The Word “Believe” in the Gospel of John - Part 19:
The Woman caught in Adultery:
After the Jew’s confrontation with Jesus while He was teaching in the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles, as recorded in John 7, everyone went home, John 7:5353 And every man went unto his own house.
, and Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early the next day both the people and Jesus returned to the temple where He again taught, John 8:1 & 21 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
. The Jews had marveled at Jesus’ knowledge, even though He had never studied with them, John 7:1515 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
. Now, in an effort to find fault with Him, some Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Him who they said was caught in the act of adultery, John 8:2 - 42 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
, and there is no record she denied it. The accusers said that according to Moses’ Law she should be stoned and asked Jesus what He had to say about it, John 8:55 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
According to the Law, the adulterous man as well as the woman were to be put to death, Deuteronomy 22:22 - 2422 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
; Leviticus 18:2020 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her.
, but in this case they didn’t bring the man. When they asked what Jesus would do, He stooped and wrote with His finger on the floor of the Temple, John 8:5 & 65 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
. It would be interesting to know what He wrote but the Holy Spirit didn’t chose to reveal this. However, we should remember that before He came to earth as a Man, Jesus was the Word of God, that is, the Second Person of the Trinity, John 1:11 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
, 2 & 14. So it was He Who stooped down from Heaven to Mt. Sinai and wrote the Law with His finger on two stones for Moses and the Nation Israel, Exodus 31:1818 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
. While there on the Mount, He advised Moses that His people had already corrupted themselves, turning aside from Him by making a golden calf to worship. God was angry and said He would consume the Israelites and in their place make a great nation out of Moses, Exodus 32:7 - 107 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:
8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
9 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
, but Moses prayed that He would spare Israel and God relented, Exodus 32:11 - 1411 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the Law he found the people dancing naked and worshiping the golden idol. He threw the stone tablets to the ground, breaking them, just as the Israelites had broken God’s commandment prohibiting the worship of any other god, Exodus 32:15 - 1915 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.
17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.
18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.
19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
. Moses sent Levites though the camp that killed 3000 men with their swords (probably the main instigators and there were probably more than 3000 killed because this count did not include women slain) Exodus 32:26 - 2826 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD's side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.
28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
. Moses went back up to Mount Sinai and asked God to forgive the people, but if God did not do so, he asked God to blot his name out of God’s book (of life.) God answered that he would blot out those who sinned against Him and send plagues upon them because they had worshiped the golden calf, Exodus 32:30 - 3530 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.
31 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
34 Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.
35 And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.
. The 33rd chapter of Exodus records, among other things, God’s command to leave Sinai; to build the Tabernacle; Moses’ prayer for God’s grace to the people and the Lord’s Glory displayed to Moses. The Lord told Moses to prepare two more tablets of stone and return to Mount Sinai where He again wrote His Law on the tablets, Exodus 34:1 - 41 And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.
2 And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.
3 And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.
4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.
. Noteworthy is the fact that the second time God wrote on the tablets, He proclaimed to Moses His mercy, grace, longsuffering, goodness, truth and forgiveness, Exodus 34:5 - 75 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
A parallel between what happened at Mount Sinai and with the woman caught in adultery can be observed: the God who stooped to earth and wrote the law on the tablets of stone on two occasions is the same God Who came to earth as the Man Jesus Christ who wrote twice on the Temple floor. After Jesus wrote on the Temple floor the first time, John 8:66 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
, the woman’s accusers continued asking what He would do with her and “... he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:77 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
b. Then He stooped and wrote on the floor again, John 8:88 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
. We recall that the first time God wrote on the stone tablets for Moses, those tablets were broken because the people had broken God’s law. However, when He wrote the law on the tablets the second time Moses had said: “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Exodus 32:3232 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
and it was after this that God displayed His mercy, grace and forgiveness.
When those who accused the woman heard (saw, understood) what Jesus wrote, along with His statement that any of them without sin should cast the first stone, their consciences convicted them and they left, leaving the woman standing alone with Him, John 8:99 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
. Their “conscience being convicted” indicates the accusers themselves had been guilty of adultery either with this woman or others, and they probably had set her up by sending in the man they caught her with. They were ignorant of who they were dealing with; Jesus knew not only their thoughts, but also their past deeds; He was God in the flesh.
Jesus forgave the woman and told her to leave and sin no more, John 8:10 - 1110 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
. He had the authority to forgive sins as He was God in human form and came to seek and save that which was lost, Luke 9:1010 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.
