Nobody moves, knowing that He has not yet said or done anything in their presence to warrant trying to capture and imprison Him. Jesus continues, “Very soon I will leave this place. Where I go you cannot follow. You will look for Me, but you will not find Me, and you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven when you die, because of your hard hearts.” The Pharisees start buzzing amongst themselves. “What is He talking about?” “He makes no sense!” “Is He going to kill Himself? Is that where He will go where we cannot follow Him?” But Jesus begins speaking again and they turn their attention back to Him, still desperate to trap Him with His own words. “You are of this world. I AM from the Kingdom of Heaven. You have worldly things on your minds, I have Heavenly things on Mine. I tell you that you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven when you die because you will not believe in Me, your only hope to be saved from your sins.” Getting excited again, they press Him further, hoping He will indict Himself. “And who exactly are You?” they ask Him.
The Pharisees, always looking to trap Jesus with His own words, immediately jump on His statement. “You say that You are the Light of the whole world? In saying this, are You not testifying of Yourself? But You Yourself told us before that whoever testifies of himself is not to be believed unless there are at least 2 other witnesses to validate the testimony! And so You are telling us that Your own words are not to be believed!” They look at each other with smug smiles on their faces, believing that they have finally caught Him. But Jesus will not be caught. “Your law applies to mortal men, not to Me. But even so, when I testify of Myself, My Father is also testifying of Me at the same time, because He and I are one. I know where I AM from and where I AM going, you know neither. You judge everyone, and judge unfairly. I judge no one now, but in the future when I will judge the world, I will do so with all fairness, based on the justice of My Father,” He tells them. Some of the Pharisees step back, as if to put distance between themselves and the “evil” they believe Jesus to be. “Where is Your Father?” one asks scornfully. “You don’t know My Father. If you knew Him, you would know Me as well,” Jesus replies evenly, implying that if they really knew their own scriptures they would know that He fits all the prophecies concerning the Messiah.
Jesus turns as well, and walks back into the Temple treasury area. As He walks, He addresses the crowd of people who followed Him from inside the Temple to witness the confrontation with the religious leaders and the adulterous woman here in the courtyard. But He does not comment on what has just happened. He continues to teach them as if there has been no interruption at all. “We have just finished the Feast of Tabernacles. Each of the past 6 nights of the feast, what has happened? There was complete darkness in the city until the 4 great golden lampstands were lit, illuminating the city. What does this represent? Our ancestors were in the desert, living in tents. They did not know where they were going. They did not have food or water. They had to rely solely on God to provide everything they needed. And God did provide all their needs. He stayed with them all day as a pillar of cloud and all night as a pillar of fire, providing light and warmth and guiding them. He sent manna (which means “what is it?”) for them to eat every day, as well as quails for their evening meals. He gave them water to drink where there was no water. And so, during this festival, you wait for the lampstands to be lit and you celebrate and dance all night long by their light, remembering that time. And just before daybreak, the light of the lamps leads the procession to the Pool of Siloam where you celebrate the drawing of the water to be poured out at the altar. This will not happen tonight. The Feast of Tabernacles has drawn to a close. But I AM here, now, standing in the Temple, telling you all that I AM the Light of the whole world. And whoever will follow Me will have the Light of true Life, never again walking in darkness.”
John 8:12, https://possessthevision.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/lampstand.jpg?w=640
The Sanhedrin members are trembling with anticipation, believing that they have Jesus right where they want Him at last. But they couldn’t be more wrong. Jesus says nothing, but bends down low and begins to use His finger to write something in the dirt. They watch, wondering what He could be doing. They can’t see what He is writing. Is He writing the law? Is He trying out different arguments to see if He can still come out on top of this? Or perhaps He is simply stalling for time. “Hurry up, we don’t have all day! We are waiting to hear Your answer!” one of them says impatiently. Jesus stands and looks at them all very slowly. “So be it. Let the one of you who has never sinned in his life throw the first stone.” And he bends down again and continues writing in the dirt. They stare at Him, mouths agape, speechless. Yes, she has sinned, broken one of God’s commandments. But can any one of them say they have never broken a commandment themselves? No. And so, one by one, beginning with the oldest among them, they all slip away quietly into the crowd, shamed. After a few moments, Jesus looks up, then back down to the woman still cowering on the ground. “Where are the people who wished to stone you? Is there no one left to condemn you?” he asks her. “N-no one, Rabbi,” she replies. Jesus stands, dusts off His hands, and helps her to her feet. “I do not condemn you either. But go, now, and do not sin anymore,” He tells her. She nods, her lip trembling and eyes brimming with tears, then turns and flees.
