In John 8:1-11, we see a woman who is brought to Jesus. She knows that, according to the law, she deserves to die. She is hopeless and helpless. But she is brought to Jesus. The only one who is able to condemn her offers her mercy.
vs.2 And early in the morning Jesus came again into the temple, and all the people came to him; and he sat down, and taught them.
Feast of Tabernacles – Leviticus 16:16
8th day – Sabbath – Leviticus 23:29
Jesus came to the temple
He sat down and taught
vs.3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
Scribes and Pharisees brought in a woman
Placed her in the middle of the people gathered for worship
She may have been clothed, maybe had a sheet around her, maybe naked
vs.4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
Master, this woman was taken in the very act of adultery
No “he said/she said,” she was caught in the very act.
vs.5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
Deuteronomy 22:22 Woman is married to another man
Both the man and the woman must die by stoning.
They bring only the woman. Was the man someone prominent in the community? Did the woman suit their purpose better?
The woman is worthy of death – hopeless, helpless
vs.6a This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.
Moses’ law commands us that she should be stoned.
What do you say?
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 have him. There is no right choice. They are using this woman to test Jesus.
If he says don’t stone her, he has disregarded the Law of Moses.
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.
vs.6b But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
Jesus writes is the dust.
It was not lawful to write even two letters on the Sabbath on paper. But it was permissible to write in the dust. Jesus knew the written law and the oral law. God said Rest on the Sabbath. Six days shall you labor and work and on the seventh you shall rest. So the Jews added to the law in an attempt to define work. What is work? If you walk more than ½ mile, it is work. If you tie a knot, it is work. If you carry certain things, it is work.
What did Jesus write? I have heard two possibilities.
-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
– Writing the offenses of each accuser
vs.7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Let the one without sin cast the first stone
Took responsibility of stoning off himself
Ensures no stoning because there is none without sin
Caused them to reflect on their own sinfulness before God
vs.8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And then he writes more in the dust.
vs.9 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.
As he writes the woman’s accuser leave – one by one – beginning with the eldest even unto the last.
The scribes and Pharisees came to condemn but condemned themselves
The judgment they wanted for the woman, they realized they themselves deserved.
vs.10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? has no man condemned thee?
Jesus is left alone with the woman. All of her accusers have left. Where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?
vs.11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
No man, Lord.
Neither do I condemn you. He alone could have cast the first stone. He alone was able to condemn her. He alone was without sin.
John 3:17 God sent NOT His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
The situation has changed. By law this woman could not be condemned. Deuteronomy 19:15 says at the mouth of 2 witnesses shall a matter be established. With no accusers/witnesses, the woman could not be punished by Moses’ law. Jesus is not disregarding Moses’ law by letting her go unpunished.
Go and sin no more. Jesus called this woman to a new life. When she met the Savior her life is changed. She went from humiliated, helpless, hopeless and worthy of death to forgiven. But Jesus didn’t say go and continue in sin. No, He said Go and sin no more.
We, like this woman, are brought before The Lord. He sees our sin. He alone is able to condemn us. But He offers us mercy. He does not give us the punishment we deserve. Instead He says Go and sin no more.
He doesn’t say, “Go and continue in your sin!”
He says, “Go and sin no more!”