February 12 2023 Sunday School
download this mp3
Right-click on the link above and choose "Save Link As"
to download this audio.

Delivered By
John Kepple
Delivered On
February 12, 2023 at 10:30 AM
Central Passage
John 8:3-18
Session 10 - I Am the Light

I Am the Light
Jesus offers grace and forgiveness to all who repent and believe in Him.
JOHN 8:3-18
Mammoth Cave in south-central Kentucky is the largest known cave system in the world. The
mapped system covers 420 miles. During guided tours, guests are given the opportunity to
experience complete darkness. The Bible compares our sin-filled world to living in darkness.
Just like turning on the lights provides comfort and direction when in a cave, Jesus provides light
in our world. He brings hope and assurance to anyone who will receive Him.
What is the darkest place you have ever been in? What emotions did you experience?
JOHN 8:1-59
Following a confrontation at the temple, the Pharisees went to their houses while Jesus went to
the Mount of Olives on the east side of Jerusalem (8:1). He often spent entire nights praying in
the garden of Gethsemane on the slopes of that famous mountain. His spiritual preparation was
needed on the following morning as He returned to the temple and continued teaching near the
treasury. Hoping to trap Him, the religious leaders brought a woman who had been caught in the
act of adultery. Demanding He say what should be done with her, these hypocrites were not
interested in justice. They simply wanted to diminish Jesus in the eyes of the people. Confronting
the Pharisees’ insincerity, Jesus showed compassion toward the woman. At the same time, He
warned her to sin no more.
After the woman’s accusers silently slipped away, Jesus turned His attention to the crowd that
had been listening. When He declared Himself to be the light of the world, the remaining
Pharisees attacked Him more directly.
The scene led Jesus to reflect on the day when He would leave and they would not be able to find
Him. The Jewish leaders couldn’t comprehend this mysterious prophecy of His crucifixion,
resurrection, and ascension. Even some of the people who had begun to believe in Him were
confused at His claim to offer truth that could set them free.
The Jews appealed to their heritage as Abraham’s descendants. Jesus responded that Abraham
had been given a vision of the Messiah and rejoiced. He went further and claimed to be the
Anointed One. In doing so, Jesus employed the phrase “I am” that was uniquely associated with
the name of God. Furious, the people took up stones to kill Him but Jesus left without injury
because His time had not arrived.
Read John 8:3-18, paying close attention to how Jesus responded to those who opposed him.
How do Jesus’s actions complement His teachings?
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. 5 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.
The religious leaders put Jesus to the test. They brought unto him a woman who had been taken
in adultery, in the very act. Scripture does not say why they did not bring the man as well. He too
would have faced the same fate as the woman. These religious experts stated that the law of
Moses commanded the woman be stoned to death. They challenged Jesus: but what sayest thou?
Exactly what did Old Testament law call for? It demanded that married individuals who
committed adultery were to be put to death but it did not specify how. If, however, an engaged
woman was unfaithful to her fiancé, both parties involved in the sexual encounter were to be
stoned to death (Deut. 22:22-24).
Thus, if the woman was married, Old Testament law did not demand she be stoned. Further, if
she was engaged to another man, then both parties involved in the sexual encounter were to be
stoned. In this story, the man was nowhere to be found. Regardless of the woman’s marital
status, these experts in the law were wrong in what they said had to be done.
Their motive, though, was not to enforce the law of Moses but to trap Jesus. They hoped His
response would give them what they needed to accuse him. If Jesus disagreed the woman should
be stoned, they would accuse Him of denying the Mosaic law. If He pronounced, “Stone her!”
then the scribes and Pharisees could report to the Romans that He had defied their authority by
pronouncing an execution. Sadly, in hopes of destroying Him, they proved they were willing to
destroy this woman.
Jesus responded by stooping down and with his finger wrote on the ground. Did He write the
names of women He had seen with these men? Did He write Jeremiah 17:13, which states that
those who turn away from God will be written in the dirt? Scripture does not reveal what He
How does self-righteousness get in the way of grace?
Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the
creative purpose of God. (See Psalm 32:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.)
FREED (JOHN 8:7-11)
7 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. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote
on the ground. 9 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. 10 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.
What Jesus wrote did not discourage the woman’s accusers—they continued asking Jesus. These
indignant and judgmental men were evidently confident in their own righteousness—especially
when they compared themselves to this woman who had been caught in the very act of adultery.
Ready to announce His decision, Jesus lifted up himself. Shockingly, rather than say, “Stone
her!” Jesus said, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. Can you
imagine how high the tension was at that moment? Without saying another word, Jesus again
stooped down and wrote on the ground.
No one could accuse Jesus of not upholding Jewish law. He had not disregarded or minimized
the woman’s sin. In fact, His instruction to be the first to cast a stone was in accord with an Old
Testament law. It taught that if someone were found to be guilty of idolatry, then the accuser’s
hand was to be “first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people”
(Deut. 13:9). So, the one(s) who had caught the woman in the act of adultery should have cast
the first stone.
Those who had attempted to indict the woman and trap Jesus had instead been indicted and
trapped by their own sin. One can almost see their shoulders drooping as they went out one by
Why did the eldest leave first? Maybe they had more sins to remember and thus recalled them
more quickly. Maybe they were quicker to realize that Jesus had deflated their self-serving
scheme. In a culture that gave deference to age, after the older men left, the younger men would
have followed suit. For the younger men to stay after the older men had left could have been
interpreted as an indictment against the older men’s sinfulness.
