Messages‎ > ‎

John 8a Sunday Message



John 8:1-12

Key Verse 8:12


When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”


First, "If anyone of you is without sin..." (1-9). In the previous passage, we heard Jesus’ invitation to a truly fulfilling life. During the Feast, people enjoyed a lot of fun and excitement. But when the party was over, they were still unsatisfied. Even the climax of the Feast, the Water-Pouring Ceremony, could not satisfy their hearts. They were empty. Seeing the unquenched thirst of people, Jesus invited them to himself, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” What people need for the fulfilling life is not money, pleasures, or fame, but Jesus. They need to pursue Jesus. After the Feast, each went to his home for good night's sleep. But Jesus went up to the Mount of Olives to pray. Look at verse 2. “At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.” The facts that Jesus went to the mountain to pray and then, the next day he went to the temple at dawn suggest that something was bothering him greatly. He saw people’s unquenched thirst despite their religious life. The next morning, at dawn, he went to the temple – this shows that Jesus would fight for this matter very positively. After having a vigorous struggle with this matter in prayer, at dawn he resolutely went to the temple, and as he had expected, there were people, waiting for him. So, what did he do for them? He taught them the word of God. In Jesus’ eyes, the only real solution was the word of God. He believed that through studying the word of God with him, they would come to him and drink. The word of God he taught would bring to them the streams of living water welling up to eternal life within them.


Also, we are really surprised that, after the 8 days’ feast, there were people who came to the temple at dawn. What kind of people were they? They were the ones who sought God sincerely; or they were the ones who were very touched by Jesus’ message on the previous day. Maybe, after hearing Jesus’ message on the last and greatest day of the Feast, they could not sleep very well. All night long, as they lied on the bed, his words were lingering in their ears continually. “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” Jesus’ message contained deep truth. They sensed something profound; each expression in Jesus’ words kept coming to their minds – “If anyone is thirsty,” “as the Scripture has said,” “streams of living water.” They tossed back and forth all night long. Then, as soon as they saw the glimpse of the sun rising from the east, they got out of their cozy bed, and made their journey to the temple. Then as they had expected, Jesus was there waiting for them. When Jesus saw them, he began to teach them. There are always the people who respond to God’s message; once they taste the goodness of the word of God, they are eager to come to Bible study, sometimes, early in the morning, sometimes, late night. We look for such people and teach them the word of God diligently.


While Jesus’ Bible teaching class was going very well, suddenly, there was a big commotion. Everyone looked around, and there was a woman dragged by the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. They made her stand before the people, and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”


What a shameful moment it was for the woman! The temptation of sin sounded so sweet, but now, she had to pay the price of her sin, and it was very costly. When she lived according to her sinful nature, she was thrown down to the ground to be condemned. She was exposed shamefully. Many people sin secretly. But sin always finds them, and they have to pay its price. When their families are broken, when their children are scattered as the result of their sins, they weep over others’ shoulders bitterly saying that they don’t know why their lives are so hard. Proverbs 13:15 says that the way of the unfaithful is hard. Originally, God made woman to be a helper suitable for man. God understood that with the help of a suitable helper, man would be able to serve God’s mission more effectively and fruitfully. So He made a woman from the man’s side and established marriage, so that together, they, husband and wife, might form a dream team for God’s purpose and serve God’s will so effectively. When women live for this purpose, they look beautiful, and their influence is great. They are honored, respected and loved by all people generation after generation. Proverbs 31:30 reads: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” But when women give up this will of God upon their lives and give into their sinful desires, they lose their value and become worthless. No one honors such women. This woman was a Jewess, and she could have been a great woman of God, a mother of prayer for all nations. But now as the result of giving herself to sinful desires, she was thrown down to the ground to be condemned and utterly shameful.


The Pharisees and the teachers of the law knew the right answer to this question. As they said, it was written in the Bible that such a woman must be stoned to death. They expected that Jesus would say this. Then, Jesus would be pictured as a cruel man - who would like that kind of a cruel man? Moreover, Jesus would be guilty for instructing the first degree murder according to the Roman law. Even if Jesus said otherwise, still they would be able to accuse Jesus of not keeping God's words; they would advertise that Jesus was not from God. Now Jesus was trapped. Either way, he would be accused. The religious leaders so cleverly devised this trap that either yes or no, they would win, and Jesus would lose. They were confident now that they had trapped Jesus.


