John 8–10

“Lesson 24: John 8–10,” New Testament Teacher Manual (2018)

Introduction and Timeline

Chapters 8–10 of John present a period in the Savior’s ministry when opposition from Jewish leaders was intensifying. In response to an effort to trap Him in His words, the Savior showed compassion in refusing to condemn a woman taken in adultery (see John 8:1–11). When Jesus declared Himself to be the God of Abraham and later explained His oneness with the Father, it incited such ire among His opponents that on two separate occasions they took up stones to kill Him (see John 8:52–59; 10:29–39).

As He taught in the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles, the Savior brought greater understanding about His divinity and mission by using contrasting images: light versus darkness (see John 8:12), freedom versus bondage to sin (see John 8:31–36), and truth versus error (see John 8:40–46). We can often appreciate truth more clearly by seeing its opposite. This is further illustrated when Jesus healed a man born blind and then used the contrast between blindness and sight to teach about spiritual blindness (see John 9:39–41). Then, in John 10, we are able to compare the loving care of the Good Shepherd with thieves, hirelings, and wolves who threaten the sheep (see John 10:1–16).

New Testament Student Manual : Religion 211-212

Chapter Overviews

John 8

The Lord responded to scribes and Pharisees who had accused a woman taken in adultery. He proclaimed that He is the Light of the World and was sent by the Father. Jesus taught, “The truth shall make you free,” and testified, “Before Abraham was, I am.”

John 9

The Savior gave sight to a man born blind. The man was repeatedly questioned about who healed him. Jewish leaders sought to discredit the Savior’s power to work miracles. Jesus Christ cured spiritual blindness for those who believed in Him.

John 10

Jesus Christ declared that He is the Good Shepherd who loves and cares for all His sheep. Jesus has power to lay down His life and take it up again. The works of Jesus Christ manifest His perfect unity with the Father.

Suggestions for Teaching

John 8:1–11

The Woman Taken in Adultery

Explain to students that John 8 describes a group of scribes and Pharisees bringing an adulterous woman to the Savior and challenging Him to pass judgment on her. Share with your students the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985):

Kimball, Spencer W.

“In my childhood, Sunday School lessons were given to us on the 8th chapter of John wherein we learned of the woman thrown at the feet of the Redeemer for judgment. My sweet Sunday School teacher lauded the Lord for having forgiven the woman. … This example has been used numerous times to show how easily one can be forgiven for gross sin.

“But did the Lord forgive the woman?” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 165).

Encourage students to consider President Kimball’s question as they study the account of the woman taken in adultery. Invite a student to read John 8:1–6 while the class follows along, looking for possible motives of those who brought the woman to Jesus. After students have shared what they find, ask:

  • What do you think it means that the scribes and Pharisees were “tempting” the Savior? (To help students understand this concept, you could ask a student to read the student manual commentary for John 8:1–11.)

  • What do you imagine the woman was feeling as all this was taking place?

Give students a minute or two to study John 8:7–11, including the Joseph Smith Translation addition found in verse 11, footnote c, looking for what the Savior did and what He refrained from doing in this situation. Ask them to share what they find.

The students’ answers may include the following: The Savior refrained from succumbing to pressure from others, and He refrained from condemning her. He did not condone her sin, as shown by His words in verse 11, telling the woman to “sin no more.” The Savior did show compassion and mercy, He did encourage the woman to sin no more, He taught the scribes and Pharisees about their own guilt, and He defused the emotional situation.

After students share their findings, read what President Kimball said to conclude his discussion of this scriptural account:

Kimball, Spencer W.

“Could he forgive her? There seems to be no evidence of forgiveness. 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” (Miracle of Forgiveness, 165).

Point out to students that the woman had not had time or opportunity to repent totally. When her repentance was complete, she could receive forgiveness from the Savior. For now, Jesus judged her action as sin, but He did not condemn her. He encouraged her to repent and to “go, and sin no more.” Consider asking questions like the following to help students deepen their understanding of this account:

  • How do you think the woman felt after Jesus spoke to her?

