At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around
him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought
in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to
Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses
commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this
question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they
kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who
is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote
on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones
first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened
up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one,
sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave
your life of sin.” John 8:2-11
Jesus was confronted with a dilemma. There is a woman who is obviously a sinner. The
New Living Translation says she was a “woman who had been caught in the act of
adultery”. Somehow these Pharisees knew that there was an affair going on, and had
caught her in the act. They brought her to Jesus to trap Him. They were going to see if
He was a friend of sinners and would be soft on the issue of adultery, or on their side,
and judge her harshly, which would have been against everything He had taught and
done up to this point.
Jesus handled them masterfully, and in doing so set an example for us. The Pharisees
brought shame and humiliation to this woman who “they made stand before the group.”
They had no concern for the woman but were only using her to get to Jesus. Jesus flips
the script by writing in the sand. We don’t actually know what he is writing, but I could
only imagine the sins of the Pharisees as one possibility. He asks the Pharisees, “Let any one
of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” They began to leave one by
one. Then Jesus says to the woman, “Then neither do I condemn you, go now and leave
your life of sin.” This is a powerful conversation between the Pharisees and a woman
caught in adultery. God’s grace always exceeds our sins.
We need to have the same attitude as Jesus. Nowhere in this passage do we find Him
easy on sin. Coupled with other passages we will examine, we can see that He, being
God, hated sin. However, this is also a beautiful example of how we should hate the sin
while loving sinners.
Take some time this morning to confess your sins to Jesus. Take time this morning to
receive God’s forgiveness and “leave this life of sin.” God is calling you out of a life of sin
into a life of obedience and holiness for the glory of God.