Lesson 45

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

7:53 Everyone went to his own house, 8:1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 8:2 At dawn, he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him. He sat down, and taught them. 8:3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman taken in adultery. Having set her in the midst, 8:4 they told him, "Teacher, we found this woman in adultery, in the very act. 8:5 Now in our law, Moses commanded us to stone such. What then do you say about her?" 8:6 They said this testing him, that they might have something to accuse him of.

But Jesus stooped down, and wrote on the ground with his finger, as if he didn't hear. 8:7 But when they continued asking him, he lifted himself up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her." 8:8 Again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground.

8:9 They, when they heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning from the oldest, even to the last. Jesus was left alone with the woman where she was, in the midst. 8:10 Jesus lifted himself up, and seeing no one but the woman, said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?"

8:11 She said, "No one, Lord."

Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more."

 Today's Lesson

This is perhaps one of the most well known stories of Jesus' life. A woman caught in adultery is brought before Him. The law of Moses would have called for both her and the man she was caught with to be stoned to their deaths. They put Jesus to the test. What should be done with this woman?


Let us first examine some of the pitfalls that this test presented. Under the Roman rule, no one could be put to death without Roman justice. If the crowd had stoned her, the Romans would have cracked down and Jesus could have been blamed for the disturbance. On the other hand, Jesus could not say (and would not say) that the precepts of the law were not valid. The penalty for adultery was death. The penalty and consequences for sin do not change no matter what the political situation.


Moreover, to respond in either of these fashions would have been to validate the test that these people were trying to fashion for Jesus. His inquisitors were trying to push Jesus onto one side of the question or another in order to manipulate Him. Either way that He would have answered they would have placed in a negative light.


What does this story tell us about Jesus? He was not simply being clever, adroitly sidestepping their trap. Jesus was reflecting the will of the Father. There is a time and place for condemnation. It is behind us and before us. It is behind us in the sense that we all stand condemned of sin. It is before us in the sense that a day of final judgment awaits all men. But, while condemnation is behind us and before us, the present moment in God's presence is a time reconciliation and forgiveness. Jesus comes to us with the grace of God. For today, we are offered pardon.


There will be a day of reckoning. There will be a day when the payment for our sins must be made. A death will be demanded for our sin and rebellion. God offers the life and death of His Son as payment for our sin. All who believe will be saved through the sacrifice of His death. All who refuse, must pay with their own. Jesus did not accuse these men of sin; their own hearts accused them.


"He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her." Our minds look at the sins of others and accuse them, while our own hearts are full of the same sins. There is only one who is without sin, and He is not willing to condemn. Neither then should those who follow after Him.


Forgiveness and grace do not deny justice. Justice will be exacted for all sin, and the price will be high. The consequence of sin scars the life of all it touches. But, the same one who would not condemn this woman caught in adultery was willing to pay the awful price for sin. And, His sacrifice was so precious to the Father, that by one sacrifice He paid the debt of sin for the whole world.


"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"


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