John 8
Sermon Bible
Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

John 8:12

The Festival of Epiphany

I. There is no figure more common in Scripture, and none more beautiful, than that by which Christ is likened unto light. Incomprehensible in its nature, itself the first visible, and that by which all things are seen, light represents to us Christ, Whose generation none can declare, but Who must shine upon us ere we can know aught aright, whether of things Divine or human. Itself pure and uncontaminated, though visiting the lowest parts of the earth, and penetrating its most noisome recesses, what does light image, if not that undefiled Mediator who contracted no stain, though born of a woman in the likeness of sinful flesh? Who can question that the rising of Jesus Christ, was to the moral world what the sun is to the natural?

II. Without pleading that the state of the world, before Christ came, was a state of total darkness, we may yet affirm that Christ emphatically came as the light of the world. In no district of the earth—not even in Judæa, though privileged with revelation—was there anything that could be called more than the dawning of the day. Types there were—significative ceremonies—mysterious emblems, but these do not constitute the day. At best, they were but a twilight, that gave promise of the morning; and if that be all we can affirm of Judæa, then certainly, until the light of which we have been speaking, there brooded over other lands a darkness that might be felt. Here and there were lingering traces of a patriarchial religion; but every year saw the gathering of thicker gloom, and streak after streak grew dim on the firmament.

III. Such was the state of the whole Gentile world when He appeared, whom the prophecy announced as "a light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death." Was the testimony exaggerated, or has it been justified by events? Wheresoever the Gospel has been published and received as a communication from God, the darkness has fled as night flies before the sun. It hath hung the very grave with bright lamps, and rekindled the spirit of an almost quenched immortality. The pardon of sin, justification through the Mediator's righteousness, the gradual overcoming of the corruptions of nature, guidance in difficulty, guardianship in danger, comfort in affliction, triumph in death—all these are in the portion of him who follows Christ—followeth Him in faith as his surety, in obedience as his pattern. And are not these the light—yea, the light of life?

H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1829.

I. Jesus had often spoken this word before. Every act of mercy He did, spoke to the men who were the subjects of it. St. John dwells specially upon His cure of blindness. He takes that as an instance, and the clearest and liveliest instance, of the effects which were produced by all His miracles. Each sufferer felt that a power of darkness had taken hold of him; that a portion of the beauty and joy of the universe was hidden from him. The appearance of a deliverer who could set him free from his plague, was the appearance of a Light. He was brought out of a cave; the air that breathed upon the rest of men, was breathing on him; the common sun was shining on him. Christ's word was light; the entrance of it into the soul gave light, and that light diffused itself through every part of the man. It brought health and vigour wherever it encountered sickness and decay.

II. Divines are wont to make distinctions between Christ the Teacher of the world at large, and Christ the Teacher of the heart and conscience of each man. They talk of an outward Christ and an inward Christ. The Evangelists indulge in no such refinements. The Christ who was born of the Virgin, who suffered under Pontius Pilate, reveals Himself—not to the eyes of those who actually see and handle Him, but to a spirit within them. And so there is no need of artificial rules and distinctions, such as doctors invent for their own confusion. The Light makes the distinction. It is not the distinction of Pharisee or Publican, of religious men or irreligious. It goes deeper than that. It is the distinction between that in every man which welcomes the light, and claims kindred with it, and that in every man which eschews the light and would fain extinguish it for ever. It expresses itself in these words, "He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness." The Light of the world is not put out. Now have death and the grave been converted into the great testimonies for life and immortality. Now may each man, who has the sentence of Adam upon him, know that he is a kinsman of the Son of God. Now may he follow Him; and so, when the darkness is thickest around him and within, not walk in it, but see the Light of Life.

F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. iv., p. 203.

References: John 8:12.—H. Melvill, Voices of the Year, vol. i., p. 109; W. J. Hall, Church of England Pulpit, vol. x., p. 421; Good Words, vol. vi., p. 274; Preacher's Monthly, vol. viii., p. 369; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 193; A. McAuslane, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 321; W. M. Taylor, Three Hundred Outlines on the New Testament, p. 80; G. Matheson, Moments on the Mount, p. 250; E. Bersier, Sermons, 1st series, p. 136. D. Fraser, Metaphors of the Gospels, p. 16. John 8:15.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xv., p. 168. John 8:18.—Three Hundred Outlines on the New Testament, p. 82; W. M. Taylor, The Gospel Miracles, p. 101. John 8:22.—T. Foster, Lectures, vol. i., p. 51.

