A Woman Caught In Adultery

Teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. John 8:3

John chapter 8 begins by saying that Jesus had spent the night on the Mount of Olives. He returned to the Temple the following morning, and a crowd quickly gathered.

The teachers and Pharisees decided to confront Jesus as He stood in front of this group of people. We need to realize this story wasn’t about a woman caught in the act of adultery.

These religious leaders tried their hardest to trap Jesus into doing or saying something unlawful. This adulterous woman ended up becoming the object of their next scheme.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” John 8:4-5

So, these men publically accused this woman and wanted to see how Jesus would handle their accusation. Knowing the intent of their hearts, he initially responded with no response.

They 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. John 8:6

I have written a devotion called Everything In The Bible Is True, Including Lies. This incident falls right in line with the point behind that devotion.

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Did this Woman Really Get Caught in the Act of Adultery?

Do I believe this incident really happened? Of course I do. Do I believe the accuracy of the story? Absolutely. But I doubt the accuracy of those making the accusation.

Do I believe they or anyone else caught this woman in the act of adultery? I doubt it. The last time I checked, it takes two to have a fling, yet they only accused one.

So, why did they pick her? She may have made her living as a prostitute. Or, at one time or another, she was guilty of the charges. But probably not this time.

These men who brought this woman to Jesus were ready to stone her on an accusation. They were willing to sacrifice her to trap Jesus because they knew what the law required.

But never put a person to death on the testimony of only one witness. There must always be two or three witnesses. Deuteronomy 17:6

I have often wondered what Jesus wrote on the ground during this episode. As this woman accused of being caught in adultery stood there, I wonder what went through her mind.

These religious leaders demanded a quick response from Jesus because they kept demanding Him to answer them. Look at what the law said about the responsibility of the witnesses.

The witnesses must throw the first stones, and then all the people may join in. In this way, you will purge the evil from among you. Deuteronomy 17:7

Because of that requirement, Jesus knew that none of them actually caught this woman in the act of adultery. So, He responded to them in a way they never expected.

Woman Caught In Adultery

The Unexpected Response from Jesus

So he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. John 8:7-8

Remember, these men accused this woman in order to make an accusation against Jesus. They wanted to catch Him before all those witnesses gathered to hear His teaching.

But they stood there dumbfounded. They had nothing to say. I’m sure the crowd hushed, waiting to hear how they would respond to what Jesus said to them.

When 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. John 8:9

The silence was deafening. The teachers and the Pharisees did not make a sound as they slipped away. The crowd probably stood in awe because of what they had just witnessed.

This story wasn’t about a woman caught in adultery, nor about Jesus straightening out a group of men. It emphasized the compassion Jesus exhibited that day. Look at what He said to the woman.

Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11

I find it interesting that during this whole time, she said nothing to argue her case. Perhaps she had been guilty of this crime at one time or another. In His wisdom, the Lord knew all about her.

Even at that, Jesus never condemned her but specifically told her to go and sin no more. Maybe because of her lifestyle, she often said to herself, “One day, I’m going to get caught.”

Woman Caught In Adultery

Go and Sin No More

Whether you’re involved in a sinful lifestyle or commit the occasional sin, go to Jesus for forgiveness. He will forgive you and also tell you, “Go and sin no more.”

What do we do if we know someone else caught up in sin? We certainly don’t act like these men who said they caught the woman in adultery. The Apostle Paul told us in Galatians what to do.

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Galatians 6:1

That day, Jesus offered a woman accused of being caught in the act of adultery a new start. Nothing has changed with the Lord. He gave each of us a new start the day we accepted Jesus.

When we falter along the way, He offers us a fresh start. Each time he does that, it’s like we start all over again for the first time. Why? Because of the rich mercy of God!

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) Ephesians 2:4-5

Lord, thank you for your continued forgiveness. When sin stares at us in the face, help us to do what Jesus said: “Go and in no more.”

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