The Gospel of John, The Period of Conflict, Jesus Urged to Go to the Feast of Tabernacles and the Woman Taken in Adultery, Part X, John 7:47-8:11 - Lesson 57
Read Verses John 7:47,48, Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
The Pharisees rebuke the officers, the temple police.
They can understand how the simple people, the common people might be deceived but they were simply to follow orders, not think for themselves.
Name a single man of learning and reputation who has been deceived by this so-called messiah.
What important rabbi has given his endorsement?
The establishment has not pronounced him the Messiah!
The common folk don't know the subtlety of the oral law and the traditions of the elders!
How could they know anything.
The common people are an ignorant crowd who know not the rabbinical rulings.
If Jesus were the Messiah, surely those who are supposed to know would acknowledge his claims.
The Pharisee's prideful attitude led them astray.
Their pride preceded their destruction as proverbs tells us.
But God chooses the weak and foolish to confound the wise.
He chooses the base things to confound the mighty.
He conceals himself from the wise and understanding and reveals himself to babes.
John 7:50-52, Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
Thank the Lord for Nicodemus.
Eighteen months had gone by since the conversation with Jesus Christ where Nicodemus learned that he must be born again.
That time with Jesus bears fruit here and it breaks up the meeting.
He spoke up for the Lord Jesus Christ and protests this condemnation of Jesus while he was absent.
This isn't the law, you law keepers!
You know that Rabbinical literature has this rule,
"Flesh and blood may pass judgment on a man if it hears his words, if it does not hear them, it cannot establish its judgment."
Roman law agreed with this position.
The Pharisee do not want to discuss the matter in an intelligent manner so they resort to a suggestion that Nicodemus is an ignorant country boy from Galilee and that is why he is trying to be fair to Jesus Christ, perhaps he is a follower of the heritic.
This is a typical reaction from those who care not to be fair, those whose motives are wicked. They turn on truth with scorn!
They cannot understand how anyone can desire to do right because they do not do right.
There must be a hidden motive.
But they did not even know the scriptures.
They said no prophet comes from Galilee!
But what about Jonah and Nahum who prophesied to Nineveh and the prophet Elijah who came out of Galilee.
Their own words condemn them. But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. By their own words they are judged.
John 7:53, And every man went unto his own house. John 8:1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
This reference is to every man mentioned in this chapter.
The feast is now over.
The temporary booths are taken down and all went to their permanent homes.
They all depart from Christ.
The priest and the Pharisees went home, Nicodemus went home, the captain of the temple went home, the officers went home, the people of Jerusalem went home.
But no one invites Jesus home and he goes to the Mount of Olives.
We ought not to be surprised for Jesus told us in Luke 9:58, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
But by God's hand he is not taken by the police and is free to continue to follow the will of the Father.
His hour is not yet come so he continues his work and goes to the mountain perhaps for a night's sleep and communion with his Father!
John 8:2, And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
Jesus returns to the temple early in the morning.
If the temple authorities had thought to make him afraid to return they were mistaken.
Jesus had a mission to carry out and he knew that he had still a little while.
His hour had not yet come!
It was normal for Jesus to go to the temple.
He desired to be in the Father's house early in the morning.
As we see in many episodes in Jesus life he lived out the Proverbs.
Here is an example of Prov. 8:17, where we are told that "those who seek God early shall find him.
He told us to "Seek ye first the kingdom of God" and he practiced exactly what he preached.
If we are a disciple of Christ we should follow his leadership and seek the blessing and instruction of God early.
We must have the nutritious breakfast of the word each day if we are to stay spiritually healthy.
So we are told that as he sat down and taught, all the people in the temple came and listened.
I like the fact that Jesus sat and taught.
He obviously was comfortable with the people.
He enjoyed being with those who wanted to hear his words.
What a wonderful opportunity they had to sit at the feet of the Son of Almighty God and to be taught by him.
But we also have that opportunity whenever we choose, because his word is the same today as it was when it came directly from his mouth as he taught in the temple.
But Oh, how we so neglect to sit at his feet.
Can't we sit at his feet by faith?
Don't we know his presence when we study his word?
Didn't he say, "I will always be with you?"
At this scene in the temple we witness truth incarnate teaching truth.
But where truth is preached there will be opposition.
The scribes and the Pharisees do not let up.
They continue their conspiracy as we see in:
John 8:3-6a, And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.
They had gone about to find a woman who had sinned.
They had not gone about with a heart that desired righteousness, not with a heart that grieved because God's law had been broken, but with a corrupt heart, a heart full of deceit and a heart full of wickedness.
Their object in bringing her to Jesus was to exploit her and to use her to bring down Jesus Christ.
Their motive was to discredit Jesus Christ before the people at the temple.
This was to be a public humiliation of the one who challenged their power over the people that they controlled by their religion.
