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.
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.
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.
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 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.