Summary: The Woman taken in Adultery: Jesus is the Defender of the Weak, the Healer of the Bruised, and the Mender of the Broken.
The Feast of Tabernacles was a grand celebration. Food! Reunions! Parties! According as the Lord had commanded, families constructed special temporary shelters and camped out in them — to remind them of the travels of their forefathers through the Wilderness. Along with the great feasting came over-indulgence and even immorality. Sin has its ways of corrupting even the best of things.
On the last day of the Feast, that great day, Jesus had stood in the temple court and shouted, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” A wonderful invitation for the needy to come to Him for refreshment and cleansing and new life!
Then Jesus may have spent the night praying in the gardens outside the city, or maybe he slept in the house of a friend in Bethany or on the Mt. Of Olives as in Lk.21:37,38.
Early in the morning Jesus was back in the temple courts, teaching the people. Clusters of people hung around, some only staying for a few minutes, others lingering and wondering what this new Teacher had to say.
Everyone turned to see what was going on when, scuffling, shoving, and angry, a group of men came dragging and yanking at a woman. She was cursing, screaming, and violently twisting to try to escape whatever they planned to do to her. Behind them, very ceremoniously, walked lawyers and Pharisees, sober-faced and intent. Yesterday they had been foiled. This time they had hatched the perfect snare and someone had found a wicked woman in the midst of her sin to provide just the right setting. This time they would not fail to trap Jesus.
The woman knew the temple courts would mean a trial and punishment. But instead of dragging her toward any judges they brought her to Jesus, the teacher from Nazareth! What did they have in mind?
The guards derived a twisted pleasure out of manhandling her. They threw her into the open space right in front of Jesus and circled to keep her from escaping. Defiantly she spit on them.
There was a proper court for this matter, but they brought this woman to Jesus in order to trap Him. If he agreed to the Death Penalty that Moses had stipulated, He would be in trouble with the Romans. But if He tried to avoid condemning her, the people would think that Jesus did not care for the law of Moses. Besides the Pharisees knew Jesus’ proneness to forgive sinners.
“Here! Master!” they shouted,
… 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?
I have a question! If they found her in the very act, where was the man? These men were cowards. They were not interested in justice. They were only interested in trapping Jesus. She was just the bait in their trap. They cared nothing about her or about justice.
That’s not the way it was with Jesus. Isa.42:3 had predicted of the Messiah,
3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
Jesus was the —
THE DEFENDER OF THE WEAK
She was defenseless. She could not hire a lawyer. There was no man to take up for her. People would only cluck about how wicked the times had become. Intimidated by the police and by the religionists, she would be harassed and hooted out of the public square.
She was embarrassed in front of everyone. She might even be stoned, but no one seemed to care.
In terror and panic, her frightened eyes must have furtively searched for a way to escape. Jesus’ silence must have been deafening. She burned with anger and embarrassment.
As always, Jesus refused to take the position of judge. Jn.3:17 explains,
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Someday He will be the Judge of the Universe, but not now!
Jesus bent over and wrote on the Ground. What did He write? This is the only place in the Bible that Jesus wrote something and we do not know what it was. Was He tracing pictures? Or letters?
J. Vernon McGee thinks Jesus wrote the names of their secret women from other cities. We’ll never really know.
Maybe He was just buying time, letting the consciences of the accusers soak in their own hatefulness.
They kept prodding Him. What shall we do with her?
Hateful looks darted from the woman to the guards and the Pharisees. Even to Jesus.
The guards and the Pharisees looked contemptuously at everyone else.
People shuffled and wondered what would happen next.
Finally Jesus spoke, “Let him that is without sin, first cast a stone at her.” It was the responsibility of the lead witness to throw the first stone.