Summary: The lost don’t need another critic; they need someone who cares. Like Christ we must not condone their actions, but extend to them loving compassion for their soul.

Caught In The Act



Text: John 8: 1-11

Intro: Of all the accounts mentioned in the New Testament concerning Christ’s dealings with people, the account just read from our text is among my favorites. Not only was this woman’s life being wrecked by her sin, but she was forced to endure public shame as well. Yet in spite of this woman’s wicked and lurid past, Jesus extended compassion to her. That’s not to say that He condoned her wickedness. He didn’t. But in His matchless wisdom, Jesus knew this woman didn’t need another critic; she needed someone who cared.

Another thing I find amusing about this account is the fact that it was the religious crowd of that day who was condemning this poor sinner. They were the very ones who should have been trying to minister to her. But they had no time for that. They were too busy touting their strict observance of the Law and trying to find fault with Jesus to show compassion to the likes of this wicked sinner.

But such was the way of the religious crowd of Christ’s day. Jesus once rebuked them for overlooking the more important aspects of the Law, when He said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith…” (Matt.23: 23a). These self-righteous scribes and Pharisees cared nothing for upholding the righteousness of the Law. They wanted Jesus’ blood; and if they had to stone this poor wretch in the process; well, that was just too bad.

In this account we will find that not only did Jesus rescue this poor woman from the religious crowd, who condemned her, but He also redeemed her from the sin that contaminated her. For you see, here, Jesus is caught in the act of compassion.

Theme: Christ’s compassion is seen in:


A. She Was Guilty According To The Religious Leaders.

John 8: 1 “Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and taught them.

3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

6a This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him…”

B. She Was Guilty According To The Religious Law.

1. The Law specifically forbade this sinful practice.

Ex.20: 14 “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

2. The Law’s sentence was death for both parties.

Deut.22: 22 “If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”

NOTE: [1] This woman was guilty, plain and simple. She was plainly due the penalty prescribed by the Law. Please notice that Jesus never denied this woman’s guilt in the matter of adultery, nor that the prescribed penalty was not due her. However, Christ’s love and compassion sought her deliverance, not her death.

[2] There is another thing I see happening here. This poor woman was being forced to face herself and her sin. That is a necessary first step in salvation. One must realize that they stand condemned before God, and worthy of His righteous judgment. It is interesting to note that this lady never uttered a word of refutation when these religious leaders accused her. She was broken, humiliated, and humbled.

[3] People respond to guilt in many different ways. But just because one vehemently denies their guilt doesn’t change the facts. Apart from Christ, we are all guilty, and under condemnation.

The scene was San Diego Superior Court. Two men were on trial for armed robbery. An eyewitness took the stand, and the prosecutor moved carefully:

“So, you say you were at the scene when the robbery took place?”


“And you saw a vehicle leave at a high rate of speed?”


“And did you observe the occupants?”

“Yes, two men.”

“And,” the prosecutor boomed, “are those two men present in court today?” At this point the two defendants sealed their fate. They raised their hands.

Tom Blair, “San Diego Union,” quoted in Reader’s Digest.


John 8: 6b “…But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.”

A. This Writing Is Of Unknown Content.

1. Perhaps Jesus wrote how these men had twisted the Scriptures.

a. These guys acted as though guilt rested solely upon the woman.

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