A Woman Caught in Adultery.* [7:53Then each went to his own house, 1while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.* a 2But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. 4They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.* So what do you say?”b 6They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.* 7* But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them,c “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. 10Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”d 11She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.”]e
The Light of the World.* 12Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”f 13So the Pharisees said to him, “You testify on your own behalf, so your testimony cannot be verified.” 14Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I do testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified,* because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I come from or where I am going.g 15You judge by appearances,* but I do not judge anyone.h 16And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father who sent me.i 17Even in your law* it is written that the testimony of two men can be verified.j 18I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me.”k 19So they said to him, “Where is your father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”l 20He spoke these words while teaching in the treasury in the temple area. But no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.m
Jesus, the Father’s Ambassador.* 21He said to them again, “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin.* Where I am going you cannot come.”n 22* So the Jews said, “He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?” 23He said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world.o 24That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM,* you will die in your sins.”p 25* So they said to him, “Who are you?”q Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning. 26I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world.”r 27They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. 28So Jesus said (to them), “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.s 29The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” 30Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
Jesus and Abraham.* 31Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him,* “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”t 33They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone.* How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”u 34Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.v 35A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son* always remains.w 36So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free. 37I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you. 38* I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence; then do what you have heard from the Father.”
39* They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said to them,x “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. 40But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do this. 41You are doing the works of your father!” [So] they said to him, “We are not illegitimate. We have one Father, God.”y 42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me.z 43Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.a 45But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me. 46Can any of you charge me with sin? If I am telling the truth, why do you not believe me?b 47Whoever belongs to God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not listen, because you do not belong to God.”c
48The Jews answered and said to him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan* and are possessed?” 49Jesus answered, “I am not possessed; I honor my Father, but you dishonor me. 50I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the one who judges.d 51Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.”e 52(So) the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ 53Are you greater than our father Abraham,* who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?”f 54Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word.g 56Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it* and was glad.h 57So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”* 58* Jesus said to them,i “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” 59So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.j
* [7:53–8:11] The story of the woman caught in adultery is a later insertion here, missing from all early Greek manuscripts. A Western text-type insertion, attested mainly in Old Latin translations, it is found in different places in different manuscripts: here, or after Jn 7:36 or at the end of this gospel, or after Lk 21:38, or at the end of that gospel. There are many non-Johannine features in the language, and there are also many doubtful readings within the passage. The style and motifs are similar to those of Luke, and it fits better with the general situation at the end of Lk 21: but it was probably inserted here because of the allusion to Jer 17:13 (cf. note on Jn 8:6) and the statement, “I do not judge anyone,” in Jn 8:15. The Catholic Church accepts this passage as canonical scripture.
* [8:1] Mount of Olives: not mentioned elsewhere in the gospel tradition outside of passion week.
* [8:5] Lv 20:10 and Dt 22:22 mention only death, but Dt 22:23–24 prescribes stoning for a betrothed virgin.
* [8:6] Cf. Jer 17:13 (RSV): “Those who turn away from thee shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water”; cf. Jn 7:38.
* [8:7] The first stones were to be thrown by the witnesses (Dt 17:7).
* [8:12–20] Jesus the light of the world. Jesus replaces the four torches of the illumination of the temple as the light of joy.
* [8:14] My testimony can be verified: this seems to contradict Jn 5:31 but the emphasis here is on Jesus’ origin from the Father and his divine destiny. Where I am going: indicates Jesus’ passion and glorification.
* [8:15] By appearances: literally, “according to the flesh.” I do not judge anyone: superficial contradiction of Jn 5:22, 27, 30; here the emphasis is that the judgment is not by material standards.
* [8:17] Your law: a reflection of later controversy between church and synagogue.
* [8:21–30] He whose ambassador I am is with me. Jesus’ origin is from God; he can reveal God.
* [8:21] You will die in your sin: i.e., of disbelief; cf. Jn 8:24. Where I am going you cannot come: except through faith in Jesus’ passion-resurrection.
* [8:22] The Jews suspect that he is referring to his death. Johannine irony is apparent here; Jesus’ death will not be self-inflicted but destined by God.
* [8:24, 28] I AM: an expression that late Jewish tradition understood as Yahweh’s own self-designation (Is 43:10); see note on Jn 4:26. Jesus is here placed on a par with Yahweh.
* [8:25] What I told you from the beginning: this verse seems textually corrupt, with several other possible translations: “(I am) what I say to you”; “Why do I speak to you at all?” The earliest attested reading (Bodmer Papyrus P66) has (in a second hand), “I told you at the beginning what I am also telling you (now).” The answer here (cf. Prv 8:22) seems to hinge on a misunderstanding of Jn 8:24 “that I AM” as “what I am.”
* [8:31–59] Jesus’ origin (“before Abraham”) and destiny are developed; the truth will free them from sin (Jn 8:34) and death (Jn 8:51).
* [8:31] Those Jews who believed in him: a rough editorial suture, since in Jn 8:37 they are described as trying to kill Jesus.
* [8:33] Have never been enslaved to anyone: since, historically, the Jews were enslaved almost continuously, this verse is probably Johannine irony, about slavery to sin.
* [8:35] A slave…a son: an allusion to Ishmael and Isaac (Gn 16; 21), or to the release of a slave after six years (Ex 21:2; Dt 15:12).
* [8:38] The Father: i.e., God. It is also possible, however, to understand the second part of the verse as a sarcastic reference to descent of the Jews from the devil (Jn 8:44), “You do what you have heard from [your] father.”
* [8:39] The works of Abraham: Abraham believed; cf. Rom 4:11–17; Jas 2:21–23.
* [8:48] Samaritan: therefore interested in magical powers; cf. Acts 7:14–24.
* [8:53] Are you greater than our father Abraham?: cf. Jn 4:12.
* [8:56] He saw it: this seems a reference to the birth of Isaac (Gn 17:7; 21:6), the beginning of the fulfillment of promises about Abraham’s seed.
* [8:57] The evidence of the third-century Bodmer Papyrus P75 and the first hand of Codex Sinaiticus indicates that the text originally read: “How can Abraham have seen you?”
* [8:58] Came to be, I AM: the Greek word used for “came to be” is the one used of all creation in the prologue, while the word used for “am” is the one reserved for the Logos.
b. [8:5] Lv 20:10; Dt 22:22–29.
f. [8:12] 1:4–5, 9; 12:46; Ex 13:22; Is 42:6; Zec 14:8.
j. [8:17] Dt 17:6; 19:15; Nm 35:30.
p. [8:24] Ex 3:14; Dt 32:39; Is 43:10.
w. [8:35] Gn 21:10; Gal 4:30; Heb 3:5–6.
x. [8:39] Gn 26:5; Rom 4:11–17; Jas 2:21–23.
a. [8:44] Gn 3:4; Wis 1:13; 2:24; Acts 13:10; 1 Jn 3:8–15.
b. [8:46] Heb 4:15; 1 Pt 2:22; 1 Jn 3:5.
e. [8:51] 5:24–29; 6:40, 47; 11:25–26.
h. [8:56] Gn 17:17; Mt 13:17; Lk 17:22.