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At Home English School 英会話教室: Communicate with Comfort

The Gift of God
John 8:1-11

Today, we are looking at a court case.

Now, with any court case, there are certain legal proceedings that must be followed. First, of course, there has to be a crime. Then, there has to be somebody who has been accused of committing that crime. There also has to be somebody who is accusing the person of that crime. And finally, there has to be somebody to judge the guilt or innocence of the accused person and then carry out the punishment of the guilty.

So what are the facts of the case that we have just read about?

A woman has somehow been caught in the act of committing adultery. Adultery means sexual activity with someone who is not the marriage partner. Adultery is thus a violation of the marriage commitment by the people involved.


We don’t have time today to look in any detail at the biblical meaning and purpose of marriage, or the inevitable effects that adultery has on not only the individuals themselves, but also their families and the broader community. But I must make it clear, to summarise here, that God does have a very clear purpose for marriage. And what is more, He demands of us the responsibility to protect it:

Hebrews Chapter 13 verse 4 teaches:
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Hebrews 13:4)

Marriage is not just a relationship. It is a legal contract of commitment. It is a formal institution to ensure protection and security. Adultery is therefore a wilful and purposeful breaking of the marriage contract. Therefore, it is a punishable offense. And if there is an offence, there must be just punishment.

Although many people might not think that adultery is a crime, the Bible calls adultery sin. It destroys society. It wrecks homes. It injures innocent children. It attacks everything that God holds dear.

Thus, the nature of the punishment outlined in the law of Moses, which we will look at in a minute, just goes to show [proves] how incredibly important the meaning and purpose of marriage is to the very meaning and purpose of our humanity.

So, in the case that we are looking at today, a woman was caught in the act of adultery. She had been brought before Jesus by her accusers: the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.

However, here is the problem. It is very obvious that these Pharisees and teachers of the law had no intention at all of seeking true justice.

If they had been trying to bring about justice regarding this woman, they would not have taken her to Jesus. That is because the Pharisees were themselves a part of the Jewish religious ruling council. They themselves were the ones who traditionally had the authority in such matters.


Jesus was not a part of their group. In fact, in their opinion, Jesus had no relevant authority in such religious and legal matters. If the Pharisees and teachers of the law had actually been seeking legal justice, they could have dealt with the situation themselves.

So, why then did they take this woman to Jesus?

As we have just read:
They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. (John 8:6a)

To the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, it was not the woman who was on trial here. It was Jesus. And His accusers were those religious leaders of Israel.

All they were thinking of was to get rid of Jesus. This was their plan:

On the one hand, they knew that Jesus freely accepted and associated with so-called sinners. To the Jewish religious leaders, those people were considered religiously unclean, untouchable, and to even associate with them was thought to be an unthinkable sin.

However, when Jesus saw those kinds of people, He was filled with compassion for them. In reality, Jesus was showing everyone the true meaning of the law of Moses; He was fulfilling it. But in the eyes of the religious leaders, what Jesus did for those people, and what He said for them, was actually breaking that law.

So, in this case, too, those religious leaders no doubt expected Jesus to take the side of the woman. That was their plan. If Jesus freed the woman as they were expecting, they would have claimed He was breaking the law of Moses. If they could do that, then they could rightfully accuse Him of blasphemy. And the penalty for that, according to the law, was death.

On the other hand, there was also the possibility that Jesus might still have pronounced judicial sentence against the woman. He might have said: “Yes, she is guilty as charged. She must be punished according to the law of Moses.”

However, the catch here was that, by their own admission, the Jews did not have the authority carry out such punishment themselves. Israel was under the control of Rome, and so it did not permit them to execute law-breakers.

Therefore, if Jesus did happen to condemn the woman, they would have accused Jesus of breaking the Roman law and of being a political enemy of Rome. And the penalty for that crime was also death.

So, whichever way Jesus decided about this woman, the Pharisees and teachers of the law were convinced that they would be able to catch Him in their trap and get rid of Him.

But it is here that they made a big tactical mistake. When they dragged the woman before Jesus, their clear accusation was that she had been caught in the very act of adultery. You don’t need much imagination to understand the significance of this claim.

Those religious leaders wanted to get rid of Jesus so badly, they were so determined to trap Jesus in their plan, that they completely exposed their own hypocrisy. Not only did their actions in this case reveal their own personal devious motivation, they also destroyed any integrity of their legal case against the woman.

This was the problem: If the woman had indeed been caught in the act of adultery, then of course, there also had to have been another person, a man, involved. So the woman’s accusers must have also known who he was. But in spite of that, they only brought the woman. Where was the man? Where were their accusations against him?

