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January 19, 2014 Jesus amazed Jerusalem by teaching profound doctrine even though He had no formal training. But the leaders weren’t amused; they wanted Him dead and had sent out a task force to arrest Him. But the officers refused to touch Him because they could see something unique about Him. The leaders pushed harder for legal action until Nicodemus (also a leader) insisted that they must follow the Law. But the Jews weren’t interested in protocol; they wanted Jesus dead. And so the meeting ends abruptly and every man goes to his own house. Sometime during the night another plan is hatched and the next day it’s carried out: Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. This is the setting of the trap. The Son of God came to save the world; He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He didn’t come to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. He’s a friend of sinners and He gives hope to the Samaritans and the Gentiles. But will He keep the law of God? Is there any way He can be discredited? After all, to be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God. And so the Pharisees hatch a brilliant plan. They will catch Him in a contradiction in front of all His disciples. If He keeps the Law no one will believe His claimed purpose; if He sticks to His purpose then He’ll deny the Law of justice. Either way no one will follow Jesus of Nazareth any more after this:
And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. These leaders catch this woman in the very act of adultery. She’s not just accused; she’s been caught. From what I’ve been able to gather it appears adultery wasn’t really a big issue during this time. Everyone was doing it and this woman is probably just as surprised as anyone else. But they need something to lay the trap and she’ll work perfectly. So they grab her out of her bed, drag her down the street, and toss her into the middle of this Bible study. It’s odd that she’s taken to a Bible study and it proves their intentions. If they were really so concerned about justice and purity they would have taken her to the proper authorities. As far as they’re aware, Jesus has no authority in such a case.
But what they really want is to discredit Him: “Moses says ‘stone her’ but we’re betting you’ll say something else. Tell us, what do you say?” But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. If you’re a little confused about what just happened you’re not the only one. I’m not sure that anyone knows with absolute certainty, but I can tell you that these Jews had absolutely no idea what was going on right then either. There’s a lot of speculation about what He wrote or why He wrote it, but very little of it seems like anything more than speculation. I think if we’re going to answer it we have to have something from the immediate context and hopefully something from somewhere else in the Scripture. If we can’t find anything as solid as that then we should just say we don’t know and leave it at that. Some things aren’t meant for us to know and that’s ok. But I think there’s at least one explanation that seems legitimate enough that it’s worth entertaining. Remember that in 7:37-38 Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that beleiveth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shal flow rivers of living water.” But the rulers rejected Him and planned to arrest Him. Now, on the next day, they come to Him again and this time He writes something on the ground. Now I want you to look back to Jeremiah chapter seventeen: Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. 8For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. 9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. 11As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. 12A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. 13O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters. 14Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. 15Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now. 16 As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee. 17Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil. 18Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be
dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction (Jer. 17:7-18). Can’t you picture the Savior, the helpless woman, and all the spiteful rulers from John eight in this passage? She will be saved, but their wicked and deceitful hearts give them a false security! But they don’t get it just yet:
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: Suddenly they put it together. “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings .” God knows their hypocrisy. These are the blind leading the blind. They stress the mote in the woman’s eye while having a beam in their own! (Lk. 6:37 -45). There’s no law against making judgment so long as that judgment is righteous. But this self-righteous, pseudo-pietism is the fruit of a wicked and deceived heart. They are hypocrites. They are whitewashed tombs. They are clean and beautiful on the outside but full of every kind of evil on the inside. They cling to Moses and sing praise to God when it’s convenient but in reality they disobey Moses and they have departed from God; they have forsaken the living water and their names are written in the earth. And so they’re convicted. The older ones understand first and then the younger. You’d hope they would seek forgiveness in their conviction, but evil men hat e the light because they hate being exposed. Conviction joined with faith leads to repentance, but these men do not have the Spirit to bear His fruit. Conviction bears the fruit of the flesh in them. Instead of falling in their faces they retreat away from the Light and they will plan another day how to extinguish It. And then they are all gone: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. Picture Jesus standing in front of this woman: she can’t look up from the floor. She’d love to be invisible, but He’s turned squarely on her. His gaze is fixed. Everyone in the Bible study is motionless; not even breathing. What will He say to her now?
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? What a great question! If she’s going to be stoned then there must be some accusers. There must be some witnesses. “Where are they? Is there anyone left to throw a rock at you?”
She said, No man, Lord.
I can hear salvation in her voice! “There is no one left to condemn me!” There is now no condemnation! They had called Him “Master” which really just means “teacher” but she calls Him “Lord.” The Greek actually means someone who has power.1 “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9). “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is…Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise…Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil. Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.” And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. How can He do this? This is the reason He came into the world. Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:16-17). She received of His fullness! She received grace because He obeyed Moses! He came not to judge her but to save her from judgment. And when she stands at the place of judgment her confession is “Lord.” Christ will bear her stripes and He will remove her sin as far as the east is from the west. The law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 5:2021).
And now He says to her, “Go and sin no more.” This is the simplicity of the gospel. At her trial she was not condemned because Christ would not condemn her. Therefore, she now walks like one who’s been forgiven. She leaves that life of sin. And in all this we see a picture of ourselves, don’t we? We were condemned and accused. We had been caught red-handed and we deserved death, but Christ refused to raise a hand against us. Instead He took up our cause and suffered in our place. Justice was served but not on us. What a hope and blessing! newgracebaptistchurch.wordpress.com
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