the light of the world: The metaphor Jesus used to describe himself may have reminded his listeners of the four giant lampstands in the Court of the Women, which were lit during the Festival of Booths, or Tabernacles. (Joh 7:2; see App. B11.) The light from them illuminated the surroundings to a great distance. In addition, the expression “light of the world” echoes passages from Isaiah foretelling that “a great light” would be seen by “those dwelling in the land of deep shadow” and that the one referred to as Jehovah’s “servant” would be “a light of the nations.” (Isa 9:1, 2; 42:1, 6; 49:6) In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus used the same metaphor when addressing his followers, saying: “You are the light of the world.” (Mt 5:14) The expression “light of the world” (where the Greek word koʹsmos refers to the entire world of mankind) fits well with Isaiah’s words about the Messiah being “a light of the nations.” And at Ac 13:46, 47, Paul and Barnabas show that these prophetic words of Isa 49:6 constituted a command to all of Christ’s followers to continue to serve as a light to the nations. Both Jesus’ ministry and that of his followers would enlighten people spiritually and free them from enslavement to false religious teachings.
the Father: Some manuscripts read “he,” but the main text reading has strong support in ancient manuscripts.
treasury chests: Ancient Jewish sources say that these contribution boxes, or receptacles, were shaped like trumpets, or horns, evidently with small openings at the top. People deposited in them various offerings. The Greek word used here also occurs at Joh 8:20, where it is rendered “the treasury,” apparently located in the area called the Court of the Women. (See study note on Mt 27:6 and App. B11.) According to rabbinical sources, 13 treasury chests were placed around the walls of that court. It is believed that the temple also contained a major treasury where the money from the treasury chests was brought.
the treasury: Or “near the treasury (contribution) chests.” The Greek word used here also occurs at Mr 12:41, 43 and Lu 21:1, where it is rendered “treasury chests.” Apparently, the term here refers to the area of the temple located in the Court of the Women, where there were 13 treasury chests. (See App. B11.) It is believed that the temple also contained a major treasury and that the money from the treasury chests was taken there. But it is unlikely that this verse speaks about that area.—See study note on Mr 12:41.
sexual immorality: The Greek word por·neiʹa is a general term for all sexual intercourse that is unlawful according to the Bible. It includes adultery, prostitution, sexual relations between unmarried individuals, homosexuality, and bestiality.—See Glossary.
We were not born from immorality: Or “We are not illegitimate children.” The Jews were claiming to be legitimate children of God and of Abraham and, thus, heirs of the promises made to Abraham.
when he began: Or “from the beginning,” that is, from the beginning of the Devil’s course as a murderer, a liar, and a slanderer of God.—1Jo 3:8, ftn.
a certain Samaritan: The Jews generally looked down on the Samaritans and refused to have any dealings with them. (Joh 4:9) Some Jews even used the term “Samaritan” as an expression of contempt and reproach. (Joh 8:48) One rabbi is quoted in the Mishnah as saying: “He that eats the bread of the Samaritans is like to one that eats the flesh of swine.” (Shebiith 8:10) Many Jews would not believe the testimony of a Samaritan or accept a service from one. Aware of the scornful attitude generally held by Jews, Jesus made a strong point in this illustration that is often referred to as the parable of the good, or neighborly, Samaritan.
you have seen Abraham?: A few manuscripts read “has Abraham seen you?,” but the main text reading has strong support in early authoritative manuscripts.
I am he: Lit., “I am.” Greek, e·goʹ ei·mi. Some consider this expression to be an allusion to the Septuagint reading of Ex 3:14 and use it to identify Jesus with God. However, Ex 3:14 uses different wording (e·goʹ ei·mi ho on, “I am The Being; I am The Existing One”) from that used at Joh 4:26. Moreover, the expression e·goʹ ei·mi is used in the Septuagint to render words spoken by Abraham, Eliezer, Jacob, David, and others. (Ge 15:2; 23:4; 24:34; 30:2; 1Ch 21:17) In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the phrase e·goʹ ei·mi is not limited to the rendering of words expressed by Jesus. The same Greek words are used at Joh 9:9 in recording a reply by a man whom Jesus had cured. They simply convey the message: “It is I.” These words are also used by the angel Gabriel as well as by Peter, Paul, and others. (Lu 1:19; Ac 10:21; 22:3) Obviously, these statements are not references to Ex 3:14. A comparison of the parallel accounts in the synoptic Gospels shows that the phrase e·goʹ ei·mi found at Mr 13:6 and Lu 21:8 (“I am he”) is a shorter way of expressing the more complete thought found at Mt 24:5, which is rendered “I am the Christ.”
I have been: The opposing Jews wanted to stone Jesus for claiming that he had “seen Abraham,” although, as they said, Jesus was “not yet 50 years old.” (Joh 8:57) Jesus’ response was to tell them about his prehuman existence as a mighty spirit creature in heaven before Abraham was born. Some claim that this verse identifies Jesus with God. They argue that the Greek expression used here, e·goʹ ei·miʹ (rendered “I am” in some Bibles), is an allusion to the Septuagint rendering of Ex 3:14 and that both verses should be rendered the same way. (See study note on Joh 4:26.) In this context, however, the action expressed by the Greek verb ei·miʹ started “before Abraham came into existence” and was still in progress. It is therefore properly translated “I have been” rather than “I am,” and a number of ancient and modern translations use wording similar to “I have been.” In fact, at Joh 14:9, the same form of the Greek verb ei·miʹ is used to render Jesus’ words: “Even after I have been with you men for such a long time, Philip, have you not come to know me?” Most translations use a similar wording, showing that depending on context there is no valid grammatical objection to rendering ei·miʹ as “have been.” (Other examples of rendering a present tense Greek verb using a present perfect tense verb are found at Lu 2:48; 13:7; 15:29; Joh 15:27; Ac 15:21; 2Co 12:19; 1Jo 3:8.) Also, Jesus’ reasoning recorded at Joh 8:54, 55 shows that he was not trying to portray himself as being the same person as his Father.
picked up stones to throw at him: About two months later, the Jews again tried to kill Jesus in the temple. (Joh 10:31) Since the temple was still being renovated, it has been suggested that the Jews gathered the stones from a construction site.