Putting God's Word into Practice…

John 7:53-8:11 Men Caught in Sin…Woman Caught in Grace

on May 24, 2012

The heading of this portion of history is always “Woman Caught in Adultery,” but I think it should be retitled, “Men Caught in Sin; Woman Caught in Grace.”  So many things come to mind as I read this story.  Hopefully it will not result in a total ADD post.

“They went each to his own house, BUT JESUS went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple.” (John 7:53-8:2a)  Everyone had someone–a family–to go home to.  Jesus was alone with no home.  The Mount of Olives is the closest place to home for Him.  I researched the other places in Scripture that mention the Mount of Olives and came up with quite a list:

  1. King David ascended the mount weeping after he heard the news of his son, Absolom’s, conspiracy.  The messenger said, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absolom.”  I wonder if Jesus felt that way climbing the mount that night: that His people had believed a conspiracy and followed after His enemy.
  2. In Ezekiel 11:23 it says the glory of the Lord departed from the temple and rose up on the Mount of Olives.
  3. Zechariah 14:4 says that the Lord will come to restore Jerusalem standing on the Mt. of Olives.
  4. Jesus ascended into heaven from the mount in Acts 1:9, and Acts 1:11 says He will return the same way.
  5. The Mount is where the triumphal entry began in Matthew 21.
  6. It was a place where he taught privately and rested (Matthew 24).
  7. Jesus and the disciples went their after the last supper (Matthew 26).
  8. Luke 22 says that it was Jesus’ custom to go the Mount of Olives.  It was there that He sweat drops of blood in prayer for the Father’s will before His death. 
  9. Luke 21:37 says that Jesus lodged on the Mount of Olives.

When he came back down in the morning–He came ready to teach in the Temple, prepared to overcome the conspiracy that was about to ensue.

The scribes and pharisees had caught a woman IN THE ACT of adultery.  Several questions rush to mind:  Where was the man?  Did they give her time to get dressed? What would it feel like to be brought into the temple in front of Jesus directly from those circumstances?  What if the most immoral action or thought we had was brought to light in the middle of our church? (We’ll come back to that…)  The religious leaders wanted Jesus to give permission to have the woman stoned for her sinfulness.  If He said yes, they could call His grace a lie and say He came to condemn.  If He said no, they would say He was blaspheming the Law.

Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with His finger–there are many opinions on what He wrote, but unfortunately God didn’t tell us so they are just opinions-not truth.  Whatever it was, it probably went with His comment, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Ouch!  They were accusing her of adultery, but their hearts were full of murderous plans toward Christ.  Obviously, they had all broken commandments, just like you and I.

The woman was brought before Jesus in ridicule and shame, but she left covered in His grace.  What the scribes and pharisees meant for harm, God meant for good.  She did not get what she deserved, but she got exactly what she needed.  Jesus did not come to condemn, but to save!

Why do I think she was saved in that moment?  She responded to Jesus as “Lord.”  Anyone who confesses Jesus as Lord will be saved! (Romans 10:9, Acts 16:30-31)

Back to the thought of our darkest sins being uncovered in church…  I’m sure it was painful to be brought into that place, in front of those people, carrying that shame and disgrace. But Christ gave her grace and kindness.  We are all immoral people.  We try to mask it, hide it and not get caught.  The truth is we are in no shape to condemn each other, and it is in uncovering our sin that we find freedom and grace.  My prayer is that our churches would be places where people experience the love and grace of Jesus, not condemnation.  It is His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). It is repentance (exposing our sin and turning from it) that leads to salvation, and it is salvation that leads to a life without regret (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Lord, thank you that you brought me to a place of vulnerability and brokenness before you.  Thank you that you covered my sin with your grace and righteousness.  Thank you that I’ve been set free, that I don’t have to hide from you or be ashamed anymore!  Thank you for saving me!

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