John 8:23Methods of Living

There are three methods of living in this world: we may live from beneath, or from within ourselves, or from above.

I. I need only distinguish the first mentioned method of life from beneath. We can easily recognise it, or any temptation in our own thoughts, from its bottomless pit. The world has received Christian education enough to lead it, publicly and before men, at least to repudiate the method of the devil in life. Christianity has, at least, dethroned Satan from open public recognition, if it has not banished the demons of private life.

II. The second method of life just mentioned is a very common one, and is good so far as it goes. It contains much truth, leads to many honourable works. It is the effort to live as a human being may best live in the powers of his own reason, and out of the motives of his own heart. Persons whose idea of life is to develop themselves to the utmost of their own powers and opportunities, to make the most, the best of their lives, often reach admirable results. But having acknowledged the fair fruits which we find growing sometimes upon this human, non-religious principle of living, if we turn now to the New Testament, we meet a difficulty in our text. The Scripture, apparently, fails to recognise this second, intermediate method of living. Jesus leaves out of his view of life altogether, the middle way. Jesus judges life as one looking back upon it from beyond the years; He speaks to human nature as one seeing into the eternal principles and necessities of things. The question between the Gospel with its two ways, and human nature with its third way, reduces itself to this: Is not this intermediate way—this middle method between heaven above and hell below—a path which we should reasonably expect would come somewhere to a break; when he who would follow it further will be compelled to scale the height, or plunge into the abyss? Is this method of life at least but a temporary or provisional method? And if this be so, can it now be justified as a necessary or reasonable expedient for a life?

III. We must allow that a provisional way of living is justifiable only upon the supposition that it is necessary, or that we can do no better. One may live as well as he can in a tent, provided there is no material at hand of which he may build a house. But there are materials, sound and ample, for a Christian home for life. Christ finds the child that was lost, and sets him in the midst of the Divine Fatherhood. The Christian life, the life from above, is the open, large, out-of-door life of the soul; the life not shut into itself, but looking out upon all realities and open to the whole day of God.

N. Smyth, The Reality of Faith, p. 180.

References: John 8:24.—J. Keble, Sermons from Lent to Passiontide, p. 357; G. S. Barrett, Three Hundred Outlines on the New Testament, p. 83. John 8:26.—F. W. Farrar, Church of England Pulpit, vol. v., p. 197.

John 8:28The Gathering of the Nations

I. This text is a prophecy of the very widest scope. Christ is not so much addressing a few Jews as the whole world when He says: "Ye shall know that I am He." Christ is represented as the centre of attraction, towards which should be drawn from the whole community, the material of that Church which is to be for ever the great trophy of Omnipotence.

It would not be true that Christ is the Saviour of all men and specially of them that believe, if there were other names besides His under heaven by and through which the guilty might be pardoned; but now that there is deliverance-through this Mediator for all of every land, who are willing to receive Him as the free gift of God, and none except through that Mediator for a solitary individual in a single district of the earth,—we can affirm that by a Divine and irreversible appointment, the weary and the heavy-laden must be brought to Christ, or remain for ever burdened and laden with the weight of their iniquities. And they are brought to Christ; He is sending out His ministers to every section of the habitable globe, and Hit Spirit is everywhere accompanying the message, and making it mighty to the casting down the strongholds of ignorance and unbelief. In one quarter and another—one of this family and two of that—the nations are being subdued to the Messiah: there is enough, abundantly enough, to prove that all of which the prophets have spoken shall yet be gloriously exhibited on the stage of this creation.

II. But if we can plead that the prophecy before us has already received, and is constantly receiving, a partial accomplishment, are not coming days charged with its unrestricted fulfilment? It is possible that the thoughts of the Saviour, when uttering this prediction, were on the glorious and palmy days of the Church—days for which the faithful from the beginning have earnestly longed, and on which inspired writers have lavished the majesty of their loftiest descriptions. When the men of every age and of every land, linked in indissoluble brotherhood, shall crowd towards the Mediator as their common deliverer, their all in all, and cast their crowns at His feet, and sweep their harps to His praise, then will the prophecy receive its last and its noblest accomplishment; and all orders of intelligence, connecting the crucifixion, as a cause, with the magnificent gathering as an effect, will bear its enraptured witness to the thorough verification of the words, "When ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that I am He."

H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1699.