Jesus goes with His apostles to the Mount of Olives to spend the night. During the night, some of the Sanhedrin members decide to try to trap Jesus using the law. They lay the trap and sit waiting to see how it will play out. In the morning, Jesus returns to the Temple. He sits and speaks quietly with His apostles while He waits for the people to come, and soon there is a crowd around Him. He stands, and begins to teach them. But out in the court of Gentiles there is some sort of commotion going on. Peter goes to see, and reports back to Jesus. Jesus nods and excuses Himself, and follows Peter back outside. As soon as they see Jesus, the Sanhedrin members call out to Him, saying, “Rabbi! This woman (he spits on the ground) was caught in adultery. Our law, handed down to us from God Himself through Moses, tells us we are to stone her to death. What say You?” The poor woman is sprawled on the ground, her clothing torn, her knees and elbows bloody from being dragged all the way here. She is shaking with fear, her face stark white. She is too afraid even to weep, and she cannot lift her head to look at Jesus’ face, but simply waits to hear her fate.
Caiaphas, furious now, spits his words at the guard captain. “Has He deceived you too now? Think! Have any of us, the rulers and scholars of the Jews, we who know the scriptures and God’s law best, believed in Him? No! Only the poor peasants of the land, who don’t know any better. And now they have been cursed by this…this…charlatan, who is clearly demon-possessed.” Now Nicodemus, he who had gone to Jesus secretly, at night, to avoid the prying eyes of his fellows, speaks up. “And by our laws, do we condemn a man before holding a trial to determine just who he is and what he is saying and doing?” Another Sadducee responds to Nicodemus, “But He is from Galilee! You know the scriptures, scour them again and you will see, no prophet has ever – or is prophesied to ever come from Galilee.” Now the room erupts into confusion, everyone shouting at once. Caiaphas calls for order and says, “We’re not getting anywhere. We don’t have Him in custody. Everyone, go home until we have Him. Then we will reconvene and decide what to do.” And so they disperse, until a more opportune moment.
Jesus once again slips away from the crowd unseen. When they realize that He is gone, the people begin to disperse, including the Temple guards. They know they have to go back and report to the Sanhedrin, but they do not know what they are going to say. When they arrive at the meeting place of the Sanhedrin, Caiaphas, the High Priest, rises from his seat and demands, “Well? Where is He?” The captain of the guard comes forward and bows his head. “My Lord, we have been unable to capture Him. He keeps slipping away.” Caiaphas glares at him, but says nothing. “Besides! We heard Him address the people at the Pool of Siloam, and we have never heard anyone speak like He does!” the captain proclaims, hoping to sway Caiaphas towards leniency.
Immediately, the crowd around Jesus erupts with debate. “He must be the Messiah!” “No, I don’t think so, but He could be Elijah, who is to come first.” “He is trying to trick us with His fancy words, trying to gain a following. Don’t listen to Him!” “He is from Galilee! We all know the Messiah doesn’t come from Galilee, He will come from Bethlehem, and be a descendant of King David.” This goes on for some time, for the Jews were fierce in their convictions and each wanted to make himself heard. The Pharisees and Sadducees of the Sanhedrin (the ruling council of the Jews) are not present here, because they are at the Temple holding an emergency session. But they have sent the Temple guards, who are surveying the scene in perplexity, unsure how to proceed. Now, some of the people present begin to grow angry enough to want to capture Jesus, even though they are not part of the plots of the Pharisees or Sadducees. But nobody dares to come near Him, not even the Temple guards, for what if they are wrong about Him, and He really is the Messiah?
For the past 7 days of the feast, each morning there has been a gathering of the people at the Pool of Siloam, watching and celebrating with music as a priest filled a golden vase with water from the pool, then processing with him to the Temple to watch him pour out the water on the western side of the altar of burnt offering while another priest poured wine as a drink offering on the eastern side of the altar. The people, while watching this ceremony, recited the Hallel, the words of Psalms 113-118. This ritual symbolized the gift of rain from God to His people, to make the crops grow and give them enough water to drink and wash with. But this is not performed today, on the 22nd of the month of Tishri, on the 8th and last day of the feast. Nevertheless, Jesus now stands at the edge of the pool and addresses the people in a loud voice. He declares, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. For as the Holy Scripture says, whoever believes in Me, out of his heart will come streams of living water.” He speaks of the Holy Spirit, who will soon be given to those people who put their faith in Jesus. But the Holy Spirit has not yet come, He will not come until Jesus has gone back to Heaven to live with His Father.
The Pharisees and Sadducees hear the whispers of the people and grow more alarmed. They send out guards to search for Jesus. “Master, we have found Him! Come, follow me,” reports one guard about an hour later. The Pharisees and Sadducees follow the guards to the spot where Jesus has been sighted and confront Him there. But before they can say anything, Jesus turns to them and says, “I will only be here with you a little while longer, then I will go back to Him who sent Me. You will search for Me everywhere but will not find Me, because you cannot go where I go.” The Pharisees and Sadducees examine every word carefully, for they are seeking evidence to use against Him to put Him to death. “Where is He planning to go where we won’t find Him? Maybe to teach the Jews who are living among the Greeks? But we could find Him there! What does He mean, saying that we will search everywhere for Him but won’t find Him? And that we can’t go where He will go?” They stand there debating while Jesus slips away again. Even the watching eyes of the guards don’t see Him leave.