Summary: This sermon seeks to encourage the believer to live out of grace rather than under the law which is from The Exchanged Life perspective
Fall is in the air, football is on the horizon and it won’t be long before we’ll be hearing, Clay County verses Bowden, Clay County verses Lineville and this year even Clay County verses Dadeville. As you read the local newspaper that’s what you’ll be seeing on the back page.
As I read this passage of Scripture from John 8 this week I kept hearing Law verses Grace. That’s the way the Holy Spirit was speaking to me through this passage. And He brought to mind the words of Rom 6:14 which says, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” Paul was saying, “you no longer live under a legalistic system of religion trying to measure up, trying to qualify, equaling to a standard, striving, working, trying to live up to the Law. Rather you live under grace, in a relationship with God whereby Jesus Christ has declared you right with God, forgiven all of your sin, fulfilled the Law in you, made you righteous, qualifies you, makes you to measure up, re-created your spirit equal to God’s standard and works through you as you abide and rest in Him to accomplish His will through you each and every day.”
That’s exactly what this woman caught in the act of adultery experienced. She experienced the grace of Jesus not the condemnation of the Law. Let’s walk through this experience with her this morning with the hope of experiencing the victory of grace in our own hearts and lives today.
The context of the story seems to assume that Jesus had been teaching in the temple on several occasions. Having done so the preceding day Jesus dismissed them to their own homes as John 7:53 indicates. However, Jesus chose to stay overnight on the Mount of Olives. Perhaps he dropped in on Lazarus and his sisters in Bethany. Or He may have spent the night in Gethsemane praying; Or even spent the night under the stars, looking across the Kidron Valley at the slumbering city, preparing Himself for the encounter the coming day.
Early at daybreak Jesus was back in the Temple. If you wanted to find Jesus when he was in Jerusalem, that was the most likely place to look. That’s where Mary and Joseph found him many years before. And no doubt many pilgrims from Galilee and various other parts of the world, preparing to go home now that the feast was over, would come for one last look before leaving. Some would be sure to linger to hear this remarkable prophet one more time. So as John says, “all the people gathered around Him, and He sat down to teach them.”
As Jesus began to teach those who were coming to Him, the Scribes and Pharisees led in a woman caught in the act of adultery and put her in front of the crowd. Now the Scribes were a professional group in Judaism who copied the law of Moses and interpreted it. They were religious scholars, teachers of the religious law and supposedly knew the letter of the law. They copied it, taught it and explained it. They were a specially trained body of laymen who were custodians of the traditions of the elders, those added rules and regulations which made up the ever growing oral law. Along with them, were the Pharisees who were another religious group in Judaism who followed the whole written law and the oral law as interpreted by the Scribes. They not only knew the letter of the law, but they lived by the letter of the law and followed those oral traditions. And when behavior didn’t match up to the letter or the traditions, you were judged by these people as not measuring up, unfit for the Kingdom, unacceptable, you fall short of their expectations and in their eyes condemned! These religious people are said to have brought her before Jesus to determine how He would judge her.
“Teacher,” they called out, getting Jesus attention – “this woman was caught red-handed, in the very act of committing adultery.” Then came the set up of Law verses Grace. “Moses, In the Law commanded us to stone such women,” they continued. Then they climaxed their set up by asking, “So what do You say we should do?” Not only did they put her on the spot, but they also put Jesus on the spot. But where was the partner caught with her? Why wasn’t he also brought in? It should have been easy enough to identify and apprehend her companion. However, they weren’t interested in justice, the real intent of these religious folk was to set a trap for this upstart teacher. And a subtle trap it was! These legalists were undoubtedly seeking to test Jesus skill in decision making as well as His conformity to orthodox interpretation of the Law.