The Woman Taken In Adultery
A. The passage has challenged Bible students - as to what Jesus wrote, what they were trying to accomplish and the treatment of sinners demonstrated in the passage.
B. Speculations on what Jesus wrote: (1) Names and sins of those who brought her, (2) A warning aimed at scribes and Pharisees, (3) As one day-dreaming - showing he is not interested in their questions, (4) Silence indicating his shock at their horrible selective treatment of sinners.
C. We do not know what he wrote, for whom he wrote, not why he wrote - but it accomplished whatever purpose he had in mind.
D. The great lesson - the treatment of sinners.
A. Treatment of sinners by sinners.
1. First, note that the actions of Jesus do not minimize the sin of adultery. (V. 3 adultery - indicating action of a married party - either the woman or the man or both were married.)
2. However, the way sinners treat other sinners can be just as terrible as the sin.
a. They were not interested in right - just interested in getting at Jesus.
b. The law said both were to be put to death (Dt. 22:23-29; Lev. 20:10). They didn’t need the man - because that was not what they were interested in (not even killing the woman), just something to ensnare Jesus.
c. In this sense, they were no different from the man who committed adultery with her - both were using her as a thing to serve their selfish purpose. Both saw the woman as an object. (Joseph Fletcher “Situation Ethics - the New Morality” said love people and use things...he didn’t know what love demands, Jn. 14:15,23).
d. If Jesus had said: (1) Do not stone her - would have been disrespectful of the law, (2) Stone her - would have been against Roman law (which did not permit Jews to execute capital punishment). They though they had him!
3. The sinners acted superior to the woman - Jesus made them realize that they were also sinners (passed judgment on the judges).
a. This is the warning of Gal. 6:1.
b. Have you ever known brethren to gossip about another’s sin? (No one can be more vicious and ungodly than a brother who is out to get you - as Jesus’ brethren were!)
B. Treatment of sinners by the law.
1. The law was exact - no allowance for circumstances.
a. This is not to minimize the value of law (Rom. 7:12).
b. It was perfect, but man cold not perfectly keep it (Gal. 3:10-14; Heb. 8:7-9).
2. The purpose of the first three chapters of Romans is to show that man could not save himself by his own wisdom, nor by perfectly keeping law.
a. Gentiles could not keep the law they had, nor devise own salvation (Rom. 1:20,21; 2:14,15).
b. Jews could not perfectly keep law (Rom. 2:12,13,24).
c. Conclusion: Rom. 3:23.
3. The New Testament is different:
a. The old demanded perfect law-keeping (Gal. 3:10)
b. The new is of grace (Jn. 1:17; Rom. 6:14-18).
c. There are rules to keep, but grace pardons and considers us righteous (Rom. 5:1,2;
1 Cor. 9:21).
C. Treatment of sinners by Jesus:
1. He did not condemn her - according to the law, he could not condemn her. The witnesses had to throw the first stone (Dt. 17:7).
2. Jesus did not come to condemn (Jn. 3;17; Rom. 8:33,34). He is not trying to see how many he can cause to be lost, but has done everything possible to save man (2 Pet. 3:9).
3. What He did:
a. He forgave her - “neither do I condemn you...”
b. He challenged her - “go your way...” continue to fulfill your obligations.
c. He warned her - “son no more” - change your life.
4. He did not say that anyone who has sinned cannot correct another - “he who is without sin”
convicted them that they were, at the very time, violating God’s law (both were to be stoned, beginning with witnesses).
5. How could He do this?
a. He had power on earth to forgive sins (Lk. 5:18-24; 23:39-43).
b. He knew that He would make the payment - His death would make their forgiveness possible (Rom. 3:26).
A. What the sinner learned - she gained a new respect for Jesus. She called Him Lord (v. 11); the scribes and Pharisees called him Teacher (v. 4).
B. What do you think happened to her? Do you suppose she ever committed adultery again? What do you suppose happened to those were trying to use her - did they every accept Christ?
C. Mt.21:28-32 (Some say “I’ve been too bad to be saved” - not according to Jesus!)