John 8:1-6a ESV
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.
These scribes and Pharisees were not concerned that the law was being broken here at all. If they were, for one thing, then where was the man? If the woman was caught in adultery, she was caught having sexual relations with a man with whom she was not married. So, where was he? He was caught, too, wasn’t he?
Could they have been protecting him and his identity? We won’t ever know the answer to that. But, it appears, as the story progresses, that these accusers of the woman did not have clean slates themselves, so maybe the man was one of their buddies. Just a thought. And, maybe some of them had slept with this woman, too. Yet, this is just speculation.
Another interesting thing about this is that these scribes and Pharisees misquoted the law, for it says that the man and the woman should die, not just the woman, so that is suspicious right there.
Yet, the purpose of the law was to purge the evil from among them, which is how things were done under the Old Covenant, and which the New Covenant follows, only not so drastically. For, it encourages dealing with the sin in the church via church discipline and removing unrepentant sinners from the fellowship so that they do not impact the whole fellowship of believers, which may then lead them into sin, too (See: 1 Corinthians 5).
But, back to the story. What these accusers of the woman were up to was they wanted to try to trip Jesus up so they would have reason to bring a charge against him. So, the woman was just a pawn in their scheme. And, they were, perhaps, even more wicked than her for they were just using her to get at Jesus, because they didn’t like him, and they were jealous of him, and they were threatened by him, and they were offended by him, too, for he spoke to them truthfully about what was in their hearts.
John 8:6b-11 ESV
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
Not one of us knows what Jesus wrote on that ground with his finger, but many have speculated. I personally believe that Jesus named names or he listed specific sins of these accusers in such a way as to where they knew they were toast, too, if truth be told. So, he was being gracious to them, as well, as he gave them the opportunity to back off and to put their stones away, or else possibly to have their own sins be brought into the light.
For, these were men he often chided for their secretive sins and their hypocrisies, and how they looked good on the outside, but inside they were full of wickedness. So not one of them had the right to point a finger at that woman, for they would probably be pointing 3 fingers back at themselves.
But, it isn’t that Jesus was teaching that not one of us should ever judge the sin of another, but certainly that we must first take the log out of our own eyes so that we can then see clearly to take the speck out of our brothers’ eyes. So, Jesus was not chiding them for making a judgment about sin, but for their hypocritical judging, and for their false motives, too.
For, it is clear in scripture, as previously mentioned, that God still takes sin as seriously as he did back then, and he still has a plan within his church for how to deal with sin within the church and among the fellowship of the believers in Jesus. If sin is not dealt with properly, then it grows like gangrene within the church and the whole body ends up becoming infected.
Not One, Lord
Jesus could see the hearts of both the men who accused this woman and he could also see the heart of this woman, too. What he saw in the men is that they were hypocritical, they were scheming, they were just using this woman, they didn’t care about God’s laws, and that this was all a performance just to try to trip Jesus up so they would have cause to accuse him.
But, by contrast, what Jesus saw in the heart of this woman, I believe, is that she was genuinely repentant, sorrowful for her sins, and probably scared to death of what was going to happen to her. Her life was in Jesus’ hands, and that is where she was, just waiting to see what her fate was going to be. She was totally helpless. Her future was uncertain. And, she had nowhere she could run and hide from it all. So, she was broken.
And, then Jesus touched her heart with his healing mercy. Amen! He did not condone her sin, though, and he didn’t just give her a pass and tell her everything was ok now. He did forgive her, though, but he gave her the hope that she now had the opportunity to start over, and to not go where she had gone before, for he told her, “Go and sin no more.”
And, truly this describes the essence of the gospel message. For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. When he forgives us, he says “Go and sin no more.” He doesn’t tell us that our sins no longer matter to him or that we don’t have to turn away from them or that we don’t have to obey him. He teaches that true salvation from the punishment of sin means “Go and sin no more.”
Basically, our salvation is not just about being delivered from the punishment of sin, as this woman was, but it is about us having changed lives where we leave our lives of sin behind us and where we now follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands. For, this is his whole purpose in setting us free, that we would “Go and sin no more.”
For, what good would it have been to the woman if all Jesus did was to rescue her from her punishment that time only to have her go right back to the same lifestyle only to continue under the threat of punishment for when she got caught again? She wouldn’t be truly free, would she? The only way she could find true freedom in Christ was to do what Jesus said, and to “Go and sin no more.”
John 8:12 ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Ok, here we have the crux of the matter once again. If we want to truly be free from our slavery to sin so that we can “go and sin no more,” we need to be in Jesus Christ, by faith in him, and then we need to be walking in his light (his truth) and obeying what he shows us, i.e. what his word teaches us. For, if we are walking in the light (in his truth), we will not walk (live) in darkness (sin), for we can’t do both at the same time. Amen!
Broken and Contrite
An Original Work / May 13, 2012
I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.
Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.
Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.