Jesus as God’s mercy and light, by Rev. John Kwasi Fosu

Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg
Bible study material on John 8:1-20

Memory verse: John 8:12

This chapter shows the Jesus’ conflict with the Jewish leaders and then presents a series of important contrasts. Whereas John 8:1-11 demonstrates God’s mercy at work thereby showing Jesus’ ability to forgive sins, Jesus in John 8:12-20 declares himself as the light of the world.

Jesus had power to forgive sins
The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus in the court of the women, in the treasury section of the temple (verse 20). Their motive was to test Jesus (verse 6) and force him into a dilemma. If Jesus set the woman free, he violated Moses’ law (Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22). If Jesus allowed the woman to be stoned, he could not claim to be one who forgives sins. Significantly, Jesus died for the sins of this woman and was able to forgive her. The great I AM statement in verse 12 follows this incident.

Jesus’ declaration of his divinity through I AM statements
John 8:12-20 ties in closely with the previous section. In 7:45-52, Nicodemus recommended that the religious leaders first hear Jesus before passing judgment on him. In no other place in the Word does Jesus make so many statements about himself. He asserts his divine identity through these “I AM” statements.
• “I am the light of the world” (8:12)
• “I am not alone” (8:16)
• “I am One who testifies for Myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent Me” (8:18)
• “I am from above” (8:23)
• “I am not of this world” (8:23)
• “I am the One I claim to be – the Messiah” (8:24,28)
• “I AM” (8:58)

Jesus as the light of the world
John 7 and 8 record the dialogues that Jesus had with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles. As part of the ritual, huge lamps in the Court of Women in the temple area were lit in commemoration of the pillar of fire that led the Israelites in their wilderness journey. The light from those lamps lit up much of Jerusalem. Here Jesus presented himself as the true light to be followed (8:12.)

In declaring himself to be the light, Jesus was claiming divinity. In claiming to be the light of the world, Jesus defined his unique position as the one true light for all people, not just the Jews (Isaiah 49:6.) As the “Light of the World,” Jesus claimed to be God, for God is light (1 John 1:5). Darkness speaks of death, ignorance and sin. Light speaks of life, knowledge and holiness. The light exposes sin (John 3:20). The lost sinner lives in darkness (Ephesians 2:1-3, 4:17-19, 5:8) and will spend eternity in darkness (Matthew 25:30) if he rejects Jesus as the messiah. The Jews, instead of submitting to Jesus, argued with him in the temple.

Jesus reveals God’s light of love and mercifulness. Someone has said when we look at the sky, there are many stars, but when the sun rises in the morning, the light is such that we can’t see the stars. God’s mercy is like that. By focusing on God’s mercy, sins and faults disappear. One way to understand God’s mercy is to reflect on our own forgiveness and mercy. It is when we recognise that we have received mercy that we are able to show mercy to others. God’ mercy and light upon our lives therefore remind us to walk worthy of our calling.

1. Jesus spoke and acted in John 8:1-20 as he did because he knew who he was. Explain
2. Do you know who you are in Christ? Give reason for your answer.
3. Why didn’t Jesus condemn the woman caught in adultery?
4. Why are we sometimes so critical and judgmental on the sins of others?

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