References: John 8:29.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xx., No. 1165; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 264; F. D. Maurice, The Gospel of St. John, p. 226. John 8:31.—F. F. Goe, Penny Pulpit, No. 930. John 8:31, John 8:32.—Contemporary Pulpit, vol. vii., p. 318; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 80. John 8:31-35.—J. Caird, Christian world Pulpit, vol. x., p. 376.

John 8:32There are two powers that chiefly fashion our characters, and through our characters our lives, and these two are the discipline which we undergo either from ourselves or from others or from circumstances, the light wherewith God enlightens our souls. We live in the midst of our fellows, and we catch from them peculiar habits of action, of feeling, of thought. But discipline is not the only power that forms us; there is another power that acts in another way, and that is the power of clear insight, the power given by the light of truth, whenever that light reaches the soul. The discipline of life is bound up with the discipline of the conscience, and each helps or hinders the other.

I. It is the light, it is the possession of the truth, that makes the man free. This light is necessary to crown all other inward gifts. I do not say that light is the highest gift; love is surely higher, and that humility which is the especial mark of love. But light is the gift which brings with it true freedom. Light is the gift which makes all other gifts have their fullest and best use. Even love needs light to do its work. How large a part of the uncharitableness of mankind is really due to the want of light. The fact is, that there is no such bondage as darkness. The darkness that hides the truth, more effectually robs the man of his real freedom, than even his weakness and want of desire to have that freedom.

II. Now, how does the light come, and can we do anything to bring it? The light of truth is in some degree like the light of heaven. It comes by God's ordinance for the most part, and not wholly by man's seeking. The pearl of great price was found by the man who was seeking goodly pearls. He sought for truth; and he found in the course of his search the one truth of all. But the treasure hid in a field was found by one who was not seeking at all. The truth was given in the course of God's providence, and looked as if it came by chance. No man can be certain of finding the great truth which shall light up his own individual life in a particular way, or at a particular time. All that can be said is, that to this case emphatically the promise applies, "He that seeketh, findeth." In other words, the first condition of finding the truth is that you shall wish to find it.

Bishop Temple, Rugby Sermons, 3rd series, p. 149.

References: John 8:32.—Contemporary Pulpit, vol. v., p. 104; vol. x., p. 193; G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines of Sermons, p. 399; Preacher's Monthly, vol. x., p. 39; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xii., p. 1; vol. xv., p. 102; E. de Pressensé, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 68. John 8:33.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 85. John 8:33-36.—G. Salmon, Non-Miraculous Christianity, p. 206. John 8:33-48.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xvi., p. 22. John 8:34.—S. Baring Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches, p. 136; Preacher's Monthly, vol. ix., p. 103; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 88.

John 8:35I. We see here the possible ending of the tyranny of sin. "A slave abides not in the house for ever." Therefore the very fact that the service of sin is so hard a slavery shows it to be unnatural, abnormal, and capable of a termination.

II. The actual deliverer, "The Son abideth ever." "If the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed." The conversion of the mere possibility of freedom into actual fact requires two things: that the Deliverer should be the Son of God, and that He should be the Son of man.

A. Maclaren, Sermons preached in Manchester, 3rd series, p. 31.

References: John 8:36.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x., No. 565; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. xi., p. 321; E. de Pressensé, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 68; J. Keble, Sermons from Lent to Passiontide, p. 346; H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2627. John 8:37.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes, Gospels and Acts, p. 142.

John 8:39The great law which Christ here lays down is that that which is historically true may be morally false; men may be genealogically akin, and spiritually alien; natural relation may be forfeited by moral apostasy.

I. Jesus Christ dispossesses men of pedigree and claim, and status and record, unless the men themselves are of the right bulk and colour and quality and force. The Abrahamic dignity is not superimposed, or handed down like an heirloom; every man must support his claim by his spirit and his action. If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham; but because ye do not the works of Abraham, ye have no right to use the holy man's name.

II. Jesus Christ showed the Jews, and therefore showed all men, what the test is by which a pure descent may be known. If God were your father, ye would love Me—that is the test—because ye would know Me; my disguise would not conceal Me, you would be moved by a strange feeling of kinship; you would say, Though we never saw this man before, He belongs to us and we belong to Him; in His voice is music, in His touch is resurrection; we will take up our abode with Him. If God were your father, you would rise above all local prejudice, and seize the essence of the truth; you would know the Divine through every disguise.

