My Thoughts. . .
Monday, July 29, 2019
Some are trouble by the words of John 8:1-11. They aren’t sure if the passage is inspired or not. Some believe it has been added by a later scribe. A woman is “caught in adultery” (8:3-4). They informed Jesus concerning what the Law of Moses states about such actions (8:5). Jesus did not reply but wrote something in the dirt (8:6). The woman’s captors continued asking Jesus what he would say about her punishment (8:7). Jesus raised up and asked, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (8:7).
Jesus did not deny what Moses said. They had asked him what he thought about the Law. Jesus placed the burden of decision upon the accusers with “who is without sin?” All of them were honest in answering his question because each knew he wasn’t sinless. The results of that discovery caused their walk out.
Jesus’ question to the adulterous woman was, “Where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (8:10). Her reply was, “No one, Lord.” Jesus’ reply caused some mouths to drop open in disbelief. Some find his statement, “Neither do I condemn you,” almost impossible to accept (8:11).
- Jesus did not deny their accusations against the woman.
- The woman did not deny their accusations.
- The apostles nor the crowd with Jesus denied the accusations.
- The witnesses quoted the Law of Moses correctly concerning her punishment (8:3).
- No one denied that outcome.
- Jesus’ reply did not deny nor set the Law aside.
- Jesus simply asked who was going to be first to carry out the Law’s sentence.
- The accusers did not fail to carry out the letter of the Law because they were squeamish about shedding a woman’s blood.
- Their motives were wrong. They wanted to accuse Jesus and the woman was their pawn to accomplish that task.
- Why did Jesus not proceed with the punishment since he and the crowd had heard the valid accusations?
- Why? Because according to the Law, he nor his audience were eye witnessed of her guilt.
- Why? Because the eyewitness accusers left without carrying out the punishment.
- Why? Because no one was left to give testimony against her as an “eyewitness.”
- Why? Because without the presence of eyewitnesses, the charge could not lawfully be fulfilled.
However, if Jesus had been anyone else in that story, that person would have been charged with:
- Refusing to carry out the mandates of God’s Law.
- Not having a backbone to do what was right.
- Refusing to take biblical responsibility.
- Being too soft on truth.
- Being a liberal in conservative clothing.
- Being more a disciple of error than a lover of truth.
- Being too compassionate with sin.
Jesus dismissed the woman with one command, “Go and sin no more” (8:11). What does that mean? Is Jesus requiring perfection from the woman? If when she later sins, regardless of what that sin is, is Jesus saying she will be killed by stoning at that time? Is Jesus saying don’t sin by committing adultery anymore? If so, isn’t Jesus skipping over all other sins she may commit? Is he saying to her that as long as she doesn’t commit adultery, she may sin to her heart’s desire? Surely not? Isn’t this an impossible command unless you have it explained? Since Jesus doesn’t give the specifics, don’t we write our own scripture by filling in our own blanks? Those “fill-ins” are never identical. That’s one reason we have so many religious divisions among believers.
Most biblical illustrations have one point being made. That is helpful but does not guarantee that every reader will develop the same point. This is similar to the biblical statement, “Be faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10). The passage does not define what “faithful” includes. One may ask the question, “How faithful is faithfulness?” Some experience deep anxiety because they know they come up short in possessing a perfect faithfulness. Is that what John meant by “be faithful”?
Some may ask, “If Jesus excused an adulteress, what else will he dismiss?” Some believe any sinner who enters their place of worship should never have their sin brought up from the pulpit. In other words, never offend them by informing them that their lifestyle is not in harmony with God’s word. This view basically teaches that since you believe your sins are not as bad as the sins of others, yours should not be mentioned, but the bad sins should. Should every congregation have each guest to sign off on what biblical subjects would offend them so they should not be addressed in that assembly? Yes, Jesus confronted the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes, but are visitors threatening the Lord as those individuals did? They may need more private teaching rather than a public thrashing.
There is a right way to correct others. Jesus told Peter that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed twice (Matthew 27:34; Mark 14:30). When Peter came into Jesus’ presence after the resurrection, the Lord did not remind him of his denial, but commanded him to “feed my sheep” (John 21:16-17). He told the adulteress “Go and sin no more,” he did not appoint her as the teacher of the third grade Bible class.
“The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, And a wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger” (Proverbs 25:11-12).
“A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire” (James 3:4-5).
Sometimes our follow-ship is not as good as Jesus’ leadership!