Jesus Forgives a Woman Caught in Adultery
Imagine the scene: The Lord is sitting in the temple, teaching. From the corner of the temple mount there’s an uproar. Everyone turns to see what is happening. Some religious rulers drag in a half-dressed, disheveled woman through the gate. They throw her in front of Jesus, shouting, “This woman was caught in adultery; in the very act” (v. 4). This is cruel to the woman and a trap to catch Jesus.
They think they’re posing an unanswerable dilemma to Jesus, asking, “The law of Moses says she should be stoned. What do you say?” (v. 5). They think they’re tempting Jesus to contradict Moses.
The Lord knew what they were doing. So He countered their question with a surprise—He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
Read John 8:6.
What did our Lord write in the dirt? We don’t know, but perhaps it was the names of those in the crowd who had also committed secret adultery. He stood up and said, “Now, if you’re without sin you go ahead and throw a stone.”
Read John 8:8, 9.
The older leaders left first, because they had more sense than the younger ones. Eventually, Jesus is the only one left “qualified” as one without sin who could throw a stone at her. He asks her instead, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? … Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (vs. 10, 11). Jesus wasn’t going soft on adultery; in His kindness, He’s giving her a chance to repent.
In the Gospel of John, when Jesus says, “I AM,” He’s telling us about God. Right after this conversation, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (v. 12).
Jesus just exposed the sin of the scribes and Pharisees who brought the guilty woman to Him. They were just as guilty as her, and they had to run. Jesus just turned on the light, and sin and rats and bats and bedbugs cannot stand the light!
First John 1:5 tells us that “God is light.” He’s holy, righteous, and just. The Lord Jesus Christ is spiritual light. Just as we have enough sense to turn on a light in a dark room, any sinner—though he be a fool—can come into the presence of Jesus Christ.
The religious leaders scoffed at Jesus’ claim, calling Him a demon one minute and illegitimate the next. They understood very little of what He was saying. Human knowledge today can be understood by anyone who has a human nature. But divine knowledge must be loved to be understood, and only the Spirit of God can take the things of Christ and show them to us. (See 1 Corinthians 15:47, 48.)
Jesus summarizes His argument with a sober word: “If you do not believe that I am the Messiah, you will die in your sins” (v. 24).
But some believed Jesus as He stood up against the religious leaders (v. 30). To these people, Jesus offered this encouragement: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (vs. 31, 32).
What is the truth that will make us free? That Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He is who He said He is.
Next, what does faith look like?