Jesus had created a habit of going to the temple each morning to teach at this point in his ministry, so the Scribes and Pharisees expected him to be there. They were getting tired of Jesus and wanted to find a way to get rid of him. So, they thought this woman who had just been caught in adulty was the perfect opportunity to discredit Jesus, and possibly even have him arrested.
Although it was the Law of Moses that women and man who was caught in the act of adultery should be killed, the Roman law and removed the power of capital punishment from the Jews. In this case, the leaders of the law had already either dealt with the man who was involved on their own or dismissed him privately. They only brought the woman to Jesus.
He knows what they were trying to do though, and he wasn't going to let them use this woman, who was not being publicly shamed for her sin and misdoing, as a way to discredit him.
Jesus said to the Pharisees, Scribes, Woman, and the Crowd, "Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned." Then Jesus waited. I love how John tells the story that the group slowly left, with the older leaving first. The older ones either were more afraid of people knowing of their sins, or they had more sins to hide than the younger ones.
Then, after everyone had left, Jesus looked at the woman and said to her, "Dear woman, where is everyone? Are we alone? Did no one step forward to condemn you?"
Can you imagine with me, what Jesus' face was like at this moment, and what his tone of voice was. Did he say it say it with a smile, knowing why everyone had left? Or, was he tenderhearted as he looked at her with his loving eyes?
How did she feel when she looked back at him and responded, "Lord, no one has condemned me." Did she feel relieved, or even more ashamed that it was now just her and Jesus?
I wonder as we think about this story, we are we in it?
Our challenge from Christ this week is to "Go and sin no more." I love the way the VOICE phrases it, "Avoid the sins that plague you." Let's read and think about this a bit more.
Read John 5:1-13.
- How do you think the man felt when he was healed?
- Why do you think Jesus slipped into the crowd?
- Why did the religious leaders get so upset at Jesus healing on a Holy day?
- How would the man have felt when Jesus told him to stop sinning?
- Who do you relate to in this story?
Read John 8:1-11.
- How is this story different from the one from chapter 5?
- How are they the same?
- This woman was caught in her sin; she didn't come to Jesus seeking forgiveness. Why do you think he showed her mercy?
- How is she different from the Pharisees and crowd who didn't want their sins known?
Prayer for the Week:
Lord, allow me to release all of my sins to you, so that I may go from this point forward avoiding the sins that plague me. Keep me from being held back by the sins of my life. Remind me daily that you have given me grace, even when I didn't deserve it. You see me as your beloved child of God. Now I must live as your precious child. Help me not to judge others, but to share the same grace that you have shared with me.