What was his response? Jesus first bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” According to the Old Testament Law, such woman should be stoned to death. So Jesus told them to kill her. She deserved death penalty. But there was a condition: “Who would be the first to throw a stone at her?” This first one to throw a stone at her was the one who would testify against her, testifying that she deserved death penalty, and once he condemned her guilty and threw a stone at her, then, all other people would join in the execution by throwing stones at her. So, that person would be responsible for the execution. The question was, "Who would be that person?" "Who could be qualified to condemn her?” Who would take all the responsibility for this woman's execution? Jesus set a clear criteria for anyone to be the first to throw a stone at her, by saying, “If anyone of you is without sin…”


       If you are without sin, you can be the person. During Bible study, I asked, “What about Saleh? Maybe, he can be that person, because he is so quiet?” Then Saleh answered, “Not me! Maybe, I will be the first person who will leave.” I asked, “What about Darius, since he laughs a lot?” Then, he answered, “Not me!” What about you? We all say, “Not me.” When we think about this, we can see that no human is qualified to judge anyone. Sometimes, we hear the news about scandals of well known servants, or TV evangelists. At that time, don’t judge anyone. We are not better than them. The only thing is that their case is exposed, while our cases are not exposed. “If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” This is what Jesus said.


      So far, all people in the passage, were looking at her, despising her for doing such a shameful sin. They condemned her in their hearts. The religious leaders were even murderous. So they thought about what she had done, gossiping and pointing fingers at her. But when Jesus told them, “If anyone of you is without sin…” they had to check themselves out to see if they were qualified to be the first person; now their sin came to their minds and their corrupt conscience was pricked; at Jesus’ words, they were startled. Before, the arrows were aimed on the woman. But now suddenly the arrows were aimed on them - everyone was checking himself out and quickly all of them were reminded of their own sins. They were shocked, ashamed and fearful to stand before Jesus. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman.


Second, “Neither do I condemn you, go now and leave your life of sin” (10-11). Look at verses 10 and 11. After defeating all his enemies with the sword that came out of his mouth, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” Actually, there was no one standing; it was obvious that no one had condemned her. But Jesus said so to comfort her. Jesus was the only one remained there, showing that he was the only one who was qualified to judge her. He was the very one who was without sin - he was the judge. If he threw a stone at her, just a tiny pebble, then, she would be condemned to death. But by saying, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" Jesus showed that he had no intention to condemn her. It was not the words of the judge, but of a father. If you stand a trial in the court and the judge says to you, "Do you mean you attend CSULB? I am your alumni." Then, you know that he has a good intention, and he will judge in favor of you. "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" Jesus comforted her, understanding her fear and sense of condemnation; Jesus did not see her based on her terrible acts, but a poor soul, trembling for fear and shame. Jesus is a merciful God who feels sorry when anyone trembles and is contrite in heart for his or her own sins; when he sees any person with a contrite heart, his heart goes after that person and wants to comfort and help him. Our God Jesus is a beautiful person.


“No one, sir,” she replied. Jesus declared, “Then, neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus was the only person who remained there to the end, the only person who was qualified to condemn her because he was without sin. But when Jesus, the only person who could condemn her, gave up condemning her, there was no one who would condemn her in the world. When Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you,…” suddenly the woman was set free from condemnation, for there was no one who would condemn her. Her sin was terrible, deserving the death penalty, but Jesus set her free from condemnation. Jesus forgave her freely.


       Look at verse 11 one more time. “Then, neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus set her free from condemnation, but it did not mean that he condoned her life of sin. It didn't mean that her life of sin was okay. Her sinful way of life was already condemned. Jesus forgave her sins so that she might now live a new life in him. In this second chance, she should not mess up in sinning again. Instead, she must leave her life of sin, and live this new life for God’s glory in holiness and righteousness. In her old life, she failed because she lived according to her sinful nature. Now, in her new life, she must live for God according to the desire of the Holy Spirit.


Jesus’ cross shows us God’s grace for all sinners like us. But at the same time, Jesus’ cross is God’s strong disapproval upon our sinful life. Romans 8:12-14 reads: “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation – but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God.” Now as we experienced the grace of Jesus, we have an obligation to live according to the desire of the Holy Spirit. After saving us from our sins, Jesus gives us a clear direction, saying, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”


       Third, “I am the light of the world (12). Let’s read verse 12 together.


“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”


       What a bold proclamation it is: I am the light of the world. Who can say like this? Buddha never said that; Confucius never said that; Socrates never said that. But only Jesus did! This expression means that he is the hope of the world, who brings bright light into the world – great enlightenment, clear direction, clear purpose and motivation, and thereby, great salvation. Such great blessings can be given to anyone in the whole world. Jesus was the light for the Apostle John; Jesus was the light for John Newton, the slave trader; Jesus is the light for John Baik, John Boos, Johnny Pringle, and all peoples on earth. He is the light of the world. Do you believe this?


