For an introduction to this series, click here.
May 4, 2007
Sorry it's been so long, and it's going to be longer since I write again, because I'm going to be out of town this weekend.
As I said before, the legitimacy of the first story in this chapter, the woman caught in adultery, is somewhat in doubt. I’m no expert to have a real opinion on whether or not it should be included in the text. For my purpose, I want to treat it as legitimate and offer a different take: what if this woman was a friend of His that He knew was not guilty of what they were accusing her of? Most of us always assume that she really was caught in bed with a man, but what if she wasn't, and the Pharisees were trying to embarrass Jesus? I realize the story assumes that she was, but we are also not told much of anything about her. All we have is the word of the religious leaders. What if they were lying? Such a scenario makes a lot of what Jesus does make more sense.
The rest of the chapter destroys the myth that Jesus never claimed to be God. In this chapter Jesus does in fact claim to be God multiple times. First of all, Jesus says "You neither know me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also." (8:19) In the same context Jesus says: "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (8:23-24)
Later, Jesus confronts their sin in wanting to kill him, saying that Abraham would not be wanting to kill Him, so they should not rest in claim to being children of Abraham. Jesus says, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me." (8:42)
It’s honestly hard to tell sometimes if the religious leaders knew who Jesus was and opposed Him because He was upsetting their status quo or if they were really blind to who Jesus was. I kind of think there were probably examples of both. The Sadducees, Pharisees, scribes, etc., were not exactly a monolithic group. They had many ongoing conflicts and disagreements among themselves.
Later, but in the same conversation (it is obvious that this entire chapter is one long conversation between the Jewish leaders and Jesus) Jesus says, "If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." (8:51)
The people asked Him, "Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?" Jesus replied, among other things, "It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, 'He is our God.'" Then He concludes His statement by saying "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." (8:58, ESV)