1Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives,2but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.3As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.5The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.7They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”8Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.10Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
The woman really was guilty, and the Torah does say that she should be stoned. It is interesting that the religious leaders did not bring the man with them, because the law clearly says he should be stoned also. They handled him privately, revealing that they were not interested in justice or the law, but trapping Jesus. We should also be ready to be put in situations by a world that hates our Lord in which we are not treated right or with justice. True justice, is in the nature of God, not in the nature of man.
So in an attempt the trap Jesus, they bring this woman to him in public. At first Jesus ignores the accusers. He gives them the attention they deserve. Let us remember that when we want to pass judgement. Finally, it points out what all of us must recognize to have a relationship with God: “But the one who has never sinned cast the first stone”. Jesus puts it differently in Romans 3:23 where Paul writes “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Jesus’ response doesn’t mean the woman wasn’t guilty, it just tells us to admit our guilt and be merciful as Jesus is merciful.
Now the woman is a great example for us. She sinned and she knew it. She knew she could be stoned. She was brought to Jesus, and he was her only hope. She made no attempt to justify herself. She didn’t complain about her unfair treatment because the man wasn’t there. She didn’t beg for her life, or remind anyone of the good she had done this time or that. She didn’t make light of her sin. She quietly stood there and depended entirely on Jesus. Oh, that we would always do the same with all our sins.
Lord Jesus, through your Holy Spirit guide me to know my sin and take the role of the woman by simply coming to you. And when others sin, help me to extend them mercy as you have shown me mercy. Change me Lord, change me. *obbs*