St. John’s Gospel (23) - The Light and the Testimony (John 8:12-20)
St John’s Gospel (23): The Light and the Testimony (John 8:12-20)
John 8:12-20 - Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for 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. 15 “You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. 16 “But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me. 17 “Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. 18 “I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.” 19 So they were saying 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.” 20 These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.
The Place - The place of this teaching is specified because it makes the theme relevant to the setting. “The treasury” is not the storage bank, but the Offering Box location (Mk. 12:43). During the Feast of Tabernacles, a great candelabra was lit at night in this place. In this setting, possibly in the evening, Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” The claim to be the Light of the World, to illuminate, guide, and give righteous judgment (Ps. 37:6), provoked the Pharasaic rejection of His testimony (vv13ff). No one seized Him because He was sovereignly protected.
The Principles - The first section of chapter 8 (the woman caught in adultery) is a kind of example of the principles of the Law in judgment. “Malicious witnesses” sought to entrap Him (Dt. 19:16-19) in a sham case without both parties properly accused (Dt. 22:22). Jesus simply invokes the principle of qualified accusers (Dt. 17:7) and the accusers did not obey the Law, so the case was thrown out of court due to the greater sin of the witness-accusers. The second section of the chapter 8 (vv 12-20) continues to deal with the issues of testimony and judgment, especially of the testimony of Jesus about Himself. The principle of multiple witnesses is addressed. The following verses (14, 16, and 18) explain that there are actually two witnesses, Jesus and the Father, speaking through Him. His testimony authenticated by much more than the mere human voice of Jesus: the voice of the Father and the works of God (Jn. 3:2, 5:36, 9:3).
> This Gospel Light produces both righteous judgments and gracious forgiveness.
> Righteous judgments follow the Law’s just process of witnesses, testimony, and judgment.
> Gracious forgiveness follows the Gospel’s foundation of atonement, mercy, and love.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more