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Gospel of John - Chapter 8 - Lesson 1

Posted on April 10, 2016 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

The Woman Caught in Adultery


John 7:53 They went each to his house,

John 8:1 (ESV) but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.


After the debates about whether or not Jesus could be the Messiah in Chapter 7, everyone just dispersed and went home. However, Jesus who had no home, went to the Mount of Olives. This was His place of solitude to pray, meditate, and rest. It is good to have a quiet place to be alone with God and regroup. The fact that Jesus Himself needed this indicates that we should all develop a place of prayer and meditation. If Jesus needed this, how much more do we? When I lived in a house, it was my garden. For some it is their easy chair. For some it may be their man (or woman) cave.


Early the next day in the temple, Jesus continued to attract a crowd; so He sat down to teach them. Some of them probably felt that He had answers to questions they had pondered for a long time, maybe all of their lives. Many were probably just curious about all the hub-bub. Religious leaders were still trying to trap Him in some way.


John 8:3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”


While Jesus was teaching the crowd, the scribes and Pharisees plopped an unfortunate woman in front of Jesus saying she had been caught in the very act of adultery. If the scribes and Pharisees so responsibly accosted the woman in the act of adultery, where was the other half of this depraved duo? Yes, why didn’t they lay hands on the man as well? It seems the Pharisees disobeyed the law by not arresting both parties. The law clearly stated that both the man and the woman were to be executed. Both the adulterer and the adulteress had equal responsibility for their sins and should have been equally held accountable.


Leviticus 20:10 (MSG) “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—the wife, say, of his neighbor—both the man and the woman, the adulterer and adulteress, must be put to death.


Also, stoning was only specified in the case of a man taking an engaged virgin within the city limits where she could have screamed to attract attention:


Deuteronomy 22:22-24 (NLT) “If a man is discovered committing adultery, both he and the woman must die. In this way, you will purge Israel of such evil. Suppose a man meets a young woman, a virgin who is engaged to be married, and he has sexual intercourse with her. If this happens within a town, you must take both of them to the gates of that town and stone them to death. The woman is guilty because she did not scream for help. The man must die because he violated another man’s wife. In this way, you will purge this evil from among you.


The scribes and Pharisees wanted to create a corner that Jesus could not deliver Himself out of in the midst of the people so that everyone would see and hear how He handled this difficult situation.


John 8:6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.

They were eager for Jesus to entrap Himself by His actions. If He said to stone her, He would not only appear merciless but would be violating Roman law since the Jews were not allowed to carry out a death penalty. If He extended mercy, they would accuse Him of disregarding the law. Also, if He said to stone the woman, they could accuse Him of not meting out justice to the man involved even though they had not brought the man to Him.


John 8:6b Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.


I wish I knew what He wrote! Many scholars have speculated on this very thing. He might have written each of the names in the crowd that were holding stones or each of their sins. Since He knew their hearts, He could have written down a few pet sins of those scribes and Pharisees. Maybe He started writing the ten commandments to remind them that none of them perfectly kept even those. Maybe he wrote the names of their secret lovers. We don’t know, but we would like to have known. Maybe Jesus will let us in on it when we get to Heaven!


John 8:7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.


They kept pressing Him for an answer. I guess they thought He was ignoring them while He wrote on the ground. When He said that the one without sin should throw the first stone, the point was there is only One who is righteous, and you’re not Him. Then He continued writing the mystery messages in the dirt. I still want to know what that might have been! Perhaps at that point they began seeing what He was writing in the dirt.


John 8:9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.


The older ones may have left because they had the longest list of sins because they had lived longer and had the longest time to mess up and need forgiveness. Or perhaps they had the wisdom of living longer to understand His meaning and their sinfulness while the younger men were rash as young men often are. They could have been hot heads, and that hot-headedness could have blinded them until they saw the example of their elders. I believe the woman was now alone with Jesus but was still trembling because she had just seen her life pass before her eyes with the expectation that she was going to be cruelly and excruciatingly executed.


John 8:10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”


Jesus had saved the woman’s life from the angry, murderous mob. He asked her where they were, and if anyone had stuck around to condemn her. She responded, “No one, Lord.” She addressed Him with reverence and respect, and possibly gratitude. Jesus assured her that He would not condemn her to death either. He admonished her not to continue in her sinful ways. I imagine that after being that close to being stoned to death and out of gratitude to Jesus for saving her, she gladly obeyed Him. She did not deserve mercy because she was caught in the act, but Mercy met her at the point of her need. The One who did have the right to Judge, who could have pounded the gavel and said, “guilty,” extended mercy to her. He graciously gave her life to her as a gift.


Q – Have you ever been tempted to “cast stones” at someone? Perhaps that someone truly was guilty of a heinous offence. Did the Lord prevent you by reminding you of His grace to you? Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” If you have been saved by grace, you are forgiven COMPLETELY even though you did not deserve forgiveness.