III. If, then, we are of God, and have the really godly spirit in us, wherever we find truth, or beauty, or the beginning of the best life, we shall say, Lo, God is here, and I knew it not; this heathen book is, in respect of all these deep, true, pure words, none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven. Here is a flower growing in the fissures of a rock; is it an orphan flower? is it a self-made flower? If it could come down from its rocky heights and walk into the well-cultured garden, might it not say, "We have all one father, and one gardener hath taken care of us every one? I am glad to have come down from my stony isolation, and I am thankful to be able to join the floral brotherhood." What if the garden brotherhood should say, "We do not know thee; we are of our father the gardener; who art thou? what is thy pedigree?" They would be foolish flowers, and not deserve to live another year. It is by the operation of this same law that we know brotherhood. Being of the same quality, we accost one another in the same language.

Parker, Christian Commonwealth, Feb. 17th, 1887.

References: John 8:42.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxi., No. 1257; Preacher's Monthly, vol. ix., p. 313; Parker, Sermons in Union Chapel, Islington, p. 118; Ibid., Inner Life of Christ, vol. iii., p. 302. John 8:43.—F. D. Maurice, The Gospel of St. John, p. 240. John 8:44.—E. Paxton Hood, Preacher's Lantern, vol. ii., p. 285. John 8:45.—Homilist, vol. iii., p. 629.

John 8:46The Absolute Sinlessness of Christ

I. The sinlessness of our Lord has been supposed to be compromised by the conditions of the development of His life as man—sometimes by particular acts and sayings which are recorded of Him. When, for instance, we are told in the Epistle to the Hebrews that our Lord "learned obedience by the things that He suffered," this, it is argued, clearly means progress from moral deficiency to moral sufficiency, and as a consequence it implies in Him a time when He was morally imperfect; but, although the growth of our Lord's moral nature as man implies that as a truly human nature He was finite, it does not by any means follow that such a growth involved sin as its starting point. A moral development may be perfect and pure, and yet be a development. A progress from a more or less expanded degree of perfection is not to be confounded with a progress from sin to holiness. In the latter case there is an element of antagonism in the will which is wholly wanting in the former. Christ's life is a revelation of the moral life of God, completing God's previous revelations, not merely teaching us what God is in formulas addressed to our understanding, but showing us what He is in characters which may be read by our very senses and which may take possession of our hearts.

II. Now, the sinless Christ satisfies a deep want of the soul of man—the want of an ideal. Other ideals, great as they are in their several ways, fall short, each of them, of perfection, in some particular, on some side. When we examine them closely, however reverently we scan them, there is One beyond them all—only One—One who does not fail. They, standing beneath His throne, say, each of them, to us with St. Paul, "Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ." But He, above them all, asks each generation of His worshippers—asks each generation of His critics—that passes along beneath His throne, "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?"

III. The sinless Christ is also the true Reconciler between God and man. His death was the crowning act of a life which throughout had been sacrificial; but, had He been conscious of any inward stain, how could He have desired—how could He have dared—to offer Himself in sacrifice to free a world from sin? Had there been in Him any taint—the least of personal evil to purge away, His death might have been endured on account of His own guilt. It is His absolute sinlessness which makes it certain that He died, as He lived, for others.

H. P. Liddon, Penny Pulpit, No. 511.

A Sense of Sin

I. A sense of sin is chiefly fed by the Holy Ghost on the fruits of evil, the results which it always bears. Those are the providences of God to awaken and strengthen the sense of sin; and He has surrounded us with the sorrows and the evils and the shame that spring from weakness, in order to prevent the healthy soul from becoming indifferent to evil. The act of sin in a man is not the real spiritual evil that has long been lurking and hiding about a man's mind and heart and soul. The fault is only the bodily shape of the spiritual wickedness by which God in His mercy revealed the sinner to Himself. We are not punished at last for that lie, or for that blow, or that word sharper than any blow; but we are punished for that internal nature, for that violent heart, for that unloving and unlovely soul which cannot get to heaven, which has daily grown by use and become by habit our second nature, slowly overgrowing and choking all the good seed which our Lord has sown in the fields of our life, and counteracting all the graces by which He has sought throughout our life to give us a new heart in communion with His own.