You see, the law of Moses actually declares that both parties guilty of adultery must face the same penalty. Deuteronomy 22:22 declares:

If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. (Deuteronomy 22:22)

Perhaps by today’s standards, this may seem terrible. But if we feel defensive about that, then we need to look above our own standard and understand that the purpose of this law was not to take away freedom, but to ensure freedom. The standard of the law actually reveals the true value of the individual, of the family, of society, in our Creator’s eyes. The law aimed to protect that value for everyone.

So, there stood the woman with her accusers. They had stated their case against her, and now they were demanding Jesus to pass sentence.

But Jesus didn’t say anything. Instead, He bent down and started to write something in the dust of the ground. We are not told what He actually wrote.

Wouldn’t you love to know what He wrote! It must have been significant. It must have been connected to what happened next. Whatever it was, it hit directly at the heart of the issue.

Then, when the religious leaders continued to demand a verbal response, Jesus said to them:

"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)

Jesus’ response completely stunned them. They had laid a trap to get rid of Jesus. They had used the woman in their plan, accusing her of breaking the law of Moses, and then demanded that Jesus pass judgment on her.

They were expecting Jesus Himself to either break their law of Moses, or possibly the law of Rome.

But Jesus upheld their law. As judge, He not only rightly acknowledged the guilt of the woman, He also observed the appropriate punishment that was her due.

However, Jesus then decreed how that punishment should be administered.

Punishment must be delivered by the one without sin.

Now, suddenly, the religious leaders found that the tables had been turned. Now it was they who were really on trial.

John continues:

Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. (John 8:8,9)

Jesus had laid bare the true sinful state of their hearts. Their sin of jealousy, hatred, and even planned murder had been laid bare. Then, one by one they dropped their weapons and left.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. (John 8:10,11a)
イエスは身を起こして、その女に言われた。「婦人よ。あの人たちは今どこにいますか。あなたを罪に定める者はなかったのですか。」 彼女は言った。「だれもいません。」(ヨハネ8:10,11a)

Even today, if you are arrested for a crime but nobody appears in court to accuse you, the judge will dismiss the case.

Now, the people who had brought the accusation against that woman had all left in shame. There was no one left to condemn her. Only Jesus. And though Jesus was the only One who really was qualified to condemn her, He didn’t:

"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared.

But notice that Jesus didn’t say that she wasn’t guilty. She was, and Jesus directly confronted that next.

What Jesus did do, though, was to not condemn her for that guilt (sin.) But if God is holy and righteous, how was this possible?

We can only imagine how the woman was feeling throughout all this. We don’t know what she thought, or if she said anything else.

But we do know that the condition for forgiveness is repentance. Jesus must have seen this change in her heart. And so He received her and gave her His forgiveness.

But how was righteousness fulfilled? God is holy and righteous, and cannot just pretend that sin never existed.

Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death.

When Jesus gave His forgiveness, He saw ahead to the cross, where He would take that woman’s sin onto Himself, and receive the full punishment for it from God the Father.

1 Peter 3:18 tells us:

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, (1 Peter 3:18)

God’s demand for righteousness was fulfilled. And so Romans 6:23 concludes:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

The woman had been given this gift. She was now covered by Jesus’ righteousness, and so she had eternal life. That is why Jesus told her to leave her life of sin.

"Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:11b)

Have you ever made mistakes that you have really regretted? Have you ever been publically shamed for them? Do you ever compare yourself to other people, and feel guilty, inadequate, and insecure?

Or, on the other hand, do you sometimes find yourself comparing yourself to others, and looking down on them – accusing them - seeking personal security by finding their faults?

The Bible teaches us that, one day, we will all have to face our Creator, the Judge of all life.

If we are brave enough to look directly into the heart of Jesus, we will see the true state of our own hearts reflected back to us. That can be a terrifying thing! It caused the self-righteous religious leaders to depart in shame. But, on the other hand, it also opened the door for that woman to receive Jesus’ grace. It is not that she deserved God’s forgiveness, but, honestly, do we either?

But that is what God’s grace is – it is the unconditional love and forgiveness that He freely offers through Jesus’ cross to everyone who will humble themselves and ask Him for it.

So, I would like to finish with these words from 1 John Chapter 1, verses 8 and 9:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)

Let’s pray:
Loving Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus, who taught us how to love one another and how to serve you. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who guides us as we walk the road you have made for us. I pray that Your name would glorified in our lives, today and forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.