Caught and Set Free

John 7:53–8:11 (NKJV)

53 And everyone went to his own house. 1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

John 7:53-8:11

After the Feast of Tabernacles, the Jews departed for their homes, all but Jesus. Although His disciples were His closest circle of friends and confidantes, He often went alone to reflect, pray, or simply fulfill the will of the Father. In this case, He went to the Mount of Olives, just within sight of the temple. The next morning, He went into the temple again to teach. The Jewish leaders, hoping again to catch Him in a touchy situation, brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Him in order for Him to adjudicate her case. They hoped that He would say something in which they could accuse Him.

Jesus’ reaction was unexpected, and somewhat confusing to begin with. He wrote on the ground. What He wrote is not recorded. Speculation is myriad as to what it could have been. Some say He wrote words from Jewish law about the sin of false witness, or else watching a crime without intervention. Some say He wrote sins that were in the hearts of the crowd seeking to stone her so that they would be convicted by His spoken words. While these are possible, we still do not know for sure. What was sure were Jesus’ words. When He challenged the madding crowd to only throw stones if they had no sin, they dropped their stones and went away. What a wise and ingenious response from the Savior! His response was divine. He did not thumb His nose at Mosaic law, nor did He allow what resembles a modern-day lynching of this presumably young woman (perhaps even a teenager).

Then Jesus turned to the woman herself, forgave her sin, and admonished her to take this forgiveness as an opportunity to begin again and cease the sinfulness that brought her to this dangerous place of judgment. Jesus offers us the same opportunity today. Turn from your sin unto Jesus. Be forgiven, delivered, and healed. Go and sin no more!

Artwork from https://www.douglashamp.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/woman-taken-in-adultery-948857-wallpaper-1024×673.jpg

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