I’ve heard so many sermons on this passage, and I’m guessing you have too. Which means that it’s a good passage. It also means that it’s easy to preach, which is why there are a lot of sermons on it. 🙂
I don’t know what Jesus wrote in the ground that day, but we can let our imaginations run wild. Perhaps he didn’t write anything, he was just doodling. Maybe he wrote down some of the sins of those who were holding the stones. Maybe he wrote down some of the commandments each of them had broken. Maybe wrote out all the numbers for Pi and just keep writing…
What he wrote obviously wasn’t the most important part of the story, otherwise we would have it recorded somewhere. What do you think the most important part is? “Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone at her.” – Yes, I would agree that’s a very important part of the passage. But what about what happens next?
What does Jesus say to the woman? “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” to which she replied – no one. And here is the the point I want us to think about: “I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”
What!?!?!? This woman was caught in the act of adultery. Sure, Jesus wanted to make a point to the people who were trying to catch him. But, come on Jesus, you just let her off the hook!
Unfortunately, we don’t have the follow up story for this woman like we do with the woman at the well, but I imagine the same result would be true of this woman. At least to some degree. Even more than that, I would imagine this totally changed her life. Because, if it weren’t for Jesus, she would have been stoned to death. Every day, she was alive beyond this incident was a gift. She deserved to die because of her sins, and yet, Jesus doesn’t condemn her.
Kind of sounds familiar doesn’t it? Kind of like our stories? We deserved to die because of our sin, but because of Jesus, we can live. “Yet, it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.”
Then like this woman, we too must heed the words of Jesus as he sends us on our way. “Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
8 1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came to the temple courts again. All the people came to him, and he sat down and began to teach them. 3 The experts in the law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They made her stand in front of them 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. 5 In the law Moses commanded us to stone to death such women. What then do you say?” 6 (Now they were asking this in an attempt to trap him, so that they could bring charges against him.) Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger. 7 When they persisted in asking him, he stood up straight and replied, “Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground.
9 Now when they heard this, they began to drift away one at a time, starting with the older ones, until Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up straight and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She replied, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
Ask God to reveal in sin in your life that you are still holding on to. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior, and you want to know more, you might want to read this. As God reveals the sin in your life, from which you have already been set free, ask for His strength and His spirit to empower you to live the life He created you to live.