II. When a man has been kept from all open and flagrant acts of sin by the Hand that held him up, he is apt to grow self-righteous and self-satisfied; he slowly enters into the family of the Pharisee. The sins we do speak for themselves, and the danger is light compared with that self-esteem, or at least that self-content, that prevented men from coming to the Baptist, and at last prevented them from coming to our Lord. There are truer measures for sin than those which the law has laid down. The use of sin is to convince us of our sinfulness, to bear witness with the Word of God that we cannot win heaven by our own goodness, nor deserve the good things which the Lord provides.

J. Gott, Family Churchman, April 28th, 1886.

References: John 8:46.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ix., No. 492; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. v., p. 6; H. P. Liddon, Three Hundred Outlines on the New Testament, p. 83; Contemporary Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 315; S. Leathes, Preacher's Lantern, vol. iv., p. 299. John 8:46-59.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ii., p. 150; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 60.

John 8:48The Bad Mind makes a Bad Element

I. This subject puts in a sad light of evidence what may well enough be called the weak point of Christianity—viz., the fact that the souls to be saved will be always seeing themselves in it, and not seeing it as it is; turning it thus into an element as dry as their dryness, as bitter as their bitterness, as distasteful and oppressive as their own weak thraldom under sin. The grand difficulty in the way of a general conversion is, that the bad minds of the world so immediately convert the gospel into their own figure.

II. We here perceive what is the true value of condition. I do not blame, of course, a true attention to condition; it is even a duty. But the notion that we are really to make our state bad or good by the surroundings of life, and not by what is within us, not only violates the Scripture counsel, but quite as palpably the dictates of good sense; it is, in fact, the great folly of man. For a bad mind is of necessity its own bad state, and that state will be just as bad as the man is to himself, neither more nor less, come what may. If the bad state is in you, then everything is bad; the internal disorder makes all things an element of disorder—even the sun in the sky will be your enemy.

III. We discover in this subject what opinion to hold of the meaning and dignity of the state sometimes called misanthropy. This very foolish state of mind has one legitimate cure, and one that is true reason itself—conviction of sin. Misanthropy and world-sickness are the bad state felt; conviction of sin is the bad state understood. That is a conceited misery; this the shame of a self-discovering weakness, guilt, and spiritual disorder.

IV. It is clear, on this subject, that we have little reason for troubling ourselves on questions that relate to a place of future misery. The bad mind has the fire and brimstone in itself.

V. The salvation of man is possible only on the ground of a great and radical change in his inmost temper and spirit. What is wanted for the felicity of man is clearly not a change of place or condition, but a change in that which makes both place and condition what they are.

H. Bushnell, Christ and His Salvation, p., 278.

John 8:51Christ our Life

I. In Christ all shall be made alive; but that the depth and extent of the Scriptural term life can never be limited to the mere revival of the soul from death or unconsciousness seems obvious on the most cursory inspection of the sacred volume. So far is mere immortality from answering to this gift of life, that there is a species of immortality to which the title of death, "eternal death," and the "second death" is given. It appears hence that this life, as well as the death spoken of in the text, is essentially a moral, not a merely physical, state or notion; that it is a blessed and spiritual vitality. To express His highest spiritual bestowments no term is more frequently employed by our blessed Lord than "light." Now, this light is itself perpetually connected with His descriptions or intimations of the life He was to bestow. "My followers shall have the 'light of life,'" He declares to the Pharisees; while the shadow of death is, as you know, the constant type of a state of hopeless spiritual ruin.

II. The more you reflect on this mighty theme, the more you will see that Christ's offer, instead of being limited to any of the forms of life, grasps them all; that He must raise the dead as Judge and Saviour, that He may punish and that He may save; that He bestows a quickening principle of spiritual life upon the soul, which must pass the grave, for nothing holy can perish; it partakes of the Divine nature; it is incorruptible seed, and must flower in Paradise; finally, that of this last consummate state He is also Lord and Donor, and in love shall rejoice as He beholds the same light which once was dawn hereafter settling on that noon which knows no sunset.

III. "He that keepeth My saying shall never see death." Many a dark century has passed away since the walls of the temple echoed these glorious words—words, one would deem, that, uttered from God to man, might well change the face of the world. It is no momentary adoption of the faith and law of Christ to which eternal life is the promised recompense. God will not condescend to take His place among the fashions of the day. Christianity is a new life.

W. Archer Butler, Sermons, Doctrinal and Practical, p. 90.

References: John 8:51.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 89; H. Wilmot-Buxton, The Life of Duty, vol. i., p. 176. John 8:54.—Contemporary Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 241.

