Bible Society of South Africa

All is fair in love and law – Day 11

Bible text(s)

The Woman Caught in Adultery

[ 1Then everyone went home, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early the next morning he went back to the Temple. All the people gathered round him, and he sat down and began to teach them. 3The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery, and they made her stand before them all. 4“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5In our Law Moses commanded that such a woman must be stoned to death. Now, what do you say?” 6They said this to trap Jesus, so that they could accuse him. But he bent over and wrote on the ground with his finger.

7As they stood there asking him questions, he straightened himself up and said to them, “Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her.” 8Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard this, they all left, one by one, the older ones first. Jesus was left alone, with the woman still standing there. 10He straightened himself up and said to her, “Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you?”

11“No one, sir,” she answered.

“Well, then,” Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again.”]

Jesus the Light of the World

12Jesus spoke to the Pharisees again. “I am the light of the world,” he said. “Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.”

John 8:1-12GNBOpen in Bible reader

1. While Jesus was teaching those who gathered around him in the temple precincts, some Pharisees and Scribes brought to him a woman “caught in the act of adultery”. Appealing to the Law of Moses that requires that she be stoned, they ask Jesus to judge her case. But Jesus bends down to write on the ground with his finger. When they continue to press him for an answer (8:7), Jesus stands up and addresses the Pharisees and Scribes. “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (8:7).
Jesus did not argue against the law commanded by Moses but his response to the group of men pointed to the blind spot in their own vulnerability and guilt. This reminds us that the defenders of the law are not always the keepers of the law.
(a) Can you imagine the scene of this crime? One person caught in the act of adultery!
(b) Do you see a connection between the men’s reference to the Law of Moses and
Jesus’ act of writing?
(c) Do you wonder what Jesus was writing on the ground? What do you think it might have been, or whom it might have been about?
(d) What do you notice about Jesus’ posture? Have you had an experience where body language speaks louder than words?
(e) What new insights have emerged for you from engagement with this text?

2. Often the focus of John 8 is on the Pharisees as the ‘bad boys’ because they were using the question [about the law] to trap Jesus (8:6). The fact that the men were using the woman for their own devious purpose is seldom recognised. Is our blind spot perhaps because we condemn the woman based on Jesus’ last words to her?

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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