Lesson 67: John 8:1–30

New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual, 2016


Introduction

While the Savior was in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, some scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Him who was guilty of adultery, and they asked whether she should be stoned. He confounded the accusers and showed mercy to the woman. Jesus also taught that the Father bears witness of Him.

Suggestions for Teaching

John 8:1–11

A woman taken in adultery is brought before the Savior

Invite students to think of times when they may have encountered or associated with people whose appearance or behavior was not in harmony with the Lord’s standards.

  • What challenges might we face when we are with others whose appearance or behavior is not in harmony with the Lord’s standards? (Students may respond that we may be tempted to judge such individuals unrighteously or treat them unkindly.)

Write the following question on the board:

What should we do in situations when we are with others whose appearance or behavior is not in harmony with the Lord’s standards?

Encourage students to look for truths as they study John 8:1–11 that can help answer this question.

Explain that after the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus Christ remained in Jerusalem for a time and taught people at the temple (see John 8:1–2).

Invite a student to read John 8:3–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened as Jesus taught the people.

  • What happened as Jesus taught the people?

  • What question did the scribes and Pharisees ask the Savior?

  • According to verse 6, what was the scribes and Pharisees’ intention? (They were seeking to discredit Jesus in front of the people and establish a reason to accuse Him because they wanted a reason to arrest Him and put Him to death [see John 7:1, 32].)

Explain that if Jesus said to stone the woman, He would have been endorsing a penalty that was unpopular among the Jewish people and prohibited by Roman law. If Jesus said not to stone the woman, He would be accused of disregarding the law of Moses or treating the accepted practices of the past disrespectfully. (See Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:450–51.)

Invite a student to read John 8:7–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Savior responded.

  • According to verse 7, what was Jesus’s response?

  • What do you think the Savior wanted these men to realize when He said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”? (verse 7).

Invite a student to read John 8:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened as the Pharisees and scribes considered the Savior’s statement.

  • What do you think the phrase “convicted by their own conscience” means?

  • What did these men acknowledge by choosing to walk away?

  • What truth can we learn from this account about how to avoid condemning others? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: Acknowledging our own imperfections can help us avoid condemning others. Write this principle under the question on the board.)

  • How do you think acknowledging our own imperfections helps us avoid condemning others?

Remind students that this woman was guilty of adultery, which is an extremely serious sin (see Alma 39:3–5).

  • What feelings do you think this woman may have had as her sin was exposed to Jesus and a large crowd of people?

Invite a student to read John 8:10–11 aloud. Ask the student to also read aloud the Joseph Smith Translation in verse 11, footnote c. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Savior responded to this woman.

  • In what way did the Savior show love and mercy to this woman?

  • What instructions did the Savior give to the woman?

To help students understand that the Savior was not condoning this woman’s sin, ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:

President Spencer W. Kimball

“His command to her was, ‘Go, and sin no more.’ He was directing the sinful woman to go her way, abandon her evil life, commit no more sin, transform her life. He was saying, Go, woman, and start your repentance; and he was indicating to her the beginning step—to abandon her transgressions” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 165).

  • What truth can we learn about the Savior from verses 10–11? (Students may use different words but should identify the following truth: The Savior shows us mercy by giving us opportunities to repent. Write this truth on the board.)

  • How can understanding this truth help us when we sin?

  • How can the two truths we have identified help us respond in situations when we are with others whose appearance or behavior is not in harmony with the Lord’s commandments and standards?

  • According to the Joseph Smith Translation of verse 11, what effect did the Savior’s mercy have on the woman?

Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals the feelings they have for the Savior because of His willingness to show us mercy and give us opportunities to repent.

John 8:12–30

Jesus teaches that His Father bears witness of Him

Invite students to close their eyes and try to draw a simple picture of a specific object. Then ask students to open their eyes and compare their drawing with their neighbors’ drawings.

  • What are some things you can do better with light?

Invite a student to read John 8:12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Jesus declared about Himself.

  • What did Jesus call Himself? (Write the following doctrine on the board: Jesus Christ is the Light of the World.)

Remind students that Jesus made this declaration at the Feast of Tabernacles. During each evening of the eight-day feast, massive lamp stands, or menorahs, were lit in the courtyards of the temple, providing illumination for the many people who were in Jerusalem for the celebration.

  • How did Jesus Christ provide light to the woman taken in adultery and the men who accused her?

  • What principle can we learn from the Savior’s words in verse 12? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: If we follow the Savior, we will avoid spiritual darkness and be filled with His light.)

  • How do you feel the Savior helps you to avoid walking in spiritual darkness?

