John 8: 1-3

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

This was most likely the last day of the festival of booths, shelters, and Tabernacles. The phrase “early the next morning” literally means before daybreak. 

This was in our vernacular, entrapment

The teachers should have taken her to the Sanhedrin for judgment not Jesus (in their eyes a common man)

The law required two witnesses to have viewed the act in order to accuse her (these witnesses would then also take part in the judgment against her)

The man should have been brought in and accused as well if such an offense happened

It was considered adultery rather than fornication so the woman must have been either engaged or married 

These leaders could have and should have dealt with this is in private but this was about trapping Jesus, rather than judging her sin.

John 8:4-6

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.

Once again, this should have been a private judgment. Where is the man? The Bible requires both, if judged to have sinned, to be stoned. But Jesus shares the Fathers heart behind it all. What did Jesus write in the dirt?

No one knows but my guess is he began writing a list of sins because of the next reaction.

John 8: 7-9

They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.

Jesus did not come to violate the law but instead to fulfill it. How does God do both justice and mercy at the same time. Jesus did not deny that justice should be meted out instead he requires justice to be accomplished through mercy….

He is not saying you have to be morally perfect to mete out justice but your attitude must be the Father’s heart, always full of mercy… what measure you judge, you will be judged Matthew 7:2.

Jesus wrote in the dirt a second time….What did he write? We don’t know but based on the reaction I think, Jesus wrote names next to the list of sins he wrote earlier, to remind each man of their personal need for mercy and grace. 

It is so easy to become one of these accusers. If someone’s sin is not our particular sin we may judge them more harshly. I have also seen it where someone judges the sin they are doing very harshly in others because they are angry at themselves for having that sin in their lives.

Here is a thought, Jesus may have even been seeing that this could have been his mother’s situation. While Mary did not actually commit adultery, she was accused of it and could have been stoned to death, but Joseph chose mercy. That is one of the reasons I believe Mary was chosen.

Jesus’ challenge to these men was to fulfill God’s heart from Micah 6:8

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

The challenge of this verse is doing what is “good” in God’s eyes not our own, what is “right” is what is fair, non-manipulative, and non-oppressive. Mercy according to the Hebrew word used here is the passionate, undeserved loyalty which is a defining quality of God’s character (Psalm 136). Walking humbly is something we must all do. We can’t be prideful or arrogant and be ambassadors of Christ. A true intimate relationship with God requires us to act like Jesus always keeping our eyes on Him and acting just like him.

Jesus was challenging these leaders to fulfill their own law as prophesied through Micah.

It seems that they got it, they understood beginning with the oldest and wisest to the youngest, even if there were actual accusers who caught her in the act, they recognized that while she was guilty, they wanted mercy in their own lives they needed to give out mercy.

John 8:10,11

Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Jesus wasn’t saying she was not guilty of sin, but they she was forgiven of sin. We are all in need of a savior. We get tripped up sometimes feeling we need to be perfect when all we really need is to be forgiven. 

Notice she calls him “Lord”…..this very well could be seen as her acceptance of him as savior as well. Then he challenges her, you have been forgiven now go and don’t allow yourself to fall into any kind of sin any more. 

Jesus always looks graciously and lovingly on all those caught in sins grip. How do we look at people who are guilty of sin? What is our approach to those who sin are we like the crowd or are we like Jesus? Do we have stones in our hands or are we looking through loving eyes? If you want mercy before God then we must learn to pour out mercy on mankind. It is not that we give a pass to their sin but instead help them to heal despite their sin…especially if the sin is against us, we must learn to forgive (this sin was against Jesus as every sin, as King David proclaimed, is against God)

During the Festival of booths, on the last day, in remembrance of God leading them by a pillar of fire by night, 16 gold bowls in the temple are filled with oil and light. Jesus is standing in the midst of these lights when he makes his next statements.

John 8: 12

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Another of the “I AM” statements

Jesus is saying very clearly that I am that light that led you and even in the darkness you are presently in you can have true freedom and light if you will follow me now!

Jesus was always pointing to scripture. He was always reminding people of God’s word. Let’s look quickly at the passage of mentioned a few times, Isaiah 9:1,2

Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.

2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.

Jesus in his proclamation in the temple is saying he is not only the savior of the Jewish nation but also of the whole world! 

If we are in need of a point being made quite often the Pharisees help us

John 8: 13

The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.”

The law, specifically Deuteronomy 19:15 that two or three witnesses are need for something to be true…..this only gives Jesus the open door to proclaim his “oneness” with the Father

John 8:14-18

Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. 15 You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. 16 And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. 17 Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. 18 I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.”

As God in the flesh, he knew exactly where he came from and exactly what the future holds. No man could bear witness of Him because they only judge by human standards not divine. Jesus understands all of eternity and the future of the world and every human being. Only God the Father can validate his testimony. Jesus, for now will not judge this world that is in the Father’s hands, he has the right too but chooses not to because of his mercy and love which was evident with the his judgment over the woman….Calling God Father would have blown their minds…they wouldn’t even say his name but Jesus is stating God the Father is his witness….but they don’t get it again.

John 8:19

“Where is your father?” they asked. Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t  know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.”

This statement is not really asking for Joseph’s location instead a suggestion of their belief of Jesus illegitimate birth. Jesus response to them is equally cutting….you have no clue who I am and because of that even though you say you represent God you don’t even know him….He is always trying to get them to awaken and smell the roses.

John 8:20

Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come.

Doesn’t seem too important of a verse, does it? We are told this is the treasury because Jesus loved to teach there for two reason 1) The treasury area was in the court of women. He taught there so both men and women could hear him speak. It was important to Jesus that women be lifted in their position. 2) He loved to watch people give as it revealed their hearts by their actions.

Jesus is the light of the world…he was for the woman brought before him. She believed she was dead but he shined the light on her to proclaim her a daughter who was called to freedom.

If we live in a world under constant scrutiny and judgment, always feeling condemned we are not allowing the power of the cross to set us free. Even before Jesus went to the cross he set this woman and hopefully those who were going to stone her free…..Often the most difficult to reach are those who believe they have the answers, their prejudice viewpoint of answers blinds to the truth.

The real light is knowing God’s word, knowing His heart and living it out. This is freedom for you and for all who are around you….This morning I challenge you to search your heart….are you truly free this morning