THIS WEEK: You…A Tax Collector…A ‘Sinner’…A Pharisee…A Teacher
It was not shaping up to be a good day for this lady.
Perhaps just the night before she was caught in the act of adultery. Our current culture minimizes this activity as almost normal (unfortunately), but in Jesus’ time this was a BIG deal.
The sixth commandment prohibited it: “You shall not commit adultery.”
Leviticus 20:10 outlined the punishment for it. ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.’
Based on the law, the Pharisees felt the obligation to follow through…but before they did, they wanted to use this woman’s sin for their own benefit…to find a reason to accuse Jesus.
John 8:1-11 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
Which was worse? The adultery or the attempt to trap Jesus? Jesus seems to ignore their question and begins to write something on the ground. The Pharisees press him until he stands up and speaks.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
Only the “sinner” remained. What happened to those that accused her? Silently they condemned themselves. The fact they all left indicated they were not without sin. They too were sinners and so were not about to throw the first stone.
Unfortunately, they didn’t stick around to hear what Jesus told the sinner that remained.
10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The only one who had the right to condemn the woman caught in adultery (as he was without sin) was the one who chose not to and showed grace. He didn’t minimize the sin. He forgave it. He didn’t condone the behavior. He told her to leave it.
Jesus would have done this for each of the Pharisees to. It’s what he came to do. It’s why he hung out with sinners…to tell them they were forgiven and empower them to leave their life of sin.
It’s what he does for every sinner…just hang around him long enough to hear it!
Apply: What sin in your life do you need to hear Jesus say, “Neither do I condemn you?” Hear him say it. What sin in your life do you need Jesus’ power to over come? Hear him say, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for your love for every sinner. Thank you for not condemning me. Strengthen me to leave my life of sin. Amen.