Summary: Deals with Jesus’ encounter with the woman taken in adultery.
“AT THE POINT OF GRACE!”/JOHN 8:1-11/SHASTA WAY/11-17-02/A.M.
In the text for this morning we see a difficult situation. A woman has been taken in the very act of adultery. She has been literally dragged into the presence of Jesus. There is something frightfully wrong with this picture. First, the woman is being used as a pawn to further the anti-Christ ends of the Jewish leaders. Second, they are not half as interested in keeping the Law as they are in shafting Jesus. Third, where is the man? You know, it takes two to tango and one was as guilty as the other. Some have speculated that they set the woman up only to be apprehended so they could use her against Jesus. Something is wrong in this picture. But there is also something really right about this picture. You see, Jesus is there. He is not gulled or deceived by the duplicity of the crowd. He is not over a barrel with no alternatives. He is not stumped. This is a wonderful picture of grace. And it is at the point of grace that we learn some great lessons and see some great truths. Consider with me.
I. FIRST WE SEE FOES AND A FRIEND:
A. The foes were the religious leaders. They were specialists in Jewish Law.
1. But they were using Law as a weapon to condemn, to kill and destroy when God had intended it for the good of man.
2. Their motives were tarnished; their attitudes were godless; their hearts were hard; their minds were closed.
3. They were foes to the woman, foes to Jesus Christ, and in reality, foes to God.
B. But in the midst of that crowd of hostile, glaring, accusing countenances, was the kind and compassionate Friend, Jesus.
C. The world can be a hostile place. People can be cruel. When faced by formidable foes, take a hint from the Bible! Turn to your Friend!
1. Psalms 25:2 (NASB) “O my God, in Thee I trust, Do not let me be ashamed; Do not let my enemies exult over me.”
2. Psalms 27:3 (NASB) “Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.”
3. Romans 8:31 (NASB) “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”
4. Isaiah 41:10-13 (NIV) “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’”
D. We all need a friend when the foe is overwhelming. In a painting, a boy is pictured as playing chess with the devil. The devil seemingly has him in checkmate. The game seems lost! Looking at the painting is a chess champion who said, “I can counter the devil’s move!” and demonstrated how he would save the boy and put the devil in checkmate. That’s what Jesus did! The foe seemed to have the woman, and Him, in checkmate – but with one good move, He turned the tables and set the foes to flight: “Let the one among you who is without sin cast the first stone.” Checkmate! Jesus – and the woman, won!
Not only do we see foes and a friend, but:
II. THEN WE SEE ACCUSATION AND ACQUITTAL:
A. They said, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?”
B. Jesus turns the table and makes the accusers become self-accusers: “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Note two striking truths:
1. He did not set aside Law: He allowed that the sinless could cast a stone at her.
2. He did not condone her sin: He merely said, “If there is anyone here truly qualified to carry out the penalty of Law, let him do so. But you have to be without sin to do it!”
C. Contra their finger pointing vilification, Jesus shows compassion and extends the hand of mercy and grace.
1. This is not tantamount to endorsing her action; it is tantamount to endorsing her as a person.
2. Here is a perfect blend of justice and mercy. Justice allowed a stone to be cast but only by the innocent; mercy allowed that the only Sinless One would not cast that stone.