. He didn’t come to condemn, John 3:1717 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
, but to offer forgiveness, which He ultimately made possible by giving His life for those who believed on Him, John 12:47 & 4847 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
. When He returns to earth the second time it will be different, He will visit judgment on those throughout the ages who have not believed on Him, Matthew 11:22 - 2422 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
; 12:36; John 5:22 - 2922 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
; Romans 14:1010 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
; Jude 1:14 & 1514 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
John then records Jesus’ teaching and dialog with the Jewish leaders, during which the word “believe” occurs 5 times. He taught that He was the Light of the World and those who followed Him would have the Light of Life and not walk in darkness. The Pharisees retorted that Jesus was bearing witness of Himself and His witness was not true, John 8:12 & 1312 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
13 The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.
. Jesus said His witness was true; He knew where He came from and where He was going while they did not because they judged according to human understanding, that is, what they perceived by their senses. Jesus said His judgment was not like theirs; His being verified by His Father, as the Law required the testimony of two, so He and His Father’s testimony was perfectly true (accurate), John 8:14 - 1814 Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
18 I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
. The Jews asked where His Father was and Jesus answered that they neither knew Him nor His Father because if they had known Him (recognized Him as the Son of God, their Messiah) they would have known (recognized) that Almighty God was His Father, John 8:1919 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
19 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
John notes that Jesus was teaching in the Treasury of the Temple (where the Jews gave their tithes, Mark 12:4141 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
, 43; Luke 21:11 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
) and even though the Jews wanted to arrest Him, no one did because God would not allow it until it was time for Jesus to offer Himself up, John 8:2020 These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.
. Jesus told them He would go His way and although they sought Him they would die in their sins and could not come where He went, John 8:2121 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.
. The Jews obviously had no idea what He was talking about because they asked if He meant He was going to kill Himself, John 8:2222 Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.
. Jesus said that they were of this earth while He was from heaven (meaning they were born of sinful flesh - out from Adam, while Jesus was sinless, from Heaven) and if they didn’t believe He was “I AM” (God Himself) they would die in their sins, John 8:23 & 2423 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
They asked Jesus who he was and He answered that He had been telling them from the beginning; that He had many things to say and judge (discern) because God the Father sent Him is True (Truth in essence) and the things the Father gave Him are what He spoke to the world, John 8:25 & 2625 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
. They didn’t understand He was talking about God the Father, John 8:2727 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
. Jesus said that when they lifted Him up (crucified Him) they would know He was “I AM” (God Himself) and that He said only the things He received from God the Father and everything He did was to please the Father, John 8:28 & 2928 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
. While Jesus spoke these words, many believed on Him, John 8:3030 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
; Jesus said to those who believed: “... If ye continue in my word, (the words He had been saying from the beginning) then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31 & 3231 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
. They answered that they were Abraham’s seed and were never in bondage and asked what He meant that they would be free, John 8:3333 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Jesus, referring to Himself as the Son, told them they were sinners and as such they would not dwell in the house (their mortal bodies) forever; He (the Son) would live forever but that if He (the Son) made them free they would be free for ever (eternal life), John 8:34 - 3634 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
. Jesus said He knew they were Abraham’s seed but they sought to kill Him because His Word had no place in them (they did not believe Him). Jesus told them He spoke exactly according to His Father’s will while they spoke according to their father (later identified as the Devil), John 8:37 & 3837 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
. The Jews retorted that Abraham was their father. Jesus said if Abraham was their father they would do the works of Abraham (believe, Romans 4:33 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
; Galations 3:6; James 2:2323 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
) but instead they sought to kill Him even though He told them the truth from God. He said Abraham did not seek to kill Him but they did the deeds of their father (Satan), John 8:39 - 4139 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
a. The Jews said Abraham was their father; they were not bastards. Jesus told them that if God were their father they would love Him because He came from God; they didn’t understand what He was saying because they were of their father the devil who was a murderer and the father of lies. They didn’t believe Him because He was saying the Truth; they couldn’t believe in Him because they could not understand what He was saying because they were not “of God,” John 8:4141 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
b - 47.
The Jews then called Jesus a Samaritan with a devil to which Jesus replied He did not have a devil. He honored His Father while they dishonored Him; He did not seek His own glory; God Judges and if anyone kept His Word (believed on Him) he would never die, John 8:48 - 5148 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.
50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
. The Jews then said they knew Jesus had a devil because Abraham and the Prophets were all dead, yet Jesus said those who believed His Word would never die, asking just who Jesus was making Himself out to be, John 8:52 & 5352 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
. Jesus told them He did not honor Himself, it was God Who honored Him, the same God they claimed as theirs but they didn’t know God, but Jesus knew Him and kept His sayings. Jesus said Abraham rejoiced to see Jesus come and when he saw it he was glad, John 8:54 - 5654 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
. The Jews said Jesus was not yet 50 years old and asked if He had seen Abraham. “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:5858 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
. The Jews knew He was claiming to be God when He said “I AM;” this is what He told Abraham in Genesis 15:11 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
, 7 & 17:1, and He is identified as such many times in the Old Testament. When they heard His claim to be God they picked up stones to stone Him but Jesus escaped from them, .
This entire episode demonstrates perfectly the purpose of the Gospel of John, that is, to present Jesus Christ as God Himself. He knew the hearts of men and although some claimed to believe, John 8:30 & 3130 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
, they were sinners and unless and until they truly believed in Him as God, John 8:2424 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
, 45 & 46, they could not hear (understand) His Word ... because they were “not of God,” John 8:19, 43, 47.