A Woman Caught in Adultery
SEPTEMBER 6- Nº 249 John 7:53 – 8:11
By the time the sun set on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jerusalem was buzzing with controversy over the things Jesus had said and done. The Jewish people were beginning to believe that he really could be their Messiah, while the Pharisees insisted that he was a fraud. Instead of starting the long journey back to Galilee, Jesus spent the night on the Mount of Olives. Early the next morning, despite the conflict surrounding him and the fact that the Pharisees wanted to kill him, Jesus returned to the Temple courtyard. Many people gathered around him, so he sat down to teach them. Seeing this, the Pharisees and religious leaders laid a trap hoping that they could come up with enough evidence to accuse him of a crime. They brought a woman into the Temple courtyard and made her stand in front of the group. Then they publicly presented Jesus with a challenge: “This woman was caught in the act of adultery. Moses commanded us in the Law to stone such a woman. What do you think we should do?” The Pharisees thought they had Jesus trapped. If he said, “Let her go,” they could charge him with violating the Law of Moses (see Leviticus 20:10). If he said, “She must be executed,” he would be breaking the Roman law which did not allow the Jews to carry out capital punishment. But Jesus ignored them. He stooped down and wrote on the ground with his finger. (We have no record of what he wrote.) But the woman’s accusers kept on questioning him. Finally, he stood up and said, “Whoever has no sin, let him be the first one to throw a stone at her.” Then he stooped back down and continued writing. Instead of passing a sentence on the woman, Jesus had passed a sentence on her accusers. They knew that what they were doing at that moment was sinful. They had set up a scenario and trapped the woman. How else would they have had the two or three eyewitnesses required to accuse her (see Deuteronomy 17:6)? And why didn’t they also bring in the guilty male? Moses had commanded that he should be stoned as well (see Leviticus 20:10). Perhaps he was part of the set-up. Those who were standing there accusing her knew that they were guilty of entrapment and fraud. Slowly the religious leaders who had brought the woman to Jesus turned and left. One by one, they walked away, starting with the oldest first. Finally, only Jesus and the woman remained. Jesus stood up and asked, “Woman, where are your accusers? Is no one staying to condemn you?” “No one sir,” she responded. “Then neither do I,” he declared. Jesus was the only one who had the right to throw a stone, because he was the only one who had never sinned. Instead, he instructed the woman, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He never approved of what she had done. He called it what it was—a sin. But he offered her the opportunity to change her lifestyle.
It is not our role to catch people doing sinful things and condemn them. It is our role to offer them a way to be forgiven by explaining how they can have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We must care enough to lovingly share the Gospel with everyone and anyone!