Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 18

The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 8:1-11

After the exchange that had transpired as to where Jesus had originally come from, verse 7:52 tells us that everyone went to their own house but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives and it wasn’t until the following morning that Jesus returned to the Temple court, which would lead us to believe that Jesus spent the night there. No bed to lie down on, no place in which He could rest in some relative comfort.

John 8:1-11 NASB
“But Jesus went to
 the Mount of Olives.  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. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court,  they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.  Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?  They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 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.”  Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.  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 center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

Enter the scribes and Pharisees again, endeavouring to place Jesus in a situation in which He would compromise Himself with regard to following the letter of the Law or place Himself in a situation where He advocated the taking of a life, which Jews were NOT authorized to do under Roman law (John 18:31 refers). They placed Jesus in a situation where He was asked to decide the correct course of action (“what then do you say”). Note that the scribes and the Pharisees make the woman stand in the middle of the Temple court. One can not help but feel how vulnerable she must have felt. Also note that they caught her in the very act of adultery, which would lead one to believe that both the man and the woman were present in that situation but they do not bring the man, only the woman. In Deuteronomy 22:22-24 the penalty for adultery was via stoning for both the man and the woman. It’s interesting that Jesus did not address this deficiency on their part, e.g. them not also bringing the man, but instead ponders the situation before answering. Their deficiency in following the Law by not bringing the man also, was secondary to the challenge at hand. Jesus was being asked to render a decision and this was the paramount objective that needed to be addressed, not their shortfall in setting up this deficient challenge.

Jesus’ response, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

What Jesus accomplished in this response was four things:

1. Jesus did not deny the legitimacy of the Law, nor it’s punishment but He placed a qualifier on imposing or fulfilling it.
2. The qualifier (being without sin) basically negated any of them from carrying out the designated punishment under the Law,
and they themselves determined as to whether they qualified, not Jesus, effectively putting the ball back in their court, so to speak.
3. Jesus also avoided authorizing the breaking of the Roman law, with this same qualifier.
4. Jesus maintained the saving focus of His first appearance, versus judgement as per His 2nd appearance (
John 3:17 / 2 Corinthians 5:10).

It’s also interesting to note that they departed beginning at the older ones. The older one gets, the more one becomes aware of our own shortfalls or deficiencies against God’s Holiness (sin), be they in thought, word or deed.

The last two verses in this portion of Scripture demonstrate both the recognition of sin through the Law, the just punishment and the availability of no condemnation through Jesus (Romans 8:1).

John 8:10-11 NASB
“Straightening up, Jesus said to her,
 “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

When one contemplates the numerous aspects that Jesus had to take into consideration when responding to these challenges, His responses consistently meet all of the necessary consideration requirements, not only with regard to the current obvious challenge but also how the challenge relates to both the past (the Law), His present ministry (saving grace) and His future 2nd coming (judgement/exoneration/condemnation). Because of who Jesus is, this should not surprise us but because of the complexity of balancing the past, present and future, His answers are really continually astounding.

More to follow:

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

 

7 comments

  1. I love this story. I’ve heard that what Jesus said could be translated, “Anyone who is without THIS sin cast the first stone…” I can’t help wondering if the Pharisees were convicted of their own adultery, especially since Jesus expanded on the definition in the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:28)

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  2. It is interesting that Jesus forgives and says “go and sin no more” while the world system says not to judge and “go sin some more”. “Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve of those who practice them” Romans 1:32

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      • We thank God our Father for Jesus arising and shining, for the light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon him. For behold, darkness covers this world and thick darkness her peoples, and we need Jesus now more than ever. Nations will come to Christ’s Light, and kings to the brightness of his arising. We lift our eyes up and see our help comes from Above, and we gather together, and he comes to us so we can see and be radiant, our hearts thrilling and rejoicing because the abundant full life of Christ has come to us and the riches of the glory of Christ supplies all our needs, to give glory to God our Father (Isaiah 60:1-5; Philippians 4:19). O how I love the Word and Spirit of God!

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