The Last One Standing (John 7:53,8:1-11)

The Last One Standing (John 7:53,8:1-11)
The Last One Standing (John 7:53,8:1-11)

The Passage

This week we will study John 7:53,8:1-11. So let’s read the passages, [[They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]”

The End of the Feast of Booths

In John 7:53,8:1-11, we see that the Pharisees are testing Jesus, trying to get Him to incriminate Himself, so they could bring charges against Him. The first thing we see is that they each went to their own homes, this is likely referring to the religious leaders and officers, although, it could also be referring to the crowds. Either way, we know that the Feast of Booths was over and everyone was returning to their own homes. We see that Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, likely to be alone with the Lord. He may have spent the night in prayer knowing what was coming the next morning or He could have gone there to rest. The next morning Jesus went to the Temple early, all the people came to Him and He sat down and taught them. The Feast of Booths probably caused the crowd size at the temple to be larger than normal. Jesus sat down to teach, this is how the Jewish Rabbis and teachers would teach during this timeframe in history and this shows that Jesus had authority. We will study what John recorded of these teachings next week. 

Inspired Word

I think we can not go any further without addressing what your Bible may say; when you open this passage some say, “[The earliest manuscripts do not include 7:53–8:11.]”. According to textual critics, this passage seems to only be found in the later manuscripts of John that have been discovered. Many may think that talking about the concern of this passage is not necessary when they are studying this passage, but I think it is important to understand where the concern is coming from. This is not to sow seeds of doubt, but because I want you to be informed about this passage. This is one of two passages where there are any concerns, in the entire Bible {The other is Mark, 16:9–20}. However, most scholars agree that this passage is the inspired Word of God. What many scholars disagree on is where this passage was originally placed in the book of John. I think this is probably the place this passage is supposed to be because when you read these chapters without these verses, you will see that there is a more abrupt change from chapter to chapter than John usually has. But, we have to keep in mind that the Bible was not written in chapters, but in movements, and this also makes sense in this movement of John. In conclusion, this passage is the inspired Word of God and is exactly where it needs to be, and is trustworthy. As usual, if you have concerns, do your own research, to do this, I recommend reading both scholars and textual critics both for and against this section being in the book of John.

The Test

We then see that the religious leaders brought a woman caught in the act of adultery. They thought they would be able to trap Jesus in His words. It was not about justice or grace, it was yet again about getting rid of Jesus, or trying to prove that He was not the Messiah. They tried again and again, to bring charges against Him, and they did eventually kill Him, but only because God gave them the authority to because that was God’s plan from before the beginning to redeem humanity. They were not able to catch Him in His words or prove that He was not the Messiah because He was the Messiah. The woman being caught was most likely a setup, since there was no mention of the man and the religious leaders seemed to put much thought into this test. From man’s perspective, there was no right answer to the religious leader’s question, that would not give them a charge to bring against Jesus. If He said to stone her as the law called for, then He would be setting Himself against Rome and would be liable to answer for her death, whereas if He said to spare her, then He would have been going against the law of Moses. The latter is what they expected Him to choose, they did not see another option, but Jesus did. They saw an impassable test, one that in their minds would only have two foreseeable outcomes, Jesus being killed or being locked away. They were never able to bring a legitimate charge against Him and He passed every test they gave Him.

Jesus’ Response 

In response, Jesus bent down and started writing in the dirt, it is uncertain what He wrote. They asked Jesus what should be done for the second time. He tells them to let the one who is without sin throw the first stone. It then says that they left from the oldest to the youngest. There are two theories as to why the oldest went away first. The first one is: that the older ones recognized they had sinned and that there was no way to win, so they walked away. The second is what Jesus wrote on the ground was about them, from the oldest to the youngest. I agree with the first one more because, when God wrote with His finger in the Bible, it was about the law and judgment based on the law. The times when God wrote in the Bible with His finger are, the Ten Commandments, and in Daniel 5, when God writes on the wall that the King of Babylon has been found wanting (Exodus 24:12, Daniel 5:24-28). Both were to convict the people of their sins (Romans 5:20). I think what Jesus wrote on the ground, had something to do with the religious leader’s sins and/or the coming judgment.

Where Did Everyone Go

Once the religious leaders and the crowds were gone, Jesus asked, “woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”. She said, “No one Lord”. He then said,  “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more”. So, what does this show us about Jesus’ character? First, let’s cover what this does not mean, so many when reading the Old and New Testaments think that the God of the Old Testament feels and acts differently than Jesus. I have thought this way sometimes, as well, but when looking at the text of the Old Testament, it is easy to get wrapped up in the judgment of God and miss all the grace that is everywhere within the Old Testament. In the same way, it is easier to see the grace in the New Testament, than it is to see the judgment. Now we see what it does mean, Jesus is standing there as the only Man never to have sinned. Also, He is God, one of the two beings this lady had sinned against, God and her husband. Jesus had the right to condemn her. Caught in the act, there was no uncertainty, there was no way to plead innocent, she was guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. She was in her sin when the religious leaders brought her to Jesus. The religious leaders cared nothing for this woman, who to them was just a pawn, in their war against Jesus. Jesus saw her for who she was, someone whom He knit together in her mother’s womb, someone He knew before she was ever born, an image-bearer made in the image of God, and a daughter who had gone astray, whom He was going redeemed by taking her sins, upon Himself on the cross (Psalms 139:13, Jeremiah 1:5, Genesis 1:27, Galatians 3:13). 

The Call

We are just like the woman in this story, while we were in the depths of our sins and rebellion against God, Jesus came and died for us, so we can be with Him forever (Romans 5:8). All sin is rebellion against God because by sinning we are saying, we know better than God and want to be in His place. No matter what you have done, if there is breath in your lungs, you can come to know Him. Just like the woman in this story we all deserve death, which is the punishment for our sins (Romans 6:23). But God, rich in mercy, came taking all our sins and our punishments upon Himself on the cross. He is the only One who can redeem us (John 14:6). He is the only One who can tell you that there is no condemnation for you. In the meantime, before we get to go and be with Him, we need to go and sin no more. Not to earn salvation, but because we already have it and desire to be more and more like Jesus every day and not grieve the Holy Spirit. So this week, if you do not know Jesus, know that even if you are drowning in your sins, He is calling to you. He wants you to accept Him. If you would like to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins (repent means turn away), and believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, then confess Him as Lord and Savior of your life (Romans 10:9). As for us as Christians, remember what Jesus did for you, what He pull you out of, and praise Him for being such a good and gracious God. He deserves all honor, glory, and praise.

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