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Monday, June 12, 2017

Adulteress Woman – John 8

          After Jesus’ encounter with the Jewish religious leaders, He retreats to the Mount of Olives (higher place). The Mount of Olives was across from the temple. Jesus often retreated to the Mount of Olives to talk with God in the highest place. At times, Jesus brought His disciples up the Mount of Olives to teach and reveal Truth to them. Jesus wanted His disciples to keep going higher with Him. The Mount of Olives was an important place to Jesus. He left this earth from the Mount of Olives and will one day return there. (see Zechariah 14:4)
At the dawn of a new day, Jesus returns to the temple courts and again begins to teach the crowd that gathered around Him. The Living Word/God was in the temple teaching! As He was teaching, some teachers of the Law and Pharisees interrupted Him dragging a woman caught in the very act of adultery to Him and made her stand before the crowd to shame her. This would have taken place in the Court of Women. Women could go no further into the Temple than the Court of Women. 
The Jewish religious leaders are going to use this woman to hopefully trick Jesus into disobeying the Law of Moses so they could arrest Him for doing so. If Jesus doesn't approve the stoning, He breaks the Jewish Law. If He approves it, He breaks the Roman Law that doesn't allow Jews to issue capital punishment. This is the trap these religious leaders are setting up for Jesus. Jesus who is all-knowing knew their plan. Jesus will turn the tables on those trying to trap Him. Instead of them trapping and judging Jesus, His all-knowing wisdom will trap them. In essence, Jesus said, “Go ahead and stone her but make sure you are without sin first because the “wages of sin is death.”  
 Jesus didn't come to enforce the Law but to fulfill it. The Godhead knew that it was not possible for man to obey the Law perfectly nor could a mere man fulfill it. God Himself will do this for mankind. Jesus was "born under the Law to redeem those under the Law." (Galatians 4:4)  Jesus came the first time to die on the cross as the perfect and final sacrifice for sin that the justice of the Law demanded. He had to obey the Law perfectly to set those under the Law free from its death for sin as well as all who after His death believed in Him. Then Jesus ushered in the "new way" to the Father through grace and truth. As we will see in this teaching, Jesus gave the Law to the accusers of the adulteress but offered forgiveness and grace to the accused, repentant woman.
The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees refer to Jesus as “Teacher” because they want to discredit Him as a Teacher. Jesus is the Supreme Teacher as the very Divine Word of God brought to life. The accusers of the woman didn’t see her as a person but as a means to their own agenda. They weren’t really seeking justice. If they were seeking justice, they would have taken the woman to those who had authority over these matters – the Sanhedrin Council. But the ultimate goal of these Jewish religious leaders was to accuse and judge Jesus using this sinful woman. Jesus will turn the tables back on their own heads making them the accused and judged by what He will write in the sand.
            The Law these accusers are using to condemn this woman is in Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22. “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife – with the wife of his neighbor – both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.” Notice that both the “adulterer (male) and the “adulteress (woman) are to be put to death. They only brought the woman disobeying the very Law they were using to accuse this woman.  These accusers quoted only part of the Law. “In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” John 8:5 If the woman was caught in the very act, then they would know who the adulterers were also. Yet, they did not bring the adulterer, just the adulteress. They were disobeying the very Law these religious leaders honor and defend to accuse this woman. One person cannot commit adultery; it takes two!
           But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger.” John 8:6 The Bible doesn’t say what Jesus wrote with His finger in the sand, but the writer believes that Jesus could have written the very Law that they were disobeying themselves by just bringing the woman for judgment– Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22.  It is the Word of God that convicts the sinner! Writing this Law would convict her accusers who were teachers of the Law. 
        God wrote the Law of the Ten Commandments with His finger on tablets of stone. (Exodus 31:18) These teachers of the Law knew the Ten Commandments well including the one that said, "You shall not commit adultery." They also knew that it takes two to commit adultery. The tablets of stone that God wrote the Ten Commandments on would be more permanent, but the convicting words that Jesus wrote in the sand would wash away by the water, in the same way the water of the Anointed Word (Holy Spirit anointed Word) washes away our sin if we cooperate with it. Who can wash away our sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. However, the Anointed Word will cleanse us since we sin daily and guide us into a holier life. The water and the blood work together as one. As Jesus walked the earth, He was doing only as the Father does and saying only what the Father says. So, He wrote the Word with His finger in the sand as the Father wrote the Ten Commandments by His finger on tablets of stone.
       When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” In order to execute a person for a crime, there must be eyewitnesses who are cross-examined. If they lie and are found out, they are subject to the laws regarding false witness in Deuteronomy 19:18-19. Those who are false witnesses must receive the same penalty as the one whom they falsely accused. In this instance, the penalty would be death by stoning. If the accused is found guilty, the eyewitnesses would cast the first stone of the execution. Then others would join in until the law-breaker was dead. Jesus is the Only Perfect One in this circumstance who could cast the first stone! Notice that Jesus did not judge or condemn the accusers. He merely wrote in the sand what showed them their guilt. Jesus didn’t come the first time to condemn and judge, but to save. He has given us His Word and His Holy Spirit to bring us out of our sinful life and into His ways and the will of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. Jesus, who knows the heart of man, judges righteously because He is perfect. There is not one who is righteous in the flesh except Jesus. These accusers are in no position to cast judgment upon this woman because they are sinners just like her. It is hard to focus on another’s sin when yours is exposed.
Again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. John 8:6-9 Perhaps it was on Jesus’ second writing that He wrote the commandment, “You shall not commit adultery.”  By doing so, He would make it more personal -- "You." Jesus who is all-knowing would know if they were the adulterers. They all walked away when their own sin was exposed by Jesus’ writing in the sand. The older men walked away first because they had lived a longer life and no doubt realized how much sin they had committed. Notice it says “those who heard.” Jesus wrote but "they heard" what He wrote. Though we study the written Word of God, we are to hear it and do it. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the Word that convicted me of sin yet walked away to go my own way. I am certain all of us have, but thanks be to God we have God’s grace and mercy covering us, the Truth to show us our fleshly ways and the Holy Spirit to give us the power to turn from sin so we can start anew with Jesus and live a holy life.
Only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” John 8:10
No one, sir” she said. In other words, there were no eyewitnesses to condemn her. Therefore, she was set free from the Law that brought death, and she could embrace Jesus’ forgiveness, grace and truth. 
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go and leave your life of sin.” John 8:9-11 Jesus didn’t condemn the sinner but He also didn’t ignore sin. Jesus mixed His grace and forgiveness with justice and Truth. His compassion and love extended His grace and forgiveness which He would have also offered to her accusers had they turned to Him instead of turning away. Christ-like forgiveness is not tolerance of sin. Jesus wanted her to have a changed life -- one that only the Godhead could give her. She could go back to her old life of sin that leads to death or embrace Jesus’ “new way” that leads to eternal life. Grace comes first and then our obedience. Jesus wanted this woman to have a changed life -- one that only the Godhead could give her. God pardons first and then sanctifies. Grace and truth should motivate us to live a holy and obedient life to the glory of God
                     (Next week: "I am the Light of the World")

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