I. The Connivers (John 8:1-4)
When the Jewish religious leaders dragged the adulterous woman before Jesus, He did not question her guilt. But, the whole situation was just so unjust… which Jesus masterfully exposed in His response.
This woman provided the bait for the Pharisees’ trap. Aside from this, nothing is known about her – or how the religious leaders managed to catch her “in the act” of committing adultery. (You have to wonder how that played out!)
II. The Conniving (John 8:5,6a)
They pretended to be concerned with the fidelity of marriage and to the Law of Moses, yet nothing could have been farther from the truth. Otherwise, they would have grabbed the guilty man, too! The Law of Moses held BOTH parties accountable in cases of adultery (Lev. 20:10).
“The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do YOU say?”
The religious leaders intended to use this woman’s sin (and it WAS sin, by the way) to trap Jesus in a no-win situation. If Jesus disagreed with the suggestion that she be stoned – according to the Law, He would be accused of going against the Law… the very Law He had come to fulfill. But, if Jesus agreed with their judgment, and had passed sentence on her, He would be challenging the power of Rome, which held exclusive authority to mete out capital punishment… as well as standing against whole justice and fairness.
III. The Challenge (John 8:6b-8)
Two times Jesus bent down and wrote in the dust (it has been speculated he wrote down names of those accusers who were also guilty of adultery…)
Maybe the woman held her breath… every eye on her, then on Jesus, then back on her. And you have to wonder what she thought as Jesus invited the religious leaders to stone her! PROVIDED they were without sin themselves!! According to Jesus, only a righteous judge would do… and the only righteous Judge in their midst – Jesus – chose not to do any stoning. Jesus didn’t come to stone people for their sins, He came to save people from their sins!
IV. The Convicted (John 8:9)
The accusers all walk away, ashamed.
V. The Cleansed (John 8:10,11)
Instead, having silenced His opponents, Jesus sent the woman on her way… with the loving admonition to her to leave her destructive lifestyle that had gotten her into this mess in the first place.
It is important to remember – again – that Jesus came to save. Regardless of our sin… regardless of our situation, Jesus came to rescue us from that if we will turn to Him for salvation.
You can read the story of the Adulterous Woman in John 8:1-11.