1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 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.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 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. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:1-11)
The scribes and Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus. If he said to stone the lady, he would be going against His reputation as a “friend of sinners”.
If He said to set her free He would be telling them to ignore the Law of Moses which was an act worthy of stoning.
Problem # 1: The Law states that both the woman and the man caught in adultery are to be punished.
Problem # 2: They were supposed to be taken to the priest. (Jesus was not a priest according to the Law)
So what was Jesus going to do? Jesus wasn’t obligated to respond at all.
He bent down and began to write in the sand. What was that all about?
Idea #1: He could have started writing down all the sins of the scribe and Pharisees.
Idea #2: He could have been writing what the hand wrote on the wall for King Belshazzar. MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN.
Idea #3: Was he writing down the law for testing for adulteresses? (Num 5)
Idea #4: O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water. (Jer 17:13)
Idea #5: The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you. (Deut 19:18-20)
He does address our concerns finds us where we are at our most vulnerable. Whatever He wrote dispatched the scribes and Pharisees so He could speak to the one that needed Him most.
Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10)
She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (Joh 8:11)
The gospel message in one sentence. Jesus wasn’t approving of her sin. He didn’t just ignore it. He addressed her need for a savior and her need to change her lifestyle. Not with a bunch of rules spelled out by law. But trusted her to know what was right.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:17-21)
The perfect example of judgement vs grace. The results of judgement (slinking away like the scribes and Pharisees. The result of grace and mercy (coming into the light).