In the story of the woman caught in adultery, it’s interesting to consider what Jesus did not do. He did not excuse her guilt. He did not find some loophole in the law or call it out of date. And he did not condemn the Pharisees, who in their hypocrisy condemned themselves. Instead, he showed the woman mercy and called her to repentance. In a way, he also called the Pharisees to repentance by showing them His mercy toward the woman. He also shone the light of truth on their hypocrisy, challenging them to throw the first stone if they were sinless. Here He gives us an example of what to do when we sin, and what to do when others sin.
In the next passage (v12-30), Jesus’ declaration “I am the Light of the world” starts a discussion with the Pharisees that focuses on His relationship and oneness with the Father. He points out that to know Him is to know the Father, and to know the Father is to know Him. As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him (v30).
In the last passage (v31-59), Jesus is speaking about the freedom that His truth brings. They think He is talking about freedom from physical slavery, but Jesus says “Everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” (Paul later spends an entire chapter – Romans 6 – teaching about the slavery to sin that is done away with when we are born again.) In this passage (NASB), the words truth and truly are used 14 times, and Abraham is mentioned 11 times. Jesus starts by challenging them to do the deeds of Abraham, if they are his descendants. He ends by telling of His personal knowledge of Abraham, who ‘rejoiced to see My day”, and that He was before Abraham — “Before Abraham was, I AM” – and in doing so, declaring that He is the same God that said “I AM” to Abraham (Exodus 3:14).
– David Stanley