Now, Jesus gave her a clear direction to leave her life of sin. She must not live in sin any more, but leave her life of sin. But the question is, “How?” She was a sinful woman, loaded with sinful desires. In that legalistic society, it was very dangerous to live a sinful life; it would cost her own life. But still, she lived in sin, because simply, sin was out of her control - she was a slave to sin. She was like a drug addicted father who, at the risk of his family being destroyed, still uses drugs. Or she was like an alcoholic father. How could she leave her life of sin? By herself, with her own will power, she would not be able to leave her life of sin. After oppressing her sinful desire for one or two months, most likely, she would go back to her sinful life. It would be a matter of time. How could she leave her life of sin and live a holy and righteous life as a daughter of God? Jesus said to her, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.” It would be possible only when she followed Jesus. If she followed Jesus, she would never walk in darkness, but would have the light of life. Before, she followed her sinful desire, and almost lost her life. But now when she followed Jesus, she would not live in sin any longer; instead, her life would be beautiful and glorious; instead of living a sinful life, she would have the light of life.


       There are many kinds of light – florescent light, sun light, laser, but the light of life is the light that comes with the power of life, zoe, eternal life. When we have light, we begin to see where to go and what to do. With the light of life, we see the true purpose and direction of our life, something truly meaningful. With the light of life, by seeing something truly worthy of our life devotion, we come to have real motivation to live and work hard. Then, we can say to the world, “I know what I must do. I know what I am doing.” So, we pursue it with all our hearts and strength, thus, we become passionate, and our life becomes truly dynamic and glorious. As we pursue something truly amazing and glorious, something that gives light into the world with all our heart and strength, our life becomes full of adventures and action-packed; we come to truly enjoy our life. At that time, people wonder, asking us, "Why are you always happy?" "How come your life is so powerful and fulfilling?" With the light of life Jesus gives, we come to live as children of God, doing something great for the whole world. When we live this kind of life, when we have the light of life, we no longer live in shame or sin. This is the kind of life God wanted us to have from the beginning of his creation that we would be challengers, conquerors, rulers, kings and queens in this world, and this is the kind of life all mankind have been looking for, but the very life we have lost because of sin; on the contrary to their wish for a truly great life, people end up living in darkness, in shame, in sin, and in ignorance. Now Jesus invites all of us, all the people in the world, to the glorious life we all have dreamed about, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”


This glorious life of having the light of life is given to everyone who follows Jesus. What does it mean to follow Jesus? It is different from hearing about him or having some knowledge or information about him. Many people know about Michael Jackson, but not all of them follow him. But some people follow his example and pursue his way of life imitating him. They become nothing but crazy. Some people carry Nun-chucks like the Ninja turtle in the cartoon TMNT; sometimes, on the streets, they shout, “Kiooh,” and make strange motions. They look very weird. They are the followers of Bruce Lee. In the same way, following Jesus means to live in the way he lived, pursuing his lifestyle, and valuing what he valued. You know how our Lord Jesus lived his life. He didn’t live for himself for a more comfortable or secure life. Instead, he lived for God, serving God’s mission day and night; he did not do things he wanted, but he struggled to live according to God’s purpose in obedience to God’s will. He lived as a Bible teacher, and shepherd for God’s flock. It was not a self-seeking life, but the life dedicated to God’s mission completely. Following Jesus means to live in the way he lived. This woman, so far, had lived for herself, and as a result, her life was empty, and she was thirsty, and such life brought to her great shame and condemnation. Now Jesus invited her to the life dedicated to God’s purpose following his example. When she accepted this invitation, and followed Jesus, she would never live in darkness, but would have a glorious life. If anyone lives his or her life in the way Jesus lived, that person will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. Today, Jesus invites us to follow him; Jesus invites us to live in his way of life so that we can have a glorious life, the very life we have dreamed about.


Now she heard the Son’s promises – whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. It was the time for her to make a decision to follow Jesus. Many people experience Jesus’ grace of forgiveness; they are happy and thankful. They think that they will not live in sin any more. But many people fail to leave their life of sin, because they do not follow Jesus after his grace. Instead, they still follow their own dreams and desires such as their dream for success and money, or their dream for romantic relationships or a happy family. The only difference they have now is that they try to be a better person than before, but still following their own desires. So they end up walking in darkness again. Jesus wants us to leave our life of sin, and have a glorious life as wholesome children of God. So he encourages us to follow him, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Don't follow your dreams and desires any longer - it has been proven wrong, empty and even destructive. Now you have the Son's invitation and promise. Leave your life of sin and follow Jesus, and you will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life; you will be truly satisfied and happy. Are you following Jesus? Today, what do you follow? Now it is the time of our decision-making. Now we must decide to follow Jesus instead of our own dreams and plans in the world. Those who follow Jesus all come to testify that Jesus is the light of the world. 


One Word:      Whoever Follows Me Will Never Walk In Darkness