Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives,
but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.
As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and Pharisees brought a woman they had caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
"Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the very act of adultery.
The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?"
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.
They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!"
Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.
Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?"
"No, Lord," she said. And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."
Jesus said to the people, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."
The Pharisees replied, "You are making false claims about yourself!"
Jesus told them, "These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don't know this about me.
You judge me with all your human limitations, but I am not judging anyone.
And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone -- I have with me the Father who sent me.
Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact.
I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other."
"Where is your father?" they asked. Jesus answered, "Since you don't know who I am, you don't know who my Father is. If you knew me, then you would know my Father, too."
Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come.
Later Jesus said to them again, "I am going away. You will search for me and die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going."
The Jewish leaders asked, "Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, 'You cannot come where I am going'?"
Then he said to them, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not.
That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I say I am, you will die in your sins."
"Tell us who you are," they demanded. Jesus replied, "I am the one I have always claimed to be.
I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won't. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is true."
But they still didn't understand that he was talking to them about his Father.
So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will realize that I am he and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak what the Father taught me.
And the one who sent me is with me -- he has not deserted me. For I always do those things that are pleasing to him."
Then many who heard him say these things believed in him.
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings.
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
"But we are descendants of Abraham," they said. "We have never been slaves to anyone on earth. What do you mean, 'set free'?"
Jesus replied, "I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave of sin.
A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.
So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free.
Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because my message does not find a place in your hearts.
I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father."
"Our father is Abraham," they declared. "No," Jesus replied, "for if you were children of Abraham, you would follow his good example.
I told you the truth I heard from God, but you are trying to kill me. Abraham wouldn't do a thing like that.
No, you are obeying your real father when you act that way." They replied, "We were not born out of wedlock! Our true Father is God himself."
Jesus told them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me.
Why can't you understand what I am saying? It is because you are unable to do so!
For you are the children of your father the Devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don't believe me!
Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don't you believe me?
Anyone whose Father is God listens gladly to the words of God. Since you don't, it proves you aren't God's children."
The people retorted, "You Samaritan devil! Didn't we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?"
"No," Jesus said, "I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father -- and you dishonor me.
And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God wants to glorify me. Let him be the judge.
I assure you, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!"
The people said, "Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say that those who obey your teaching will never die!
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Are you greater than the prophets, who died? Who do you think you are?"
Jesus answered, "If I am merely boasting about myself, it doesn't count. But it is my Father who says these glorious things about me. You say, 'He is our God,'
but you do not even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But it is true -- I know him and obey him.
Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad."
The people said, "You aren't even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?"
Jesus answered, "The truth is, I existed before Abraham was even born!"
At that point they picked up stones to kill him. But Jesus hid himself from them and left the Temple.