John 8:2-5 2 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?
A woman is thrown down before Jesus in the temple. Her past we do not know. Her present is pain, shame, and condemnation. How did she get here before this teacher in the temple? She sees her family in the crowd and she bows her head in disgrace. She curls up in a ball and pulls her sparse clothing about her. Hot tears run down her cheeks and she muffles her sobs that pour out from the deepest recesses of her soul. They want to stone her. Surely she must be thinking, please do it quickly and deliver me from the torment or this moment. Stoning is the just condemnation for one caught in the very act of adultery. But the scribes and Pharisees turn to Jesus and ask: What say ye?
What say ye religious teacher? What say ye, this one who declares himself to be the Son of God the Messiah of Israel? Son of God, God in human flesh, what will you say to this one who is lying before you in shame?
John 8:7 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.
We need to stop here and just reflect a moment. Jesus remarks were not first toward the woman. They were addressed to the Pharisees. What sins might they have committed? Was it one of the good Pharisee brethren who was discovered in the very act of adultery with this woman? Where was the man? Had they set the woman up just for their own purposes? Was it necessary to bring her into the Temple and display her shamefully before the people? Would not a private meeting with Jesus have sufficed? Why all of the contempt without any compassion? They do not seem to be concerned about the welfare of the woman or even the crime committed. The text states in verse 6: “This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.” Their goal was to find fault with Jesus.
How righteous would one need to be to actually find fault with Jesus? Or, how deceived would a man have to be to actually think he could find fault with the faultless Son of God? They have no concern for the woman. They have no concern for Jesus. Their only concern is for their own world. How can my life benefit by the manipulation of these lives?
Are the actions of our lives more similar to the actions of the scribes and Pharisees? Do we only look to take advantage of situations and people? Or, are the actions of our lives more consistent with the way in which Jesus ministered to this woman?
We are to serve others. We are to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to put on display the very life of Christ to a world that is lost and undone by their sin.
So, how often do we judge those who are wounded? What do we know of the wounded people carrying shame, loneliness and torment for life’s choices and past circumstances? Do we see them? Or do we turn away from them as they are different. They look different. They talk different. They make choices that are different. We turn away from them because we judge them as being not worthy of our time. How many in the crowd were looking for stones waiting to start the stoning? How many began to walk away in embarrassment for the appalling spectacle in the temple? They were ashamed such an event could take place while Jesus was teaching the Scriptures. Jesus was not looking for stones nor was he embarrassed. He was holy God about to put on display truth and grace. “Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground,”
The scribes and Pharisees robed in their regal robes of self-righteousness were not able to stand before the words of the living Christ. The presence of Holy God infused the writing of Jesus on the ground and drove them from their dark scheme to entrap HIM. They leave and HE turns to the wounded woman and speaks. John 8:10-11 10 …, 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.
A circumstance that could have resulted in a woman’s stoning was suddenly turned around to a moment of hope and healing. Is it not true that radical life changing transformation often takes place in our most difficult and painful times? Then why, do we so often judge those and condemn those who are struggling with the issues of life? Why do we not rather take the opportunity to love and serve as our beloved Savior? The life of Jesus Christ modeled the ideal of loving men and women to freedom. Will we follow the example of Christ? Or, will we look for stones to throw?