After the men left, Jesus spoke to the woman for the first time. He used the culturally expected
term, woman, to address her. In no way did Jesus imply the woman was innocent. Quite the
opposite, saying, Neither do I condemn thee indicated Jesus knew she had sinned. Yet He was
putting into practice what He said to Nicodemus, “For God sent not his Son into the world to
condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17). Rather than
condemning her because of her sin, Jesus exercised His divine right to forgive her sin.
The final words Jesus spoke to the woman had to be truly liberating. He commanded her to walk
away from her former life—a life marked by sin. He was not expecting her to live a sinless life;
no one can. Yet He knew this experience would transform her. In the future she would be able to
look back at this personal encounter with Jesus and say that was the moment that old things
passed away and all things became new (see 2 Cor. 5:17).
Why is it easier to point out other people’s sin rather than deal with our own?
BIBLE SKILL: Identify the imagery in a verse or passage and discover what it communicates.
Review John 1:4-5. Contrast Jesus’s statements about the light of the world in John 8:12 and 9:5.
Since Jesus is the Light of the world, what did He mean when He said that His disciples are “the
light of the world” (Matt. 5:14)? How did the apostle Paul add to this concept in Philippians
2:15? How can we shine the light of Christ’s gospel on an unbelieving world (2 Cor. 4:4)?
SHINING (JOHN 8:12-18)
12 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. 14 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.
Part of the nightly ritual during the Festival of Shelters included the lighting of a massive lamp, likely a menorah, in the temple’s court of women. This rite was a reminder of the Lord leading His people in the wilderness with a pillar of fire at night (Ex. 13:21-22). This ceremony in the temple formed the backdrop of Jesus saying, I am the light of the world.
In John’s Gospel, this was the second of the seven “I am” statements Jesus made. The Jews would have understood His use of “I am” as Jesus equating Himself with God the Father. After all, this was the same name God had revealed for Himself to Moses at the burning bush (Ex. 3:13-14).
The pillar of fire present during the wilderness wanderings had been a visible manifestation of God’s presence with His people (Ex. 13:21). In this second “I am” statement, Jesus was identifying Himself as being the divine presence of God. He came, though, not just for the Jews but to be the light of the world. Accompanying this statement was the promise that he that followeth Him would not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Although the light is offered for all, only those who follow Him become its beneficiaries. Some scholars translate this last phrase as “the light that is life” or “the light that produces spiritual life.” However, the syntax more accurately refers to how Jesus illuminates godly living. His presence exposed sins such as the hypocrisy of the religious leaders as well as the moral sin of the adulterous woman. Jesus also illuminates the path of anyone who follows Him. Not only is His Word a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path (Ps. 119:105), but Jesus Himself lights our way.
John chapters 6, 7, and 8 include three comparisons of Jesus to a provision God made for His people during their wilderness wanderings. God provided manna, water, and light. Jesus referred to Himself as the manna that had come down from heaven (John 6:32-35); the source of living water (7:37-38); and the light for all who follow Him (8:12).
VERSES 13-18
The Pharisees called into question the testimony Jesus had given. They did not question the content of what Jesus said; rather, they contested His words on a legal technicality. They said His testimony was not true, meaning not trustworthy. Jewish law required there to be two or three witnesses before a testimony was considered reliable (Num. 35:30; Deut. 19:15). Notice, though, that Jesus spoke of testifying about Himself, but not about testifying by Himself.
Jesus had earlier stated that He knew a testimony He gave about Himself would not be considered valid (John 5:31). Rather than argue this point with the Pharisees, He pointed out what He knew that they did not—where He had come from and where He was going. He
understood that His origin and destination gave validity to His words about Himself. Their not
knowing these essential elements about Jesus demonstrated they were not equipped to make a
judgment about Him.
The Father had given Jesus the authority to judge (John 5:27). The statement I judge no man
should be understood as saying, “I judge no one by myself.” Jesus clarified this when He stated, I
am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
In verses 17-18, Jesus returned to the topic of having two required witnesses. He explained that
He testified about Himself, and in His last statement Jesus named His supporting witness—the
Father. Whereas the law required that a testimony had to be established by two witnesses, Jesus
named the Creator of the universe as being His.
Layer upon layer, Jesus was strengthening His argument that His testimony was both reliable and
true. He ultimately did so by joining Himself intimately with the God that the Pharisees claimed
to know and follow themselves. The intimacy that Jesus shared with the Father validates that we
can still rely on His words and promises for our lives today.
How do we know that Jesus can be trusted for telling the truth?
• Believers must be aware of the traps of judging others.
• Believers should seek to be agents of God’s forgiveness.
• Believers can testify with confidence that Jesus offers forgiveness.
As a group, create a list of characteristics of a group that functions as agents of God’s
forgiveness. Using the characteristics listed, evaluate how well your group functions as these
types of agents. How can the group be agents of God’s forgiveness to a greater degree?
Think about your own life. When you see others doing wrong, for what mistakes are you more
likely to demand justice? For which faults do you extend grace? Be ready to discuss your
answers with your Bible study group. What can you do this week to extend grace and