John 8:56Christ's Day, or Christmas Joys

I. The text does not tell us that Abraham had any distinct foresight of the manner of Christ's birth. That was a mystery which remained locked up in the secret chambers of God's counsels, until it seemed good to the Holy Ghost to reveal it to the prophet Isaiah. But the meaning of the words My day in the text must clearly be the day or season of Christ's coming, and dwelling upon earth, the day or season of that earthly life into which He entered. This, then, is the day which our father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see, the day of the coming of Him in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed, the day of Christ's coming to dwell upon earth, in order that He might deliver mankind from their sins.

II. If we have the spirit of Abraham, if we have the faith of Abraham, we must rejoice, as Abraham rejoiced, in the thought that we are to see Christ's day. The Christian is to rejoice at the coming of Christ, because He who is the Lord of light and life brings both one and the other. This He did, when He first came, to the whole world. The whole world was lying in darkness and in the shadow of death, when the Sun of righteousness arose and turned its darkness into light, its night into day. The whole world was rotten at heart and palsied in all its limbs, when Christ came and breathed His spirit into it, and said, "Arise and walk." And as it was with the whole world, when Christ first came as on this day to deliver it out of its deadly darkness, so is it still with the soul of every one to whom Christ comes for the first time. These, then, are the reasons why we are to rejoice in the coming of Christ; that, whereas without Christ we are blind, Christ opens our eyes and enables us to see; that whereas without Christ we are deaf, Christ enables us to hear; that whereas without Christ we are in darkness and know not where we are nor whither we go, Christ sheds the clearest, brightest light both upon us and upon everything around us: that, further, whereas without Christ we are bound with the chains of sin, Christ came to burst those chains and to deliver us into the glorious liberty of the children of God; in a word that, whereas without Christ we are without God in the world, Christ has set us at one with God—that, whereas without Christ we are at war with God, with each other, and with ourselves, Christ came to bring us peace with ourselves, with each other, and with God.

J. C. Hare, Sermons in Herstmonceux Church, p. 111.

References: John 8:56.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 20; Homilist, 3rd series, vol. iii., p. 151.

John 8:58The text is one of those rare passages in which Jesus Christ appears to stand upon His own dignity, in which the Lowly, the Humble, the Unresisting Son of man asserts His high origin, claiming to be God, for it amounts to no less: God from everlasting. "Before Abraham was, I am."

I. Abraham rejoiced to see the day of Christ. He had a glimpse of that day of the birth of Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, as He had a glimpse also of the manner in which Jesus Christ should work out our redemption. He took his son Isaac and offered him up on Mount Moriah—that Isaac so exceedingly dear, of whom it was said, that "in Isaac shall thy seed be called." He offered him up, his one hope of becoming the father of many nations. And that act of Abraham—that act of faith, was counted unto him for righteousness; and he is held up for ever as the father of the faithful. To him, as St. Paul writes, "The Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed."

II. Jesus Christ Himself lived before Abraham was born. Whenever God is spoken of as holding communion and as being visible to man, it is in the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God, the Son, Jesus Christ. It is He who declares to us the Father. It is He who represents God to us, and is Himself God, even Jesus Christ. This was He who talked with and was called the friend of Abraham. It was He who was the Giver of the Law to Moses, it is He by whose agency the worlds were made, God the Supreme Deity dwelleth in the light which no man can approach: but Jesus Christ who is the image of the Invisible God, hath manifested, made known, declared to us, what God is; how good, how gracious, how ready to forgive, and how rich in mercy to those who call upon Him. It follows, then, that we should honour and worship Him as God, we should draw near with all reverence, with all holiness, with bowed heads and bowed hearts, to present our supplication before Him.

R. D. B. Rawnsley, Village Sermons, 3rd series, p. 62.

References: John 8:58.—G. T. Coster, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 88; C. Kingsley, All Saints' Day, and Other Sermons, p. 116. John 8:59.—J. Keble, Sermons from Septuagesima to Ash Wednesday, p. 343. John 8:59.—A. P. Stanley, Three Hundred Outlines on the New Testament, p. 79; Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times," vol. vii., p. 57. John 9:1.—T. Birkett Dover, The Ministry of Mercy, p. 123. John 9:1.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xii., p. 103; S. G. Matthews, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 266; J. Keble, Sermons on Various Occasions, p. 475.

And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.
Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.
Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.
And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
As he spake these words, many believed on him.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.
And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
William Robertson Nicoll's Sermon Bible

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

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John 7
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