  • Why did everyone leave? Why are the Savior’s words found in verse 7 so important for us to remember?

  • What principle about how to follow the Savior’s example do you learn from this account? (Answers should include: We can follow the Savior’s example by choosing not to condemn those who have sinned.)

Help students think about ways they can apply this principle in their lives by inviting them to read the student manual commentary for John 8:7–11. Consider asking:

  • If the experience is not too personal, when have you or someone you know followed the example of the Savior by choosing not to condemn someone who did something wrong? How did these actions benefit those involved?

  • What are some occasions when we can follow the Savior’s example of choosing not to condemn others?

Encourage students to ponder ways that they can follow the Savior’s example in not condemning others.

John 8:12–59

Jesus Christ Taught about Light, Truth, and Freedom

To provide context for John 8:12–59, summarize this passage for the students by stating that throughout John 8, the Jewish leaders struggled to know the identity of Jesus Christ. (For instance, as recorded in John 8:25, they asked, “Who art thou?”) Numerous times Jesus told them who He was, but they refused to recognize His divinity. John 8 records several times when Jesus declared His divinity. You might have students notice phrases such as, “I am the light of the world” (verse 12), “I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me” (verse 18), “I am from above” (verse 23), and “I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things” (verse 28).

Write the following on the board:

Light / darkness

Truth / lie

Freedom / bondage

Explain that as the Jewish leaders repeatedly opposed Jesus Christ and His teachings, He testified about the truth of who He was by using words like these—words that represent opposing concepts. Call on students to read John 8:12, 44–46, and invite students to mark the opposing concepts “light,” “darkness,” “truth,” and “lie” in these verses.

  • What do these terms help you understand about the Savior and His mission? (The Savior came to bring light and truth to the world and to overcome darkness and evil. These terms emphasize the great contrast between the Savior’s divinity and those who oppose Him.)

Prepare students to study verses 31–32 by pointing to the last pair of words listed on the board (Freedom / bondage) and asking:

  • How many of you have heard someone express the idea that the standards of the Church are very restrictive? How do you respond when you hear something like that?

After a few student responses, have a student read John 8:31–32.

Read John 8:33 to your class and explain that part of Israel’s identity was that their ancestors had come out of bondage in Egypt and been freed by the Lord. As recorded in this verse, they were asking in effect, “In what sense, then, do we need to be made free?” Have students silently read John 8:34–36 to see how the Savior clarified what type of bondage He was referring to and how they could become free.

  • How did the Savior respond to the Jews’ claim that they were free? (He said that whoever commits sin is “the servant of sin,” or in other words, is in bondage to sin.)

  • How do people become slaves to sin? What would be an example of being a slave to sin? (If necessary, refer to the student manual commentary for John 8:33–36.)

  • How can the Savior make a person free? (Responses may center on repentance and the Atonement.)

Return to the list of paired opposites on the board, and ask students:

  • How do the words light, truth, and freedom relate to the Savior? How do the words darkness, lie, and bondage relate to those who oppose Him?

  • What principles can we learn from the Savior’s teachings in this chapter? (One of the principles that students should understand is this: If we continually follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, we will be free from the bondage of sin and death.)

You might help students know and feel the truth and importance of this principle by asking a few questions like these:

  • How has following Jesus Christ’s teachings made you free?

  • What experiences have taught you that obedience to truth leads to freedom?

John 9:1–41

Jesus Christ Healed a Man Born Blind

You might transition to John 9 by explaining that in this chapter, we see continued opposition to the Savior by Jewish leaders and—in the account of the Savior’s healing of a blind man and the teachings that follow—the opposing concepts of sight and blindness.

Remind your students that we can learn much from the Savior’s miracles by looking beyond the healings and asking ourselves what spiritual truths are demonstrated by the miracle. Ask two students to take turns reading John 9:1–7, with each student reading every other verse. Encourage students to listen and think about what they can learn from the healing of the blind man. Then ask:

  • According to these verses, what is one reason some people are born with disabilities? (That the works of God might be manifest in them. Note: Make sure this discussion is respectful of people with disabilities and students understand that this is not the only reason some people are born with disabilities.)

