Summary: Every time I read this passage I think of myself as that adulterous woman, who was caught in her sin, being brought to the righteous and just Judge of all. How I rejoice that as He said to her, so too has He said to me - "Neither do I condemn you." May th
Caught in the Act
Imagine a big gathering of people. They are listening to an important speaker such as a governor, an ambassador or perhaps even someone like the president [I will let you make this person be whoever you desire to fit your own political beliefs, :-)].
Then suddenly shouts are heard, "Move aside!" "Get out of the way!" "Let us through!" as an angry mob pushes through the crowd and they are found pushing a person to the center of this gathering ...
People move being aghast at what is happening --- they all stare as this person is tossed to the ground before the speaker ...
And as everyone stares in disbelief - the mob cries out, this person has been caught in the very act of a crime -- this person deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Then without wasting a second, this mob turns toward the speaker and says, "Don’t you agree?" - As if to justify their rhetoric.
While everyone stares, this person slowly curls up into a ball, trying to find a hole to crawl in and disappear and just before the person hangs their head in shame, the person glances up for a brief moment and to the shock of all - they know this person. Lo and behold this person is YOU - CAUGHT IN THE ACT!!!!
Everyone went to his home. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, "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?" They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with his finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did not one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more."
I. The passage of John 7:53-8:11 is considered by most NT textual critics not to be a part of the original text of John’s Gospel. The reasons given in support for not recognizing this section called the Pericope [i.e., the section of a book] of the Adulteress as being a part of John’s original manuscript are: (1) the section is absent from most of the earlier and major manuscripts, (2) the style [syntax] of the language changes between 7:52 and 8:12 [i.e., it does not match John’s writing style], (3) no Greek Church Father prior to the twelfth century comments on the passage - [Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed.,2001, 187-188].
II. However, "to say that the passage is not an integral part of John does not dismiss it. . . . [Since we find it in our Bibles] it is still necessary to account for its presence. . . . [The story] is wholly in keeping with the character and ministry of Jesus, and that it [without a doubt reflects] a genuine account of an episode [during] His [ministry]" [adapted from, Merrill C. Tenney, John, The Gospel of Belief: An Analytic Study of the Text, 1948, 138].
III. As for me, I am not fully convinced that this passage is not a part of the original manuscript from John’s Gospel.
Look at how well 7:53-8:2 fits with the preceding context -
The day ended and everyone went to his home - except for the Son of Man who had no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20 & 9:58) -- so He went to the Mount of Olives for the evening.
Jesus said ... The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no where to lay His head.
Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.