Woman Caught in Adultery- based on John 8:1-12
Updated: Sep 24
With my whole heart, I knew I shouldn't be walking unattended to the market, but the desire for what I wanted superseded reason. I knew he took breakfast at the crack of dawn near the corner of the square by the fountain just before the markets. It would seem reasonable that I would do my bidding of the choicest fruit before the crowds came and accomplish my task in the cool of the day. No one would suspect a thing, especially my husband who left early for his duties too. Anticipation to see his smile, quickened my steps. Oh God, forgive me, but I just can't help myself. I just feel so alive when I'm with him. I feel that he loves me like no one else has ever done because he understands me; I met my soulmate.
Sure enough there he was waiting for me, and then upon giving me a bright smile, turns down a narrow alleyway. Normally, we chat and walk the market sifting through the early risers enjoying the start of each day. No one ever suspects our attraction for one another for they assume he is my servant attending me. Curious, I follow after him. As I pass the bend in the alley, I am swept up into his embrace and led to a room. Initially I'm stunned but then completely elated to be with him. He passionately greets me and with abandon I respond. In what felt like just minutes, the door bursts open. Suddenly, we are swooped down upon in every direction by men pulling us apart. My mind is trying to apprehend what is occurring for I'm roughly pushed and pulled. Someone grabs and tears my sleeves. I look for my love, but in the commotion I can't see nor hear him. I realize the men who have encircled me are Pharisees. My veil is lost, my hair is wildly loose, and I am shoved forward up the streets. I am shamed as spectators are forming. How much dishonor will I bring to my family- my husband? I am snapped alert to my disgrace,- no longer in the fog of feelings. We near the temple which at this hour brightly reflects the sun, and there is a crowd already there. Suddenly, I am thrusted forward violently in front of my captures and land on the ground at the feet of a man who was seated speaking to this crowd.
I dare not even look up at him, tears of shame streak my face. I am forsaken, guilty, broken, and I realize death is my sentence when one Pharisee spoke up loudly stating,"Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law of Moses commands us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"
Wondering where is my love? Why am I alone accused? I hear people telling others to grab stones. Oh, God, - help me! Silently the man they called Teacher, bends down and starts writing in the dust on the tiles of the temple floor. The Pharisees are relentless with their pressure for him to have an answer given. They jeer at him to respond as if they have trapped him with taunts such as -"Are you a friend of sinners or are you a defender of God?"
The teacher slowly stands and confronts the accusers, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Then he stoops down again and continues to write in the dust. People crane their heads to see what he is doing. One long finger, he continues his mysterious task. In mere minutes, those who see the writing begin to go away- one at a time. The older ones first, and random thuds could be heard all around as the accusers drop their stones and disperse after they viewed what was written in the dust. Soon only the Teacher was left with me.
Gently, he helps me arise to face me. I look into warm, caring eyes with no condemnation. My heart breaks over the forgiveness for my shame that I am granted.
"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" For some odd reason, I feel like he knows my name but doesn't publicize it.
My thoughts that were previously swirling suddenly and yet gently unwind to clarity and peace. I respond feebly, "No one, sir."
"Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin." And looking to those who had been seated around him that morning hour he said, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
With those simple words- no sermon- just a command to leave my sin, I felt washed, cleansed, my eyes opened to my degradation. I felt restored. Although I was physically saved from the accusers' touch, simultaneously I was emotionally touched and awakened to my sinful character that led me to destruction and almost death. A "light" was turned on in my soul revealing how dark it had been. I was given another chance to live life with gratitude for what I do have in my life, without the need to go searching for what was missing. This day was pivotal for me, and I will leave the road of destruction for good. My feet will walk toward God with anticipation and love, and not toward deceiving sin and death.
Questions if you are doing this with others:
Can you remember a time that you knew something wasn't the right thing to do, but you caved into the craving to do it anyway? Could it be something entirely different than this case like watching a restricted audience rated movie, going to a party that was filled with lust and sinful behavior, wearing something too provocative to entice others to lust...
Just take a moment and be still and reflect...maybe you want to keep it private or desire to reveal it and ask for prayer for purer ways.
How does plausible excuses for behavior help us reason our bad decisions? Does it help justify the cost in that you really are not all to blame for you have good reason?
What do you think Jesus wrote in the dust that day? Why would the Bible state that the older ones leave first...did it have an impact that the older ones left first?
