Summary: Using the story of the woman caught in adultery, Pastor John shows us how we can react like Jesus to bad situations.
CCCAG June 17th, 2018
Scripture- John 8:1-11
What we just watched was a video representation from the movie the Gospel of John that depicts one of my favorite Bible Narratives because it shows the overwhelming love of Jesus Christ for the sinner. Anyone who is giving their heart to the Lord Jesus has stood before him like that woman did- dirty, covered in their sin and totally dependent upon the richness and mercy of God.
For that reason I love this story.
This morning I want to take a little time and dissect this narrative as there are a few things that are not immediately clear from a casual reading of the story.
Before we get into the meat of the Gospel account-
I want to start with a footnote that appears in many modern translations of the bible. There is an editor's note that questions whether John chapter 8:1-11 should not be in the Bible because the earliest most reliable manuscripts did not have this scripture in it.
So want to take a little bit of time and address that right away this morning. The Bible says that all scripture is God breathed and is useful for rebuking correcting and training in righteousness. We want to make sure that this particular scripture is part of God’s inspired Word, so lets tackle that first this morning.
A little history about John’s Gospel-
The gospel of John was the last gospel written and was written in or around 90-100 AD. By this time in history, Jerusalem has been destroyed and the faithful have been scattered to the far corners of the Roman Empire. The original copies of the NT Gospels and letters/epistles that were written were being tightly kept in individual churches.
These documents were being carefully copied by converted Jewish scribes so that the teaching of the Apostles could be spread throughout the Roman Empire. Some minor persecutions arose that led to the loss of some of the original copies of the NT (minor meaning not widespread), until 284 AD, a man named Diocletian rose to power and became emperor.
Diocletian hated Christianity and started an aggressive campaign to rid the entire world of its influence buy raiding churches and houses of Christians and Jewish people and destroying any copies of the Bible or Jewish literature that he could find.
Diocletian’s purges continued until his death when the Roman emperor Constantine took over the empire. Constantine is an interesting historical figure as he was the first Roman Empire to be friendly toward Christianity, and even is reported to have become a Christian later in his life. Constantine reversed the purge is set forth by his predecessor and started gathering all the known copies of scripture that he could find.
Because of the intense persecution under Diocletian, the leaders of the churches had no idea where many of these scriptures were as a whole, as no one church had all the teachings in one place. What we know now, and these are very recent findings- is that many of these scriptures had been smuggled out of the Roman Empire and even into the fabled libraries of Alexandria, Egypt.
These copies of the scriptures, some of the oldest copies ever found, were not rediscovered until very recently (the last 5 years) and well after most of the Bible translations that we use today were written.
All those findings confirm that John chapter 8:1-11 was an original part of Johns manuscript.
Not only that, but we also have witnesses from the early church fathers and the early theologians that created much of the doctrine and belief systems that we still follow today. Two of these men wrote specifically to the fact many church’s left this part of John’s Gospel out of their copies. These two men were Pope Jerome, and Saint Augustine.
Augustine was the prolific author and formed many of the doctrines of Christianity and philosophy that we believe in today., Both noted that John chapter 8:1-11 were part of Johns original manuscript.
Augustine wrote an interesting commentary about this subject.
I'll read you what he said and then explain it a little bit because the language in it is somewhat formal to our 21st century years.
Augustine "Certain persons of little faith, or rather enemies of the true faith, fearing, I suppose, lest their wives should be given impunity in sinning, removed from their manuscripts the Lord's act of forgiveness toward the adulteress, as if he who had said, Sin no more, had granted permission to sin."
What Augustine’s was saying here, is that among the Greek church’s and particularly in places like Corinth which dealt with a very lascivious culture, sexual sin was a huge problem within the church.
Augustine was saying that church people were taking the scripture and pointing out that since Jesus easily forgave the adulteress, that Jesus himself must not have a problem with adultery or other sexual sins.