Explain that several Old Testament prophecies indicate that the Messiah would be a light to all nations (see Isaiah 49:6; 60:1–3). Therefore, in declaring Himself to be the Light of the World, Jesus was proclaiming that He was the Messiah.

Invite a student to read John 8:13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Pharisees responded to the Savior’s declaration.

  • How did the Pharisees respond to the Savior’s declaration?

  • Why did they say Jesus’s record or testimony was not true? (Because He had testified of Himself.)

Explain that Jesus reminded the Pharisees that the law of Moses required the testimony of at least two men to establish truth (see John 8:17; Deuteronomy 17:6). Invite a student to read John 8:18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for who else bore witness that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

  • According to verse 18, who did the Savior state was a second witness to His divinity? (You may want to emphasize that through this statement Jesus confirmed that He and His Father are two separate beings.)

Invite a student to read John 8:19 aloud. Ask the class to look for what the Pharisees did not understand about Jesus and His Father.

  • According to verse 19, why didn’t the Pharisees know the Father? (The Pharisees did not know the Father because they did not know Jesus and who He truly was.)

  • Based on what the Savior told the Pharisees, what can we do to come to know Heavenly Father? (Students may use different words, but make sure it is clear that as we learn of Jesus Christ, we come to know the Father. Using students’ words, write this principle on the board.)

To help students understand this principle, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“In all that Jesus came to say and do, including and especially in His atoning suffering and sacrifice, He was showing us who and what God our Eternal Father is like, how completely devoted He is to His children in every age and nation. In word and in deed Jesus was trying to reveal and make personal to us the true nature of His Father, our Father in Heaven. …

“So feeding the hungry, healing the sick, rebuking hypocrisy, pleading for faith—this was Christ showing us the way of the Father, He who is ‘merciful and gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness.’ In His life and especially in His death, Christ was declaring, ‘This is God’s compassion I am showing you, as well as that of my own’” (“The Grandeur of God,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 70, 72).

  • According to Elder Holland, what do we learn about our Heavenly Father as we learn about Jesus Christ?

Summarize John 8:21–24 by explaining that the Savior warned the Pharisees that if they did not believe in Him they would die in their sins.

Invite a student to read John 8:25–30 aloud. Ask the class to look for additional truths Jesus taught the Pharisees about Himself and Heavenly Father. You may want to invite students to mark what they find.

  • What additional truths did Jesus Christ teach about Himself and Heavenly Father?

  • How do the Savior’s teachings in these verses further help us to understand the relationship between the Savior and Heavenly Father?

Invite students to take a few minutes to review and ponder the accounts they have studied concerning Jesus Christ’s words and actions in the New Testament this year (including, for example, the account of the woman taken in adultery). You may want to display pictures from the Gospel Art Book ([2009]; see also LDS.org) that depict events from the Savior’s mortal ministry. Invite a few students to summarize an account that they each thought of and explain to the class what it teaches about our Father in Heaven.

Conclude by sharing your testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Commentary and Background Information

John 8:7. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone”

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency provided the following self-test to see if we are sometimes guilty of casting stones:

“My dear brothers and sisters, consider the following questions as a self-test:

“Do you harbor a grudge against someone else?

“Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true?

“Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done?

“Do you secretly envy another?

“Do you wish to cause harm to someone?

“If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to apply the two-word sermon from earlier: stop it!

“In a world of accusations and unfriendliness, it is easy to gather and cast stones. But before we do so, let us remember the words of the One who is our Master and model: ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.’

“Brothers and sisters, let us put down our stones” (“The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 76).

Supplemental Teaching Idea

video iconJohn 8:1–11. Video presentation—“Go and Sin No More”

Instead of inviting students to read John 8:1–11, you may want to show the video “Go and Sin No More” (3:22) from The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos. This video portrays the events recorded in John 8:1–11 and can be found on LDS.org. Encourage students to follow along in their scriptures. You should still ask students the questions in the lesson, have discussions, and record the principles on the board. The following are suggested places to pause the video to discuss the verses that students would have read:

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Pause the video after the Pharisee or scribe in the video asks “What sayest thou?” a second time (time code 1:20). Ask students the questions associated with John 8:3–6 in the main body of the lesson.

Play the video after explaining what the Pharisees and scribes hoped to accuse Jesus of. Pause the video after the Savior says, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (time code 1:32). Ask students the questions associated with John 8:7–8 in the main body of the lesson.

Play the video after the discussion. Pause the video as the Pharisees and scribes begin to leave (time code 1:47). Ask students the questions associated with John 8:9 in the main body of the lesson. You will still need to invite a student to read John 8:9 aloud to have a discussion about the fact that the scribes and Pharisees were “convicted by their own conscience” (verse 9). Play the rest of the video.