In their minds this plan would destroy Jesus Christ.
The law was clear. She should be stoned.
Moses declared this in: Lev 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. and again it is stated in: Deu 22:22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
No matter to them that the man was not brought.
Pharisees and scribes!
I thought you said that she was taken in the very act!
Where is the man?
Should not he also be stoned?
Are you not interested in complete obedience to the law?
Doesn't your heart desire justice?
Doesn't your heart desire righteousness?
But the Pharisees and scribes answered none of the above to those questions.
They were not interested in the program of God.
They were not interested in the seeking and saving of sinners.
They were only interested in trapping Jesus Christ by his own word.
He had not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it.
But he also was a friend of publicans and sinners.
If he said to let her go they would have accused him of being an enemy of the law of God and his own word, but if he answered, "Stone her" they would have ridiculed him because he said he was a friend of publicans and sinners.
Hadn't he said that he had not come into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him should be saved?
Hadn't he come to seek and to save that which was lost?
They had him, he couldn't wiggle out of this trap, they thought.
They had him cornered just like they planned.
But a greater than Solomon is here.
They are confronting Jesus Christ with the problem of how justice and mercy can be harmonized.
The law of righteousness demands the punishment of the transgressor.
God is holy and righteous and he will not allow those that are defiled to enter his presence.
They test the claim of Jesus Christ.
How could he say that he had not come into the world to condemn the world when the justice of God demanded just that.
But we know that God has found a way and that way was standing before their them and the woman they were trying to exploit.
Boil this dilemma down to its essential points.
First we have the person of Jesus Christ who had announced his mission to seek and to save that which was lost.
Second, the woman is the sinner who cannot clear herself, she has no hope.
Third, the law was against her, the declared penalty was death.
Fourth, she, the guilty one, the sinner is brought before Jesus Christ and indicted by his enemies.
The question is before us.
What will grace do before the demands of the law?
Is grace helpless before the law?
John 8:6b, But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
The finger of God is busy writing on the ground.
This is the only time that scripture tells us that Jesus wrote while incarnate, but not the only time that God wrote.
God wrote when he gave the law to Moses and ratified the law in stone.
He wrote on the wall before the orgy of Belshazzar.
And now Jesus writes on the ground.
We do not know what he wrote.
Whatever he wrote was not meant to destroy the law.
It was meant to fulfull the law.
We can be sure that the woman looked to see and his accusers looked to see what he wrote.
John 8:7,8, So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
They mistook his silence as weakness.
They mistook his bending down and writing on the ground as confusion.
He could not look them in the eye. They had him.
He was reeling from their trap.
But he stands up and looks them in the eye and simply says, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
But a greater than Solomon is here.
If you examine this passage carefully you will find that these are the only words that Jesus Christ speaks to his accusers.
He tells them to stone the woman but he conditions that upon the fact that the one who casts "the" stone, the heavy stone that will bring death is to be without sin.
They knew that the law required that the witnesses themselves to the sin were to be the first ones to cast the heavy stones.
Deut17:7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.
The witnesses were to be a part of the stoning.
The law required that the witnesses themselves were to be without the same crime, because they had no right to participate in a punishment that they also should be receiving.
Perhaps the writing on the ground had revealed something about themselves and their own sin.
Jesus had intimated that they were not fit to demand that God's sentence be enforced.
His words prick their consciences.
He then bends down again and resumes writing.
John 8:9, And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
Christ's enemies had tried to trap him by the law of Moses; instead Christ turned its searching light upon themselves.
The law is indeed a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.
Jesus Christ had upheld the law.
He had not condoned the woman's sin.
He had not spoken a word against the law.
His accusers were convicted by the law which is the law's purpose.
He fulfilled the law.
So the eldest, the one with the most sin to consider and perhaps the greatest reputation, slinks away, heavy under his own guilt, not able to cast the stone.
But their own consciences were not enough to bring them to Christ.
It simply caused them to leave Christ.
All except the woman.
She stayed and was the benefactor of the grace that only Jesus Christ bestows.
John 8:10,11, When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
The law required two witnesses before its sentence could be carried out and the witnesses were to take part in the sentence.
Jesus asks the woman, Where are thine accusers?
Hath no man condemned thee?
She says, No man, Lord.
She calls him Lord and I believe this indicates that she received Jesus Christ.
There was not a single witness left to testify against her.
Only Jesus Christ was left.
He knew that she was a sinner and he knew the sin that she had committed.
But the law was powerless to touch her.
Jesus Christ is in the way.
He refused to sit as a judge when there were no witnesses.
He did not condone her sin, but he would die for her sin.
The witnesses had disappeared so Jesus Christ, full of grace and truth, says, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
So everyone else in the temple courtyard left with a guilty conscience but the woman left with joy in her heart.
She had met Grace and Truth.