John  ◦   Chapter 8

1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to meditate and rest.2At dawn, he again went to the temple courts where the people had gathered, and began to teach them.3The lawyers and Pharisees entrapped a woman into adultery and then threw her down before Jesus in front of the crowd.4Then they slyly said to Jesus, "Wise teacher, this woman was just caught in the very act of adultery.5The Law that Moses gave us commands us to stone such women. Now, wise teacher, what do you say we should do with her?"6They brought her to Jesus and asked this question in an attempt to trap him. If he said, "Let her go," they would accuse him before the people of undermining the Law of Moses; but if he said, "Stone her," they would report him to the Romans as usurping their authority, because only the Romans could inflict the death penalty. But Jesus was not deceived by their trickery. He calmly bent down, and using his finger, began to write in the sand the various sins that those who'd brought the woman before him had committed. He wrote just the sins–no names, no details.7And when they persisted in demanding that Jesus answer, he stood up and said to them, "Whichever of you is without sin, let him be the one to cast the first stone."8Then he bent down and wrote more of their sins in the dirt–no names, no details.

9At this point, those who heard what he said, and saw what he wrote, quietly slipped away... one person at a time: the older ones first, until only Jesus and the woman were left standing there.10Then Jesus said gently to her, "Dear woman, where are all those who brought you here? Has no one condemned you?"

11"No one, sir," she said. "I don't condemn you either," Jesus said. "Now go, and stop injuring yourself by deviating from God's design for life."

12When Jesus again spoke to the people, he said: "I am the true light revealing God's character, principles and methods to the world. Whoever prefers what I am revealing, and opens their mind to understand this truth, will no longer walk in the darkness of Satan's ways, or live in fear of God because of the devil's lies, but will have the truth that brings eternal life."

13But the Pharisees challenged him: "Here you are, promoting yourself! Your testimony is not reliable. You yourself already said that a person promoting themself is not reliable."

14Jesus calmly replied, "Even though I am the One telling you about my purpose here, my account is valid because I know where my mission began and where it will end. But you have no idea where my mission began, or what it entails, or where it will end.15You are always making judgments, using narrow and self-centered perspectives; I don't judge anyone–I heal and restore.16But if I do judge, my conclusions are right, because they are based on the truth, and the truth is seen not by me alone. The truth is also known by my Father who sent me and with whom I stand.17In your own Law, it is written that any testimony, to be valid, must be corroborated by another person.18I am One who bears witness about myself, my mission and purpose; my other witness is my Father who sent me."

19Then they asked him, "Are you sure you even know who your father is? Where is your father?" Jesus replied, "You don't know me nor my character, methods or principles; you don't understand my purpose or mission, nor do you know or understand my Father. If you really knew me (and who I am), you would know my Father also."

20He said this while teaching in the temple near the place where the offerings were put. Yet, even though the religious leaders were enraged by his teaching, no one laid a hand on him, because his mission was not yet complete.

21Again Jesus said to them, "I am going away, and you will look for me — not because you will have come to love and trust me, but in order to undermine me. Having rejected the Remedy for the infection of selfishness, you will die. Where I am going, you are unable to come."

22The Jews were so darkened in their understanding that they asked, "Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, 'Where I go, you are unable to come'?"

23But Christ continued, "You are from this world below and practice the methods of selfishness, which lead only to death; I am from heaven above and practice the methods of selfless love–the principle upon which life is based. You are in harmony with this world's principle of survival-of-the-fittest, and you will kill in order to save yourselves. I am not in harmony with this world's principle of survival-of-the-fittest, and I will lay down my life to save others.24I told you that you would die, because without a Remedy, your condition is terminal: your methods of selfishness lead only to death if you do not believe that I am the One I claim to be–the Remedy for your terminal condition; and if you do not experience a change of heart and mind, you will surely die in the misery of your own selfish state."

25"Who do you think you are?" they asked incredulously. "Exactly what I have been telling you all along: I am the living truth to cure your terminal condition," Jesus replied.26"You are so infected with selfishness and so sick in mind that I could easily spend my time pointing out the extent of your sickness, but the One who sent me is the source of all truth, and my mission is to spend my time revealing the truth about him to the world."

