Summary: This is an exposition of John 8 which shows the way the Lord dealt with the woman who was caught in the act of adultery.
The Wise Teacher
The wise teacher had to prepare for His class. His early arrival marks Jesus as being a diligent teacher who is prepared and anxious to teach His pupils. The last verse of the previous chapter tells us that all the pupils went into their own houses. The first verse of the eighth chapter tells us that Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives. The Scriptures do not even hint at the reason for the contrast found in the closing verse and the first. We can only speculate as to the reason why Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. One strong reason is that He had no other place to reside. Just as possible, Jesus went to prepare for the obvious encounter that He was to have with all those who would come to the Temple as He taught. The preparation involved much prayer. There is no greater preparation for the ministry than that of prayer. Verse two tells us that "all the people came unto him." The word "all" here is not all without exception; it is all without distinction. This use of the word "all" means that people of all ethnic, cultural, social, age, and religious persuasion could have been represented. With this great representation of people, the Teacher is going to be challenged by the scribes and Pharisees. Yet, Jesus will handle the challenge brilliantly. May we consider: I. The Interruption of the Teacher (vv. 1-6a); II. The instructions by the Teacher (vv. 6b-9); and III. The interrogation by the Teacher (vv. 10-11).
I. THE INTERRUPTION OF THE TEACHER vv. 1-6a The presentation of the woman – The scribes and the Pharisees have used every ploy and trap to cause Jesus to stumble. This attempt is certainly no exception. As they bring the guilty woman to Jesus, they bring her not as a person that they would like to rid themselves of, because of her immoral and wicked lifestyle, but as an object to entrap Jesus. Their reasoning is thus. If Jesus is to release her only out of sympathy, He will have violated the law of Moses. If Jesus required her to be stoned, then He would not have exercised compassion. Certainly there is a dilemma, but not for Jesus. He will not violate any facet of the law, but will let the law be interpreted and carried out with wisdom and fairness. He will be the wise Judge as He handles this case.The woman was set in the midst, being accused of adultery, having been caught in the very act. The woman who was presented is a representative type of us all. We are all guilty; we are all sinners; we have all come short. Jesus knowing that this lady was a terrible sinner, must have still looked upon her with compassion. The Jesus, whom I know, is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. The most wicked sinner cast into hell will still have the compassion and love of Jesus, but without pardon. To reject the grace of God in this life is to forfeit the mercy of God for all eternity. This John study will continue to remind us that there is an age of grace, a time to turn from our sins to Him. The accusation of the woman – The setting of the woman in the midst to be judged was such a pathetic display of hypocrisy. Her accusers were not in the least concerned about the woman’s wicked lifestyle, they were only intent on taking Jesus. Their own wickedness would equal or surpass the accused. The reason that she was caught in the act, likely was due to her accusers familiarity with her behavior, as possibly contributing to it themselves. They wanted to victimize her only to get to Jesus. That is not to say that she was not guilty, for she was. It is like "the pot calling the kettle black." The Pharisees were so religiously deranged, yet in their proud and prating ways were not even aware of it. They could not accept Jesus as the Messiah and could only accuse this woman to implement their devilish scheme. The blindness that covered their eyes would not let them discern spiritually what they were really doing. They thought what they were doing was proper. Very similarly, our President has introduced wicked laws and committed impeachable offenses thinking that he is doing a service to our country. As sincere as he may be, his agenda is not at all Christian.The woman’s accusation was based upon the law of Moses, "Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?" (v. 5). The law of Moses was not evil; the Scriptures tell us quite the contrary, saying that the law is good. The law has a strong moral purpose. The law also gives its provisions for dealing with the lawbreakers. Some feel that Jesus’ dilemma comes from having a law that he does not wish to have. They forget that the law given to Moses originated with God. Therefore Jesus will not at all violate even the spirit of the law. The way that Jesus handles this situation is not a compromised solution. He will keep the law completely, and instruct the sinning woman not to sin anymore. We will note later how this is done.The temptation by the wicked – Though the accusation is proper and even necessary in the interest of enforcing the law, their motives were corrupt and wicked. They were not interested in pursuing justice, they were interested only in persecuting Jesus. The world has not changed. The Altogether Lovely One would be on trial today if He were here. Those who embrace Christ Jesus also would be on trial with Him.Though the accusing of the woman is a trap, there still must be a legal resolution involving the accused verses the accusers. Even if their motives were improper, the due process of the law must be carried out. Jesus will take the evidence and then wisely implement the law. He will pursue a course of action based upon truth and fairness.