A most incredible story: Jesus and an adulterous woman

The Gospel of John

The Woman Caught in Adultery

John 7:53–8-11

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. Though it is not known where exactly this story originated, it fits in this place in John’s Gospel as Jesus has been teaching in the temple without His disciples.
  2. The religious authorities have been trying to discredit Jesus due to the great crowds that have been listening to Him. Their motivations would be many: envy, jealousy, and fear.
  3. Highly irregular that a woman, especially one who had just been caught in a sinful act, would be brought into the Temple.
  4. Some commentators suspect the entire event had been staged in the first place given that someone could have been caught in the very act.
  5. Does this event highlight the desperate need of the religious authorities to discredit and attack Jesus?
  6. The Law did specify that adulterers were to be stoned. We must ask about the man. Why only is the woman brought forward? Many unanswered questions are evident. One suspects a setup.
  7. Jesus, in the midst of what must have been a super-charged challenge, begins to write upon the ground. (He is sitting down to teach.) There is no hint at all at what He wrote. Some suggest the Ten Commandments or portions thereof.
  8. As the authorities continue to question Jesus, He says, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again He writes on the ground.
  9. Those who heard Jesus’ statement, starting with the oldest among them, walk away from the confrontation. Eventually only Jesus and the woman remain.
  10. It is probably that those who left the scene would be the religious authorities; a large crowd may have remained.
  11. Now the conversation with the woman. Jesus asks if no one has condemned her. Her answer is, “No one Lord.” Is the “Lord” part of her answer revealing?
  12. Jesus most gracious response is that He does not condemn her either. Then He admonishes here to sin no more.
  13. We can almost hear Jesus saying this to us.

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