I write this with some discomfort. Discomfort for this woman. Discomfort for myself. Discomfort for all who read. This is no easy subject to discuss in the same sentence as the name of Jesus.
I mean, who do I think I am to even attempt to write on this subject. I could have skipped this temptation but what area do we as humans struggle with more? If Jesus was tempted in ALL points like we are, then this must be researched just as the other temptations have been observed. He was tempted in all ways like we are but without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) I think this encounter with a broken woman may reveal far more than we have ever seen before. I certainly never saw this experience in the life of Jesus from this point of view. I am trusting the Holy Spirit alone to guide me!
John 8:2-11 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Literature argues whether this portion of Scripture should even be included in the canon. I am not knowledgeable enough to debate this subject so, I will stand on the infallible Word of God as inspired by the His Holy Spirit. I have learned much from Biblical scholars but when they doubt God’s Word, I am given reason to take the rest of their writings with a grain of salt. Such is the case with this portion known as the pericope adulterae. I also have leaned heavily on the Spirit to guide me as I have searched through Scripture to determine if Jesus life lived wide open confirms the Scripture that He was tempted just like you and I only, without sin and thus giving us proof we too can live holy lives as we let the Spirit of God live through us. (I Peter 1:16)
Jesus has been “set up” by the scribes and Pharisees and they are using a woman to do so. Her crime could not have been perpetrated alone and yet, she is hauled into Jesus presence alone, scantily clad and thrown roughly in front of Him in the temple court no less! “Jesus knows He is in danger and He knows He is surrounded by enemies,” just as this woman is.
The Greek for caught in the act is the word katalambano which means “to arrest, seize tight hold of, capture.” This woman has been apprehended from the bed of her lover, early in the morning and with little more than a sheet thrown around her naked body is made a spectacle of by the religious leaders. My question, if they knew this was going on, why not the night before? Did they not care until it was for their convenience to set a trap for the Lord? The law required TWO witnesses but they are unnamed! (Deuteronomy 17:6) Also, the law required both parties caught in this immoral act be brought together. (Deuteronomy 22:22) So, what I saw this time as I was reading: This was the trap set for Jesus not only to test His knowledge of the law but as a ploy of the enemy as a test of his humanity in the area of the lust of the eye and the lust of the flesh. Man is known to be enticed visually. The enemy is ruthless. Our willingness to be his weapon (vehicle of deceit) is frightening.
But look at how Jesus handled this situation. He demonstrated respect for ALL! He demonstrated knowledge of the Law. He did not sin. (Matthew 5:27-28) Jesus averted His eyes by stooping down and looking at the ground. He kept His eyes down providing this woman a degree of dignity as He imitated His Father who wrote the Law into stone. When He stood, He glared directly into the eyes of the scribes and Pharisees and gave the direction: “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” Brilliant! Jesus then bent back down and again keeping His eyes down as He wrote on the ground. He did not say this woman’s behavior was not sinful. He said, obey the Law. He just said, the first stone should be cast by whoever among them was free of sin. And one by one from the oldest (the most sinful because they have lived the longest) to the youngest they dropped their stones and left until no one was with Jesus except this woman. Only then did Jesus look at this woman. She has had time to get herself covered and collect herself. Jesus words to her must have been the sweetest she had ever heard. Forgiveness from the Son of God. Do you remember that moment you knew He forgave you? No condemnation, just love and acceptance. “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations,” (II Peter 2:9)
“Who is she? She is you. And she is us.” (charismanews.com What We Can Learn from the Woman Caught in Adultery.) Here she was “standing naked before God,” (crosswalk.com) as a harlot, interrupting His teaching in the temple.
She was brought to the temple captured like a bird in a trap, destined to die. She left the temple set free by the grace of God, and given the opportunity to go and sin no more! Jesus saw in her, despite her sin, the image of God. He spoke to this! Respectfully, lovingly, humbly, He restored her dignity the enemy had stolen.
Oh, how I pray we can see the love and respect Jesus displayed toward this poor soul. Paul the apostle’s epistle to the Ephesians tells us, “speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” Scripture is replete with admonitions to treat others as we desire to be treated. (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:3, John 13:34-35, Romans 12:10, Philippians 2:3)
Not Guilty by Mandisa