  • How were “the works of God” manifest in the blind man’s experience recorded in the verses just read?

Have a student read the student manual commentary for John 9:1–12, and then ask:

  • When have you seen the truth of President Dallin H. Oaks’s statement that “the works of God [are] furthered through the adversities of His children”?

Explain to students that the remainder of chapter 9 records that the man who was healed of blindness was repeatedly questioned about how he was healed. Divide students into seven groups. (If your class is small, students could work as individuals.) Assign each group to study one of the following scripture references: John 9:8–12; John 9:13–16; John 9:17–20; John 9:24–25; John 9:26–29; John 9:30–34; and John 9:35–38. Ask each group to prepare a short description (one or two sentences) about what they read and find answers to the following questions. You might display these questions or distribute copies of them to students:

  1. How did the man respond to the questions he was asked about how he was healed? What specifically did he say about Jesus in his responses?

  2. How did the questioners respond to his answer?

After a few minutes, have a student from each group give a short description and their responses to the questions. As groups respond, list on the board a few words from the man’s statements about Jesus. Your list might look like this:

“A man that is called Jesus” (verse 11).

“He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see” (verse 15).

“He is a prophet” (verse 17).

“Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not” (verse 25).

“I have told you already, and ye did not hear” (verse 27).

“If this man were not of God, he could do nothing” (verse 33).

“Lord, I believe” (verse 38).

After all the groups have responded, ask:

  • What evidence is there that this man was increasing in spiritual sight?

  • Remember that the Savior said the man was born blind “that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” In what ways had the works of God been made manifest in his life?

  • What examples of spiritual blindness did you notice in those who questioned the man who had been healed? (Ask students to explain their answers.)

Ask a student to read John 9:39–41, and ask:

  • What principles can we learn from the account of the Savior healing the man born blind?

Though they may use different words, students should identify this principle: As Jesus Christ gave sight to the blind, He can give spiritual sight to those who believe in Him. You might want to write this principle on the board. The student manual commentary for John 9:4–38 may be helpful in reinforcing this principle and the other principles suggested by the students.

You might conclude by asking:

  • What are some modern examples of spiritual blindness?

  • Have any of you, like the man born blind, gradually come to recognize the Savior’s importance in your life? How did this process occur for you? (You might ask one or two students to share their experiences.)

John 10:1–31

Jesus Christ Is the Good Shepherd

The lost lamb

Display the picture Jesus Carrying a Lost Lamb (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 64; see also LDS.org) or the picture of the shepherd found in the student manual commentary for John 10:1–18. Ask students to watch for what they can learn about the Savior and our relationship with Him from studying His teachings about being the Good Shepherd. Invite students to read John 10:1–16 and the student manual commentary for John 10:1–18 and for John 10:7, 9. Ask students to mark key words and phrases in the scripture verses that indicate ways the Savior is like a shepherd. Invite students to report on what they learned by asking:

  • What phrases in these verses impress you the most? Why?

  • How have you experienced the Good Shepherd’s concern for you as described in these verses?

Ask the students to read John 10:19–21, 31 and notice the response some of the Jews had to the Savior’s words. Ask the students to think about the contrast between their own feelings for the Good Shepherd and the response of these Jews to the Savior. Then have students read John 10:24–27, and ask:

Invite students to reread John 10:27 and look for what we can do to become the “sheep” of the Good Shepherd. (Hear His voice and follow Him.) Have students read John 10:28–29 and mark in their scriptures the promise the Good Shepherd makes concerning His sheep. Also ask them to read Doctrine and Covenants 50:41–43 and look for the additional insights provided by the Savior’s words in these latter days. Help students identify the principle taught in John 10:27–29 by asking them to complete the statement: “If we hear and follow Jesus Christ …” Make sure they understand this principle: If we hear and follow the Good Shepherd, we will be led to eternal life.