This account of Jesus meeting the woman caught in adultery is found only in the Gospel of John chapter 8:1-12. This is an event that depicts Jesus' wisdom and love for the lost. The Gospel of John is a Gospel of love. The writings of John (Gospel of John, the 3 Epistles, and Revelation) were the last to be written of the New Testament (90-100AD). The epistle of 1 John is a true treasure to read and not to be missed with its deep lessons about living in the love of God. The Gospel of John is not considered one of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke that share the life of Jesus). It records no parables and 90% of the material is unique to this book alone. Interestingly, he selectively chooses 8 miraculous events of Jesus and six are unique to this book alone. Each event recorded leads to a "I am" name. As in the following examples: Jesus fed the 5,000 and is followed with "I am the bread of Life" discourse. The woman he met at the well is followed by "I am the Living Water" discourse. And with the woman caught in adultery- a life style of darkness, Jesus ends with "I am the light of the world."
This apostle was later dubbed the name "Apostle of Love" for more than anyone else in scripture, John spoke of the love that Jesus displayed and taught. He records Jesus words, "By your love shall all men know you are My disciples." (John 13:35) John referred to himself as the "beloved apostle" for he was touched and transformed by the love of God. The scriptures records that John and his brother James were known as the "Sons of Thunder" with a strong sense of judgement on the lost and fallen (Luke 9:51-55) and apparently as they spent time with Jesus, they reflected his love and forgiveness. John had a pivotal character change to one of complete grace. It is no surprise that out of the countless events of Jesus' ministry that John witnessed, that he would include this story of such grace.
That truth is also offered to each of us; people may want to judge you harshly, but that isn't
what God desires to do for you. His example was to forgive and love the broken-blinded- to a new life of health and blessings. We must remember not to throw stones for we too are forgiven of sin -although maybe different ones, still fallen from grace. The Pharisees desired to get Jesus to say the woman should be forgiven, and ignore what the great prophet Moses shared which was the Ten Commandments written by the finger of God - thou shall not commit adultery. Thus proving that he was not a true prophet of God by going against the Mosaic law which stated punishable by death . On the other hand if he were to say 'throw stones at her"- he would violate the Roman commands that the Jewish leaders were not allowed to execute capital punishment and be jailed. It was a clear trap. The Mosaic law also included that both the male and female were to be judged together. The man was missing lending to the suspicion that it was a planned entrapment.
Just as the book of John is separated into three Mega themes:
John 1-13 light
John 13-17 love
John 18-21 Life
So does this story encapsulate these themes. The Light of the world dispels the darkness in people's lives, and love, forgiveness and gratitude spring up giving people a new life. Jesus was clear that the light of God will be within us reflecting His love and grace which in turn yields new life for ourselves and those around us. His most urgent message was to love God and others.
The Finger of God wrote the Ten Commandments out of love to save us from sin, hurt and destruction, and the finger of God that day wrote out of love in sharing how no one is spared of the need for forgiveness. Most commentators believe Jesus was possibly listing the accuser's names with another name or date of a sinful moment. Convicting them to drop their stones and leave.
In addition, this story regards a woman caught in the grip of sin- disillusioned of what would bring her the desire of her heart. She was in the dark unable to see. The woman was blinded by her "feelings and desires" and placed them before other people (her family). Her sin would wound others deeply, but she did not count those costs with her only concern being her own "feelings". When we think of others before ourselves, we reflect His love and His example of sacrificial love which brought about glorious new life....the same result will be for us. We may think "my relationship with my husband is dead"...yield it to God and He can bring it to life.
"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in Him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (1John 3:14)
Jesus himself said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. ' ” (Matthew 22:37-39)
"I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (John 8:12)
As Jon Courson, pastor of Applegate Christian Fellowship in Oregon and Searchlight App stated so well, the first time Jesus entered that Temple he cleansed it by toppling tables and running out vendors. This second visit to the Temple - he is teaching about love and forgiveness. We too must cleanse our hearts first, so that it can be filled with truth and let light dispel darkness. We are washed by asking God to cleanse our hearts, and we are filled with truth and light by reading the Word of God.
That early morning Jesus met a crowd of people who desired to learn values of God. They walked away touched by grace. So will we when we seek him early before the day.
Proverbs 8:17 "Those who seek me early shall find me"
Read the account as it is recorded in the Bible: