John 8:12,31-36,51-59 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What claim does Jesus make in John 8:12a (printed below?) What do you think He means by this claim?

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world (John 8:12a)

In Scripture, to give light means to give illumination and instruction; to be a light means to be a revelation or an example. By claiming to be “the Light of the world,” Jesus is claiming that He, as the eternal Son of God, is able to reveal God to men (note John 14:9) and show men the life that is pleasing to God.

2. What promise does Jesus make to those who follow Him? See John 8:12b (printed below)

…whoever follows me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12b)

Jesus promises that those who follow Him “shall have the light of life.” “The light of life” is the light that radiates from the life of God and directs us into that holy and blessed life (note Psalm 43:3). Jesus is telling us that if we commit ourselves to Him, we shall have the light of life—we shall be delivered out of the state of spiritual darkness and increasingly brought into an ever deepening experience of the life and truth of God.

3. What does Jesus urge those Jews how believed in Him to do? What will they experience if they heed His counsel? See John 8:31-32 (printed below)

Jesus therefore said to those Jews who had believed him, If you remain in my word you will truly be my disciples; (32) and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:31-32)

Jesus speaks of the necessity of remaining in His Word. That is to say, the necessity of constantly and consistently making the Bible to be your spiritual compass whereby you are directed to the ways of God; your moral rudder whereby your life is steered by the law of God; your divine anchor whereby you are connected to Christ. Jesus declares that as we remain in His Word we shall “know the truth.” As we remain in Christ’s Word we shall become acquainted with the truth of God, and we shall become united to the truth of God and transformed by it. Jesus further declares that the truth shall make us free. As we grow in the likeness of Christ (by means of His Word and our believing/obedient response to His Word), at the same time we will be growing out of the bondage and corruption of sin.

4. Describe the spiritual bondage of which Jesus speaks in verses 34-35 (printed below). What good news does He give us in verse 36 (printed below?)

Jesus answered them, I tell you the truth, Every one who commits sin is the slave of sin. (35) And the slave does not remain in the household forever; the son remains in the household forever. (John 8:34-35)

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36)

In verses 34-35 Jesus speaks of a terrible spiritual bondage: the bondage of sin. Verse 34 tells us that the sinner is a slave to sin (note Romans 6:16a, 19b). As a spiritual slave, the sinner has no status: he has no claim upon God and no abiding place in God’s household. Furthermore, the sinner has no security: he may be dismissed and consigned to the judgment of hell at any time. But, as verse 36 assures us, Jesus has the authority to confer upon the sinner the new status of adoption and sonship. At Calvary Jesus paid the price to purchase our deliverance from the bondage and consequence of sin and to secure for us a place in the household of God as a son. The moment you turn your life over to Jesus you undergo that change of status from slave to son.

5. What do you think Jesus means when in verse 51 He says, “I tell you the truth, If anyone keeps my word, he shall never see death?”

The one who keeps Christ’s Word is the one who continues to live in a saving relationship with Christ. The person who keeps Christ’s Word shall never see death. In biblical terms, “death” means being removed from a state of fellowship with God, a state in which one enjoys God’s communion and blessing, and being removed to a state of separation from God, a state in which one experiences the righteous judgment of God enacted against sinful man. The ultimate expression of “death” is being denied entrance into heaven and being consigned to eternity in hell (note Matthew 25:41). If you commit yourself to Jesus, you shall never see death—on the contrary, you shall forever live in Jesus and He will bring you into the fullness of life in His Father’s kingdom.