Early in the morning Jesus came from the mount of Olives and entered the temple, and all the people came to him; and he sat down, and taught them.
And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and they set her in the midst.
Scribes and Pharisees: Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what do you say? (This they said, tempting him, that they might have something of which to accuse him.)
The scribes and Pharisees were trying to catch Jesus in a situation that would make Him lose favor with the people. They think this is it. They think have him. There is no right choice.
If Jesus says don’t stone her, he has disregarded the Law of Moses. (Deuteronomy 22:22)
If he says stone her, he is in trouble with the Romans. Under Roman rule, it was illegal for the Jewish courts to enforce a death sentence. (That is why in Luke 23 Jesus was taken to Pilate to be judged as well as to Herod) Also, Jesus has been preaching love and mercy and forgiveness.
But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he didn’t hear them.
When they continued asking him, he lifted himself up.
Jesus: He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.
And he stooped down again, and wrote on the ground.
What did Jesus write? I have heard some speculation. Two of these guesses appeal to me.
1-Jeremiah 17:13 Those who turn away from You will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water. Opposite of being written in the Book of Life.
2-Writing the offenses of each accuser
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
In doing this, Jesus accomplished three things.
1-Jesus took the responsibility of stoning the woman off of himself.
2-He also ensured that no one would stone the woman because there is none without sin, except he himself.
3-And he caused them to reflect on their own sinfulness before God.
Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman.
Jesus: Woman, where are your accusers? has no man condemned you?
Woman: No man, Lord.
Jesus: Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Then Jesus spoke to the Pharisees again.
Jesus: I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Pharisees: You bear record of yourself; your record is not true.
Jesus: Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and where I go; but you cannot tell from where I come, and where I go. You judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bears witness of me.
Pharisees: Where is your Father?
Jesus: You neither know me, nor my Father: if you had known me, you should have known my Father also.
(Jesus spoke these words in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.)
Jesus: I go my way, and you shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: where I go, you cannot come.
Jews: Will he kill himself? because he says, Where I go, you cannot come.
Jesus: You are from beneath; I am from above: you are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins: for if you do not believe that I am he, you shall die in your sins.
Jews: Who are you?
Jesus: Even the same that I said to you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
They did not understood that he spoke to them of the Father.
Jesus: When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
As he spoke these words, many believed on him.
Jesus (to those Jews who believed on him): If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Those Jews who believed on him: We are Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how do you say, You shall be made free?
Jesus: Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abides not in the house for ever: but the Son abides ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s seed; but you seek to kill me, because my word has no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do that which you have seen with your father.
Jews: Abraham is our father.
Jesus: If ye were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me, a man that has told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. You do the deeds of your father.
Jews: We are not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
Jesus: If God were your Father, you would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do you not understand my speech? even because you cannot hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, you believe me not. Which of you convicts me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe me? He that is of God hears God’s words: you therefore do not hear them, because you are not of God.
Jews: Don’t we say well that you are a Samaritan, and have a devil?
Jesus: I do not have a devil; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. And I seek not my own glory: there is one that seeks and judges. If a man keeps my saying, he shall never see death.
Jews: Now we know that you have a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and you say, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Are you greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: Who do you make yourself out to be?
Jesus: If I honor myself, my honor is nothing: it is my Father that honors me; of whom you say, that he is your God: Yet you have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
Jews: You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?
Jesus: Truly, before Abraham was, I am.
Then the Jews took up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Why did this make the Jews want to Jesus for saying “before Abraham was, I am”?
Exodus 3:13-14 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I Am that I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.
In saying “before Abraham was, I Am,” Jesus was claiming to be God.