Whose Testimony is Valid? John 8v1-30 Outline

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Whose Testimony is Valid?

John 8v1-30


John 8v1-11: Lay Down Your Stones

John 8v12-30: The Sent One is the Light that will be Lifted Up


The context for the remained of chapter 8 is still the Festival of the Tabernacles. Jesus continues to teach (and provoke) form within the confines of the Temple.

In our first vignette we witness a terrible and tender moment between Jesus, a woman caught in an unfortunate scenario, and the Jewish religious leaders. Despite the fact that it isn’t found in most of the earliest manuscripts, it has been clearly accepted by most scholars as authentic to John.
In our second vignette, Jesus once again encounters the ire of the religious leaders. Picking up once again on this theme of “light” Jesus continues to insist that only those that the Father has drawn and given the ability to digest his words are worthy of an eternal audience. Jesus and the Father are valid witnesses (much more so that the “men” who dragged the woman caught in adultery) and therefore Jesus’ ministry is weighted with divine support. This is too difficult a pill for the Jewish leaders to swallow and they continue to be at odds with the one who has come to call himself, “the Son of Man.”

John 8v1-11: Lay Down Your Stones
Q1: What kind of emotions does this story evoke in you? Do you feel any sympathy for the woman at all? Why or why not?
Q2: What do you think was truly important to the religious authorities?

Q3: What do you think that this story is really about? The immorality of adultery? Judging correctly? Being careful to not pretend to be better than others? Remember we all have sin? Something else altogether?

Q4: Lets look at Lev. Lev. 20v10, Dt. 22v22-24, who or what is missing in the story her in John, that might suggest that this is a set up?
Q5: Why do you think that Jesus doesn’t condemn her?

John 8v12-30: The Sent One is the Light that will be Lifted Up
Notice the rony of verse 13, the Pharisees say, “here you are appearing as your own witness” isn’t that just what they were doing with the woman caught in adultery
Q1: Jesus says in verse 15, “You judge by human standards, I pass judgment on no one.” What do you imagine Jesus means? Does he really “judge” no one? How might Jesus’ very presen in the world be an act of judgment? How might Jesus judge differently than we do? What do you think “judgment” in this context means? Especially since in verse 26, Jesus says that he, “has much to say in judgment of you.”
Q2: There’s much talk, or at least much implied talk, about valid “witnesses” here in these verses. The Pharisees say that they have caught this woman in the “very act” of adultery, and Jesus says that he and his Father’s testimony are valid witnesses to the truthfulness of the message. Let’s read Dt 17v6-7. What does this say about the nature of what it means to be a witness? How might it be applied both to the woman and to the validity of Jesus’ testimony?

Q3: Jesus accuses those who speicialize in the religious institution of not knowing him. How do you think this is possible. In what ways is it possible to spend a great deal of time reading, studying, praying and talking about God and miss the point altogether? Do you think this happens today?

Q4: Jesus says in verse 24, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” What is the nature of belief? How might you and I express our belief in Jesus? Is it enough simply to give mental assent to a series of propositions? Why or why not?
Q5: in Proverbs 4v18-19, righteousness is equated with “light” and wickedness with “darkness.” How do you think darkness and light are appropriate metaphors for the vitality or disease of the spiritual life?


  • Simply a later addition to the Gospel of John

    • Uniqueness

      • Only time “scribes” is used in John in the Greek

      • Mount of Olives never mentioned in John but frequently cited in Synoptics

      • Had been attributed to Luke before

      • Only place in John’s Gospel where Jesus is addressed as “teacher”

  • Where is the man? See Lev. 20v10, Dt 22v22-24

    • That’s not exactly what the law of Moses says

  • V7 see Dt 17v6-7

  • Jesus is not provided with enough info to even judge the Law properly

  • Whose sin was the issue here? Not apparently, the woman’s.

  • Jesus wrote on the ground:

    • In the ANE, this would have been understood as Jesus’ refusal of engagement; it would have been readily understood as such.

    • Note, that Jesus doesn’t ever answer the question.
  • The oldest leave first indicating that even the senior most revered members of the community are not without sin.

  • Jesus’ reaction seems to level the playing field so to speak: both the religious elite and the woman in questions are victims of sin.

  • V12 during the Festival, 16 golden bowls full of oil would have been lit in the inner courts of the Temple. Again, John uses this appropriate backdrop to signify and give meaning to what Jesus says.

  • Light is a very important element in the Festival of Tabernacles

  • Temple Treasury was located next to the Court of the Women, which was the sight of the Feasts light celebration.

  • Irony of verse 13, the Pharisees say, “here you are appearing as your own witness” isn’t that just what they were doing with the woman caught in adultery?

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