As He continued to speak, Jesus referred to Himself as the light of the world. This light signified knowledge and life whereas darkness signified ignorance and death. The Pharisees disputed this claim stating that He was testifying about Himself without the required two witnesses to confirm a matter. Jesus pointed out that His own testimony and that of His Father made up the two witnesses.
The great problem with the Pharisees was their inability to separate their concepts of the Messiah as an earthly deliverer with the actual spiritual nature of Jesus.
As He began to tell of His death, the Pharisees again asked Jesus, “Who are you?”
Jesus stated, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He. And that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
Many believed in Jesus after these teachings, but their faith was weak and short-lived. When He said that the truth would make them free, they said that they were Abraham’s descendants and had never been in bondage. Again, they were confusing the earthly with the spiritual. He was referring to freedom from sin.
Whoever commits or lives in sin is a slave to sin. Through obedience to Christ, one becomes free from sin as long as he does not return to that sinful life.
Jesus continued to point out the sinful nature of His audience. He stated that they could not be children of Abraham because they were trying to kill Him for telling the truth. They were of their father, the devil who was the father of the lie, for he was a liar and murderer from the beginning.
The Jews then argued that they had one Father who was God. Again Jesus said that if God were their Father, they would love Him. They hated Him instead. He also concluded that since He was telling the truth and they were rejecting it, they could not be children of God.
As Jesus discussed His superiority over Abraham, He said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” I AM means timeless existence.
The Jews, thinking that Jesus was blaspheming picked up stones to throw at Him, but it was still not His time. He went out of the temple and escaped again.