Summary: Jesus gave each person an opportunity to step towards God or step away from Him, depending upon what they did with the rock in their hand.
Your Rock: Gripping It or Letting Go
John 7:53-8:11 (NKJV)
(Have a basket of rocks available so everyone can take one during the service when offered.)
* This passage stated not to be in the earliest texts.
* Text and context even questions whether it was written by John.
* Some translations and commentaries omit it in this location, but place it at the end of the book.
* We approach the passage with caution, the same caution we should approach any of the Holy Word.
* No single passage creates a doctrine, but is take in light of the whole under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
* Augustine stated this was left out of the early Greek text for the prudish idea that it would encourage adultery.
* However, you will note that Jesus doesn’t condone her sin. He didn’t minimize it. He came to die for it.
* This is a story about a woman caught red handed.
* Illustration (caught red handed)
* It’s a story about a crowd who had their worship service interrupted.
* It’s a story about religious leaders trying to trap Jesus.
* It’s a story of grace and forgiveness.
53 And everyone went to his own house.
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
* Jesus once said, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." (Matt. 8:20)
* Basically Jerusalem State Park. No doubt it was a time of rest and prayer.
2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.
* Prayed up and rested, Jesus began to teach in the temple.
3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 "Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
* Picture the scene. The people in the Temple listening quietly as Jesus taught.
* There is a loud disturbance. Men are yelling and a woman wailing.
* Breaking through the crowd, this posse drags a woman into the temple, cast her on the floor in front of Jesus.
* Her attire is not proper for public display and indicates her illicit activity.
* Her shame is evident, as eyes of condemnation fall upon her.
* The crowd reacts with disgust. This is not what they came to church for.
* This is not what they wanted their children to see when they brought them to the Temple.
* You can see the distaste in every face. She doesn’t belong here!
* One of the religious leaders speaks. "We caught this woman in adultery. The Law states to stone her. Jesus, do we obey the law or do we obey the Romans? What’s your take on the situation?"
* The Law of Moses condemned both the man and the woman caught in adultery to death by stoning.
* It also required two witnesses to the act. Context indicates at least two witness were present.
* However, Roman law forbade local legal authorities to execute someone without approval of the Roman government.
* They reacted harshly against mob mentality and were especially tough on the leaders.
* Would Jesus follow the Law of God or Roman laws? Would this condemn him in the eyes of the people who loved the Law or the Romans, who enforced their own law?
* One stated, "Jesus was between a rock and a hard place."
* The leaders of the Jews were not interested in the Law here.
* They were not interested in the adultery. They cared nothing for the woman, or truth.
* They were interested in trapping Jesus.
* Jesus responded by simple stooping and writing in the sand. Maybe he hadn’t heard them.
7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
* Many have speculated on what Jesus wrote in the sand.
* Some say, the Law. Some believe names and dates. Some believe "Do not be a malicious witness." Exodus 23:1.