About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Johan 8:1 - 11


What we need to note now is that from chapter 7, verse 53, to chapter 8 verse 11, has always had a question mark associated with it.  Many scholars believe that John did not write this section.  The first manuscript that this section appears in is about 600 years after the event would have taken place.  This section is not found in the most reliable texts that we have.  Some versions of our Bible do not include it in their version.  


Many people suggest that an event like what we see in this section could have taken place, or, maybe even did take place, so we should not be too concerned about its inclusion into our Bibles. 


Scholars say that the writing style of this section does not fit into the style of John’s writings as seen in the rest of the book.  What we should realize is that nothing written in this section contradicts any other portion of Scripture.        


Many Bible commentaries
 refuse to even comment on these verses.  I will, however, make comment, even though I understand that they are probably not part of the inspired text. 


In verse 1 we learn that
 Jesus went back to the temple after spending the night at the Mount of Olives .  This tells me that Jesus slept outside that night.  When Jesus was at Jerusalem He would often spend the nights at the Mount of Olives that overlooked the city.  Then He’d go into the city and teach at the temple in the morning.  


It is interesting to me that John says that Jesus sat down and taught.  To me this suggests a relaxed atmosphere, or at least He preferred a relaxed atmosphere.  Another thing to note that much of what Jesus taught was in dialogue format.  It was not Him standing and teaching while others listened.  He’d say something and then someone would ask a question.  Then He’d answer the question.  That is the best way for anyone to learn anything.


In verses 3 and 4 we see that while Jesus was teaching, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law tried to trap Jesus with a question in matters pertaining to their law.  This time they happened to find a woman in the process of committing adultery.  Just how they found her is unknown.  Whatever the case, they told Jesus that the Law of Moses said that this woman should be stoned because of her sin.  They were hoping that Jesus would say something that they could accuse Him of and arrest Him.  They were hoping that He'd say something contrary to the Law of Moses. 


It's only my guess, my speculation, but I think the Jewish leaders had set Jesus up.  We should know that many of these men had adulterous sex with the prostitutes of Jerusalem .  One of these men could have pre-arranged a night out with this lady and while in the process of having sex with her the other men could have come in and caught them in the very act.  It's only speculation, but, knowing what type of men they were, it is not a far fetched idea.


In verse 5 the Jewish leaders reminded Jesus that the Law of Moses demanded that this woman be stoned.  They asked Jesus what He thought should happen to her.  They obviously knew that Jesus was a man of compassion.  If He said don't stone her then they'd arrest Him immediately for breaking the Law of Moses.  Verse 6 confirms this to be true.    


Verse 6 is one of those verses that we’ve often speculated about.  It says that Jesus bent down and wrote something on the ground.  What did He write?  We don’t know, but we can be certain it had something to do with this situation, and probably something that pointed the finger at the Jewish leader’s own sin.


Verse 7 says that the Jewish leaders "kept on questioning Him," as if what He was writing was not a sufficient enough answer.  He, therefore, straightens up and says, "If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first one to throw a stone at her."  Then He stooped back to the ground and began to write again as verse 8 says. 


Maybe Jesus was writing names of certain sins to suggest one sin was not worse than another.  Maybe He was writing names of women that these Jewish leaders committed adultery with.  Whatever the case, what He was writing supplemented what He said.  It is clear that none of these men were without sin.


In verse 9 we note that all of the accusers left, starting with the oldest.  Why the older men left first is pure speculation.  Maybe they had committed more adultery than the younger men.  They certainly had more time to do just that.


In verse 10 Jesus asked the prostitute who was left standing to condemn her.  In verse 11 she replied that no one was left to condemn her.  Then Jesus told her that He did not condemn her either, but, He did not leave it at that.  He told her to leave her life of sin.  In other words, this prostitute was to repent.  Repent in Biblical terms means more than changing one's mind about sin.  It means leaving one's sin.  It means walking away from a lifestyle of sin, something Evangelicals don't seem to think is important these days. .      


This woman was not a religious woman.  Jesus tolerated   sinners more than He tolerated hypocritical religious people.  He did tell her to stop sinning, so He is not letting her off the hook.  Sin is sin no matter who commits it, but, in condemning the sin, He did not condemn the woman.  We can do the same.  We should expect sinners to sin.  We should condemn the sin but not condemn the sinner. We should preach the truth of Jesus, which includes the message of repentance. Without repentance there is no genuine faith.  One must turn from serving self before he can affectively serve Jesus.  You cannot serve two masters at once.  


Another thing we should learn from this passage is how intelligent Jesus was.  Back in verse 5 the leaders of the Jews pointed out what the Law of Moses stated concerning those caught in adultery.  The Law said to stone such a person, therefore, this lady should have been stoned on the spot.  The Law of Moses also said that there must be two or three witnesses before such a person could be stoned. This is where the intelligence of Jesus comes in.  By the time the discussion was over, all of the witnesses had left the premise.   There were no witnesses to accuse this lady; therefore she could not have been legally stoned.  I find this aspect to Jesus' character important for us to know. I believe Jesus would have made a good lawyer, and in one real sense of the word, He is our lawyer right now, representing us on a daily basis before God.  


We should realize that there were two main groups of Pharisees; one liberal ones and conservative ones.  The liberal group, known as the Hillel group, believed you could divorce your wife for any and every reason.  The other group known as the Shammai group was conservative and believed that adultery was the only valid Scriptural reason to divorce your wife.  Liberals were more popular than the conservatives. Therefore, in this crowd of Pharisees there were probably more liberals than conservatives who would have been married a number of times.  They would have divorced their wives for the sole purpose of having a new sex partner.  This is why Jesus told them that he who is without sin should cast the first stone.  The specific sin Jesus probably had in mind was their adultery.               

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