Tuesday, April 24, 2012

John 8

The Woman Caught in Adultery

Apparently this story is not in early manuscripts. I would think that leads to the conclusion that it is a forgery, but I suppose a believer might think that it just means God added it later. Unfalsifiability sure is convenient.

A woman was caught in adultery and she was brought to Jesus. The Pharisees wanted to see what he would do and hoped that they would get something to use against him. They said that the law of Moses says she should be stoned. He said that the person who is without sins should cast the first stone. Everyone went away and Jesus told the woman to also leave and sin no more.

This story is a forgery? Really!? This one is iconic.

I Am the Light of the World

Jesus said he is the light of life, the Pharisees said he is lying. He said it is not just him who talks but his father. They asked where his father is and he said if they knew him they would know his father too. Jesus said these things in the temple but no one arrested him because it wasn't time yet.

Seems to me that they are asking legitimate questions and he is not giving them very satisfying answers. Also, it sounds like he should be arrested because of what he is saying but it isn't time yet so God is intervening or something.

Jesus said he is going a place they cannot follow, so the people wondered if he was going to kill himself. Jesus said that he is from above, not from here. People will die for their sins unless they believe in him.

Seems to me like Jesus is talking in a more round-a-bout way than is necessary here.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Jesus tells the Jews listening to him the truth will set them free. They say they have never been slaves so how can they be set free. He says they are slaves to sin.

This is an interesting idea. There are certainly some sins that can spin out of control, but I don't like the idea that you can't get them back in control.

You Are of Your Father the Devil

The crowd tells Jesus their father is Abraham, he says that if that were true they would do the works of Abraham, but they are trying to kill him. They said they were not born of sexual immorality, but they were born of God, Jesus replies that if they were born of God they would love him, they were born of the devil because they didn't understand what he was saying.

It seems to me like there is a huge communication problem here. The crowd is trying to understand Jesus but failing and they are all getting frustrated. You would think God would be better at communicating.

Before Abraham Was, I Am

The crowd says that Jesus has a demon, he says he doesn't. Jesus says if they listen to him they won't die, they are mad he is saying he is better than Abraham who died. Jesus says he was around before Abraham but they say he isn't even 50 years old. They try to stone Jesus but he gets away.

Wow, Jesus is doing a bad job of communicating and they try to stone him. I'm surprised I've never heard this story before. Something about this story seems a bit off, I think because they are just talking past each other.


  1. The Woman Caught in Adultery. It's interesting that this story was added later. Since we don't have any originals, but copies of copies of copies etc, its impossible to tell what was in the original and what was added later. To me, it really brings the bible into question. You bring up a good point about falsifiability. What's also been pointed out to me about this story is that Jesus never actually condemns the death penalty. While I get his point, it's almost like he approves of capital punishment.

    I Am the Light of the World. I don't know if you remember, but the military was putting verse 12 onto its guns at one point. They rightfully got a lot of flak for it and stopped after the press got ahold of the story. Here is the old story. I don't mean to be cynical, but “how christian.”
    In this section, he also testifies about himself. He discusses how he comes not to judge. The last Revelations verse there is a little ambiguous, but I've been told its a reference to Jesus. I could be wrong on that.

    The Truth Will Set You Free. I think you have a really good take on this story. I guess there's a reason sins are often called vices. But, you are right. To think that you can't get them under control is more of a guilt trip and sort of admits defeat. Some things are harder for others to give up, like an alcoholic and alcohol or someone strung out on drugs. I used to work with people who had mental health issues and would sometimes have substance issues. Sometimes they were up and down, but I've also seen a few clients work really hard and finally break free of those addictions. I actually find the verse “The truth will set you free” kind of ironic in my life. The bible is often referred to by Christians as “The Truth,” with capital letters. It was actually sitting down and reading the bible front to cover that lead me to ultimately not being able to believe it anymore.

    Before Abraham Was, I Am. I actually do not remember this story either. It's interesting that they tried to stone Jesus. I don't mean to be crass, but if this is how Jesus was killed, would we be wearing rocks around our necks?
    My big question here is: Is verse 51 literal? I don't think it can be, because we have almost 2000 years of people dying.

  2. The woman caught in adultery. he certainly seems to dislike the death penalty in this case though at the very least right? It seems to me that Jesus often doesn't come right out and say what he means, but he certainly seems like he doesn't want her to die. At the very least you can conclude from this story that Jesus doesn't like the death penalty for adultery. Can you expand on the idea that he approves of the death penalty, I don't really follow.

    I am the Light of the World. How strange about the gun sights. It might just be me, but I don't understand why that is a good message to put on a gun. Maybe I just don't understand the verse.

    Before Abraham Was, I am. as to verse 51, I agree with you, it can't be literal. It must mean that you have eternal life in heaven or something. But then the obvious question arises, how do you determine which verses are literal and which are figurative?

  3. After thinking about it, I think you are right. My line of thinking was that Jesus didn't outright say that it was wrong to stone her to death for her sin, but as you point out, he does get her out of it. I was thinking about the verse where he says that he does not come to change the law, but to fulfill it. I like the message that we really shouldn't go looking at other people's sins and scolding them when we ourselves have no sin. On the other hand, you are correct that he does talk in metaphors all the time.

    The part of the scope, I woner if it is there also via the reference to Psalm 23 starting particularly at verse 4. I'm making a speculation of course.


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