Adultery

While the frustrated leaders went home to try again on the morrow, Jesus went to His place of prayer on the Mount of Olives.
With the dawn, Jesus and the leaders were ready for another round. Jesus came to the Temple early, sat down, and began teaching the early arrivers.

One of the Adulterers
John does not tell us how the leaders found this unfortunate woman except to quote them that she was caught “in the act.” This was not rumor or baseless accusation—her guilt was beyond question. There was no mention of the man. To have discovered her in the act indicated that he was present and just as guilty. The custom of the day dwelt on the guilt of the woman. This was one of the things Jesus came to correct—the gender inequality of cultures that held men and women at different values. The man was as guilty as the woman, but he seems to have faded into the crowd. He may have found his place among the elders. The woman was all the men needed to challenge Jesus.

What Would Moses Do?
The elders cared nothing for her. She was a useful tool to trap Jesus in a conflict with Moses and the Law.

“Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”

This tested the heart of Jesus.

  • He was known for His passion for the Law, claiming to be the fulfiller of the Law, not its destroyer.
  • He was also known for His compassion for the sinful and downtrodden.

The leaders thought they had Him in a trap from which He could not escape. It was wishful thinking.

Hand-writing in the Sand
As if He didn’t heard their challenge, Jesus stooped to the ground and began writing in the sand. John does not tell us what He wrote. This omission has prompted commentators through the centuries to speculate about what He may have written. Some have suggested that He wrote the names of the men, or the man, who had committed adultery with this woman. That is as good a theory as any. Jesus stood and announced,

“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

A Slow Exit
Whatever Jesus wrote, this was the effect: a profound, silence broken only by the sound of stones dropping from the hands of guilty men. When He stooped and wrote again, there was an outbreak of guilt. An orderly exit resulted, starting with the oldest men whose sins and indiscretions were long ago but were suddenly fresh in memory. This exit by age continued from the oldest to the youngest until all the accusers were gone. Finally the woman had no accusing fingers pointing at her. Jesus spoke,

“Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

Her voice was small in the cavernous Temple.

“No one, Lord.”

His splendid answer still rings through all these centuries giving hope to those who have fallen.

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

The accusers were gone, but the listeners were still there. Women attended the woman and led her away in peace. Instead of angry stones, tears fell like rain to the sand beneath the feet of the onlookers. Jesus seized the moment.

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness,
but have the light of life.”

Scriptures:
John 8:2-12

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught 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, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You are the One who makes things right. Wicked men, and one man in particular, ganged up on a wayward woman. Without excusing her sin, You showed compassion on her and served justice to the men. They fled the revelation of their secret sins. At the end of the scene, the men still bore their sins but she was forgiven. You have made so many wrong things right for me—thank You, Lord! Amen.

Song:
The Light of the World

Words and Music: P. P. Bliss

1. The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Like sunshine at noonday, His glory shone in;
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Refrain:
Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me;
Once I was blind, but now I can see:
The Light of the world is Jesus!

2. No darkness have we who in Jesus abide;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
We walk in the light when we follow our Guide!
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Refrain

3. Ye dwellers in darkness with sin-blinded eyes,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Go, wash at His bidding, and light will arise;
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Refrain

4. No need of the sunlight in Heaven we’re told;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
The Lamb is the Light in the city of gold,
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.