27They did not understand that he was actually speaking about his Father,28so Jesus said, "When you succeed in your schemes and have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will see my true character and know that I am all that I have claimed to be–that all I do is exactly what the Father would do if he were here, because all I have learned has come from him.29The One who sent me is always with me; he enlightens my mind, he has never left me alone, and everything I do pleases him, for I represent his character perfectly."30While he was speaking, many of the people put their trust in him.

31Jesus said to those Jews who trusted him, "If you value and internalize the truths, principles and methods I am teaching, you will experience transformation of mind and regeneration of character, and will be my true followers and representatives.32Then you will experience the healing power of the truth, and the truth will set your entire being free."

33But the Jews who rejected him answered indignantly, "We are the descendants of Abraham and are no one's slaves. Since we are not slaves, what are you talking about when you say that we shall be set free?"

34Jesus replied, "I tell you the simple truth; Everyone who practices the methods of selfishness is a slave to selfishness.35Now, a ‘slave of selfishness‘ has no permanent place in the family of love, but a ‘son of love‘ belongs to the family forever.36So if the Son sets your hearts and minds free from selfishness, you will be free to love indeed.37I know you are genetic descendants of Abraham. Yet unlike Abraham, you have rejected my methods, teachings, and principles and are ready to kill me.38I am showing you and telling you the way the Father runs his kingdom–in truth, love, and freedom; but you prefer the methods of deceit, selfishness and coercion, which you learned from your father."

39"Abraham is our father!" they shouted. "If you were more than genetic descendants — if you were children of Abraham in values and character — then you would practice the methods Abraham did, and embrace the truth.40But instead, you prefer lies, and you are determined to kill me, the One who has brought you the truth–the only Remedy to heal you–which God himself gave me. Abraham did not reject truth or prefer lies,41but you don't practice Abraham's values. No! You are doing what your own father does." "We were not born illegitimately!" they protested: "The only Father we have is God himself."

42With tears in his eyes, Jesus replied, "If God were really your Father, you would love me, for I came from the Father and am an exact representation of him. I have not come on my own account but as his ambassador to reveal him to the world.43Why don't you understand what I am saying to you? It is because your minds are so darkened with your preconceived ideas and your preference for a god like yourselves that you are unwilling to open your minds and receive the truth I bring.44You belong to your father, the devil: you prefer his methods, share his motives, and carry out his desires. His methods lead only to death, and from the beginning he has been murdering all who follow him. He rejects all that is true, because truth exposes him as a fraud. He speaks the language of lies, which he invented, for he is a liar and the father of all who lie.45And because I tell the truth, and you prefer lies, you will not believe me!46Can any of you prove me guilty of selfishness or any violation of God's methods and principles? Since I am telling the truth and reveal only God's character, why don't you believe me?47A person who has been reconciled to God, and practices God's methods and principles, understands God's ways. The reason you do not understand is that you have rejected God's methods and principles, and refuse to be reconciled to him."

48The Jews were incensed and said, "We know we are right to call you a filthy Samaritan and a crazy, demon-possessed nut."

49Jesus calmly replied, "I am not crazy or demon-possessed. My actions and conduct bring honor to my Father, as I accurately represent him. But you dishonor me.50I am not here seeking glory and honor for myself; there is One other who is concerned with my honor, and he accurately diagnoses all things.51I tell you the truth, if anyone incorporates into their lives the principles I am teaching, they will never die."

52The Jews were shocked and exclaimed, "Now we know for sure that you are either crazy or demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did God’s spokespersons, yet you say that if anyone practices what you teach, they will never die.53Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did God’s spokespersons. Who do you think you are?"

54Jesus replied, "If I promote myself or seek glory for myself, it is meaningless. But my Father, whom you claim as your God, is the One who honors and glorifies me.55You do not know him or value his methods, or appreciate his character, but I do. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you; but I do know him and value his methods, appreciate his character, and practice his principles. In fact, I am his very thoughts made audible and visible.56Your father Abraham was filled with joy just at the thought of seeing me; and he did see me and was glad."

57"You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews retorted, "and you have seen Abraham?"

58"I tell you the truth," Jesus said, "before Abraham was even born, I AM! I AM he who created all things. I AM he who has always been."59The Jews could take no more and in a rage, they picked up stones with which to stone him; but Jesus disappeared from their sight and left the temple grounds.