ABSENT WITNESSES – Part One…


John 8:1-11 – “But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 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. 3 And the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6 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. 7 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.”  8 And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 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. 10 And straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”  11 And she said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more.”]”  NASB

What an amazing event that illustrates God’s Incredible Mercy!  Here we see the Love of God manifested in a most beautiful and powerful manner. This story has a message of Hope for all who will hear and heed.  Bible scholars are uncertain about where this story belongs.  Some do not feel it belongs at all, because in some of the ancient manuscripts it is omitted.

I classify myself as a student and reader of the Word of God not necessarily a Bible scholar and believe that it belongs in the Gospels as it is presented.  I believe this story is true, factual, and it is a record of an actual event in the life of Jesus and His encounters with the Scribes and Pharisees.  It is Powerful.

This story is consistent with what we know about the Scribes and Pharisees.  It is even more consistent with what we know about Jesus.  It is a sordid story, at least in its beginning.  It shows something of the ugliness of human nature.  However, along with the sordidness, it presents rare beauty. Even though some of the characters are cruel and harsh, there is one who is strong, loving, and tender.  Here the soiled rag of womanhood has come to what appears to be the end of her life but found that it was actually entering into the Land of Beginning Again!

I ask that you join me as we walk through some highlights of this story and consider its implications and ramifications.  Hopefully, we will discover some important realities that will help us deal with difficulties and sin in life, ours and others.

FIRST – Let’s Take A Look at the Woman Who is an Unwilling Actress in this Drama.

Of course, she was a willing participant in the adultery but not the drama that unfolded upon her discovery.  I find it interesting that the Bible makes no attempt to identify her.  She is left nameless but labeled an adulteress.  I find it incredibly interesting and even repulsive that her partner is not even mentioned nor is he accused of breaking the Law and worthy of death.  That leads me to believe that this was not about her or him but an attempt to entrap Jesus and get Him to violate the clear directive of the Bible and the Law.

In that day there was, and often still is, an incredible double-standard regarding morals.  A man had rights that a woman did not have.  That has somewhat changed but the sad reality is that too frequently women have dropped nearer the level of men than men climbing to a higher level once occupied by women.  You may not agree, but that is my perception.

She was Guilty!  That was not debatable for she had been caught in the act.  That smacks with being a setup but that’s not the issue.  She was guilty!  Her attitude is important.  She was possibly young and perhaps had loved but not wisely.  She may have been more sinned against than sinning, but still, she was guilty.  She could have been cynical and hard, having lived a life of immorality for along time.  We do not know, but none of that is particularly germane – She Was Guilty and now Exposed!

There were Eye Witnesses.  That was required under the Law.  Those witnesses told her story for her.  Hers was a case of hopelessness under the Law.  She was condemned already and now she could only await the final sentence and her impending stoning and death. 

Imagine being caught in a sin that carried the death penalty under the Law.  Imagine being paraded before the crowd and Jesus and your sin detailed so there is nowhere to hide.  Imagine the shame and fear that she must have been experiencing. 

I apologize for pausing at this point but time and space demands that I wait until the next meeting to address this more fully.  I want you to think about the story and place yourself in her shoes or that crowd.  I hope God will bring us to a place of tremendous spiritual victory as we proceed.

God bless you and have a great day in Jesus!

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