Summary: Message 16 from John's gospel exploring the account of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.
Pastor David Welch
Most all of us have encountered at one time or another, the assault of two terrible tormentors whose devastating duty is to block any progress toward maturity. They are closely related and work as a nasty team. Guilt and Bitterness Guilt is a failure to realize our forgiveness by God. Bitterness is a failure to reciprocate forgiveness to others.
God created man to live righteously after his image and character. Just as we experience physical consequences and damage when we violate the laws of health the soul suffers damage every time we violate spiritual principles embedded since creation. Every time we lie, steal, gossip, neglect love and forgiveness no matter how large or small, the soul suffers injury. Along with the consequences of violating Biblical principle comes guilt and condemnation. Violation of law brings declaration of condemnation. This condemnation of the law and people rips at the very core of our being that longs for acceptance not rejection, significance not ridicule, holiness not regrets.
The early church included this section in John’s Gospel. Most scholars agree that it was probably not a part of the original text (not found in the earliest of manuscripts) nor was it actually written by John (vocabulary and style variations from the rest of the gospel). However most also agree that it is an authentic record of the teaching and ministry of Jesus that bears exploration and completely harmonizes with all the other records of his teaching and ministry. This section records a powerful incident in the ministry of Jesus that centers on a woman in the cancerous grip of rejection, ridicule and regrets.
First, explore this incident with me from three perspectives.
• The wicked ethics of the Scribes and Pharisees
• The worthy example of Jesus
• The wonderful experience of the woman caught in adultery
Then pause to reflect on some personal application to our own lives today.
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. And 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. And the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the midst, 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?" And they were saying this, testing Him, in order 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." And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And 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 midst. And straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" And she said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more."] John 8:1-11
The wicked ethics of the religious rulers
John, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, provides us some insight into the internal motivation behind their actions. God never evaluates by action alone but always includes the motivation behind the actions. The evaluation of our life here will revolve around motives. The word of God skillfully discerns the very thoughts and intents of our heart. The Scribes along with the Pharisees were considered the lawyers of the day; experts in Law of Moses. Society often called upon them to render judgments concerning legal matters. Often times they pronounced judgment without being called upon. Here they try to force Jesus into rendering judgment in a capital case. Their motives had nothing to do with upholding the law. They tired to back Jesus into a situation where they could generate a reason to accuse him. They wanted some legal reason to arrest Him that would pacify the people. This wouldn’t be the first time they tired to trip up Jesus and failed. Since he was the sinless Son of God they would never find anything they could legally stick. In fact, later in the chapter he challenges them to try to find something.
It is also obvious that had they held any concern for upholding the standard of righteousness found in the Law, they would have also dragged the male offender to justice as well. They make a glaring point concerning the fact that this offender was “caught in the very act of adultery.” How did they catch this woman? Where was the guy? Was it perhaps one of them or their friends?