they were trying to find something they could accuse Jesus of. They came up with this scheme that seemed impossible for Jesus to escape. If He said the Law requires her to be put to death, then they could have gone to the Roman officials and had Jesus arrested because Roman law would not allow the Jews to execute anyone. If Jesus said don not put her to death, they could accuse Him of going against the Law of Moses.
Obviously these men had planned this out. This woman was caught in the act of adultery, which indicates she was married. If this woman had been paid to pretend to be adultery, Jesus would have known. Since she was caught in the act, it is possible that she was set up by one of these Jews, and maybe one them was involved in this adultery. This plot is further implied since they only brought the woman to Jesus because the Law of Moses demanded that both parties were to be put to death as can be seen in following verses:
Deuteronomy 22:22 " If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die -- the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel. 23 " If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24 "then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor's wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.
Leviticus 20:10 'The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.
However the Jews pulled off their scheme, it certainly puts Jesus in a difficult position, and it seemed like these Pharisees and Scribes had finally found a way to trap Jesus.
Instead of answering them right away, Jesus built the suspense by stooping down and writing on the floor. Even though this was a stone floor, there was sand and dirt on the floor from the feet of all those who visited the temple area, and this is what Jesus was writing in. This is the only time we find Jesus writing something in the Scriptures. There have been many speculations of why Jesus did this, and many would love to know what He was writing on the floor. Some have taught that Jesus was using this as a delay to gather His thoughts, but that is unlikely because He was always able to provide an answer right away. I believe His silence was intentional and He did it to focus their attention on Him. Some have speculated that He was writing out what He was about to say, while others believe He was writing out a list of sins these Jews were guilty of.
As Jesus wrote on the ground, these Jews kept asking Him the same question over and over. So, Jesus stood up and said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Then Jesus stooped back down and started writing again. When these Pharisees and Scribes came up with this diabolic plot, they never expected an answer like this. Jesus had turned the tables. Now they had to examine themselves and decide what they were going to do. The Law of Moses taught that the witnesses were to be the first to cast the stone, and the others that were there were supposed to join in the execution (Deut. 17: 2-7). Since Jesus knew their hearts, He knew this was the perfect thing to say because apparently they had been guilty of adultery or perhaps other sins that were worthy of death under the Law of Moses. It is also possible that they felt guilty because they arranged for this act of adultery to occur making them accessories in this sin. So, they became convicted by their own conscience and starting with the oldest man, they left one by one.
Those who like to live in sin do not like it when someone points out their sins, and they have two favorite sayings from the Bible: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” and “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Mt. 7:1). They take verses like these out of context and make them teach that we have no right to condemn sin if we have sin in our lives.
One thing Scripture does teach is that if we have the same sins in our lives that we judge others by, we will condemn ourselves in doing so because we are guilty of the same sin. Paul put it this way:
Romans 2:1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?
Too many times we have no problem seeing sin in someone else, but we have a hard time seeing that we have the same sin. However, none of these verses teach that we are not to judge another, we just need to make sure that we judge according to the Word of God and we must also realize that we are subject to that same judgment if we are guilty of sin as well.
When Jesus told these Scribes and Pharisees “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first,” He was exposing their hypocrisy. They were not concerned about this woman’s adultery. They were just using her sin to try to trap an innocent man. If we allow people to take verses like these out of context, then we are allowing them to teach that no one can be judged or punished for their sins. But we know this is not true because Jesus and the rest of Scripture clearly shows that sin is to be dealt with, which is why Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment (Jn. 7:24).” This means that we can judge others, but it has to be a judgment made from God’s Word, which is why Paul commanded the Corinthians to withdraw fellowship from a man living with his father’s wife (1 Cor. 5). There are many other Scriptures that demand that sin be dealt with such as:
Matthew 18:15 " Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 "But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' 17 "And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. 18 "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Luke 17:3 "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
James 5:19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
After these men left, Jesus stood up again and only saw 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.””
For the woman to be condemned to death, there had to be two or three witnesses (Deut. 19:15; 17:6-7). Since, no one was left to establish her sin, Jesus was not going to condemn her to death either. In saying this, He was not condoning her adultery because He told her to, “Go and sin no more.” In this statement, Jesus was telling her to repent and change her ways, which is the same thing Jesus wants from us (Lk. 13:3). If we are not willing to “Go and sin no more,” then we will never be prepared for heaven. This event teaches that God loves us and wants us all to repent and sin no more. Just as Jesus intervened for this woman, He will be an advocate for all who follow Him faithfully (1 Jn. 2:1).
Jesus has much more to say, but we will have to wait until the next lesson to see what else our Great Teaches has to say.
In conclusion, we have seen Jesus captivate the peoples’ attention once again, and though the opposing Jews tried to have Him arrested and then tried to trap Him with an adulterous woman, they could not do it. It had to be extremely frustrating to these opposing Jews who kept failing to trap Jesus or to put Him to death, but as we know, it was not His time yet. Therefore, no matter what they did or said, He would not be put to death until it was time. I love being able to see all these things unfold based on God’s timing and not mans’. It teaches us that nothing can change God’s timing. Considering this fact, we must learn to be patient in our Christians lives as we wait on God’s timing in every aspect of our lives.