In John chapter 8 we see that the religious people are again jealous because many are following Jesus. So the leaders bring a woman to Jesus in verses 3 and 4, we read: “As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
According to the letter of the Law, the woman would be killed. In Leviticus 20:10 we read, “If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.”
The blood thirsty religious leaders wanted Jesus to order the woman killed. But Jesus said in verse 7, ““All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
According to the law we should all be killed because we have all committed adultery against the Lord. We have all gone and worshipped other gods in our heart, that is spiritual adultery. We love God, but we are not perfect. Jesus was looking at the Spirit of the Law. He knew that this woman was weak in her flesh, because she is human. It is no excuse to sin, but Jesus did not want her killed because of her weakness. Jesus showed mercy. We have all sinned, and instead of sending us to hell, God forgive us through the death of Christ for us. This is another part of the Spirit of the Law.
John further explores the difference between the letter of the Law and the Spirit of the Law when he looks at the divinity of Christ. In Exodus 20:3 we read, “You must not have any other god but me.” The Jews believed that God could never become a man. But this is a man-made law, it is not a law in the Bible. God can do whatever He wants.
Jesus tells the Jews in verse 23 and 24 that He is God. We read:
“You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.”
Jesus is saying that we have to believe He is God or we will die in our sins and go to hell. If we want to go to heaven, we have to have our sins forgiven. Only God can forgive our sins. Jesus said He can forgive our sins, so if only God can forgive our sins, and Jesus can forgive our sins, we have to believe He is God.
But, because the Jews were following the letter of the man-made law that said “God cannot be man”, the missed the Spirit of the Law, that says that Jesus is God because of what Jesus did. Only God can do what Jesus did, but because of their hard hearts and jealousy, the Jews could not see the truth about who Jesus was.
In verse 39 Jesus says: “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example. Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. No, you are imitating your real father.”
What example is Jesus talking about in verse 39? What example did Abraham do that everyone who believes in God should follow?
Abraham believed in Christ. Abraham believed that Christ would leave heaven and appear on earth. Abraham believed that Jesus would walk on the earth and die on the cross. Abraham was a Christian.
In Genesis 22:8 Abraham said: “God will provide a sheep.” In Genesis 22:14 Abraham said, “Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”).”
So we see that people in the Old Testament were Christians, even though Jesus had not appeared yet on earth.
In verse 44 of John chapter 8 Jesus says to the religious leaders, “For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”
Jesus is saying that anyone who says they believe in God, will say that Jesus is God. We read in John 8 starting at verse 54: “ “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’[i] 55 but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.”
These were very strong words for Jesus and we can see his run in with the Jewish leaders coming to a head. More and more the enemies of Christ were wanting to kill him, and as we shall see, eventually they will nail Jesus to a cross and kill him.