John 8:10-11 – “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
Last time we considered this woman and her predicament. I want us to delve a little deeper into the story and hopefully, we will discover the Incredible Love and Mercy of God that is presented. I hope that we will find encouragement.
SECOND – The Next Group of Actors in this Drama is Made Up of the Witnesses for the Prosecution.
Their identity is revealed, not their names but that they were Scribes and Pharisees. A group of people not often seen in a favorable light in the Bible and in their encounters with Jesus. They were harsh, rigid, unbending, and legalistic. The only thing favorable I can say about them biblically is they were upholders of the Law, and pillars in both the Church and the State. They opposed evil, even though sometimes they advanced it with their attitudes and rigidity.
The unfavorable to be said of them is their motives as seen here and elsewhere we frequently bad. They pretended to care about right and wrong, but their apparent objective was to discredit Jesus. They were playing the hypocrite in this encounter. They were cold, unfeeling, uncaring, and unforgiving. They had no concern for this woman, her family or anyone else. She was simply ‘Exhibit A’ in their pursuit of discrediting Jesus.
They may not have sinned as this woman, but they were also sinners. Theirs was the Sin of Disposition whereas hers was the Sin of the Flesh. We generally condemn those who sin after the flesh far more severely than those whose sin is indifference and coldness of heart. That is not how Jesus responded!
When I consider the story of the prodigal and the older brother, I see the elder as more hopeless than the prodigal. The prodigal came home in repentance. Yes, he had sinned and wasted his inheritance, but he saw the light and repented. The older brother was resentful and unloving. Jesus appears to have had more hope for this woman than her respectable tormentors and accusers.
THIRD – We Need to Realize that the Real Centerpiece of this Story is Jesus.
When I consider the attitudes and actions of the accusers, I immediately realize that Jesus is the focus, not this woman. Their first act was to bring Jesus into question as to His view of the Law. They said, “The Law says this, but what do you say?” They were attempting to put the merciful Lord at odds with the Law and entrap Him. They did so with full awareness of how He normally responded, and they were certain that He would come down on the side of mercy and they would have Him.
Jesus stunned them. The question before Him was “stone her or not stone her.” Simply make a judgment, right? He refused to give an immediate reply and stopped to the ground and began to write. What He wrote we do not know. I have heard all kinds of speculation as to what He wrote but the Bible is silent, and I refuse to speak where the Bible is silent.
I suggest that there were any number of reasons for His response but will suggest a couple for your consideration. One is that He may have been ashamed of these religious leaders. They represented God, the Loving Father and were demonstrating the opposite of love. He could have been seeking to spare this woman and forgive her. I believe He could see her shame and did not wish to embarrass her more. I am always troubled by anyone who enjoys another’s shame or embarrassment. Jesus suffered the shame of our sin, including this woman.
These accusers appear to have assumed a victory. They appear to believe that they have backed Jesus into a corner, and He would be forced to follow the strict prescribed penalty under the Law. Stone her or not, that is the question! A “yes” or a “no” will achieve their purposes. A “yes” makes Him look other than what people envisioned Him, forgiving and a “no” would be a violation of the Law and condemn Him.
Jesus refused to be caught in their trap. The way He answered questions reveals His genius. Remember the disciples asking, “Are there few that will be saved?” They wanted a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, but Jesus said, “strive to enter at the strait gate.” He clearly meant, “How many are saved or how few is not your business. Your business is to meet the conditions for yourself. Your business is to spread the Word.”
On another He was asked, “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” Instead of giving a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer he requested a penny. He asked whose image was on it and said, “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and to God the things that belong to God.”
I want to deal with Jesus’ response to the accusers but will wait until the next time to pursue that because it is incredibly important and needs some detail. I pray that the LORD will help each of us be loving and forgiving in all things and at all times.
God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!