[The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53—8:11. A few manuscripts include these verses, wholly or in part, after John 7:36, John 21:25, Luke 21:38 or Luke 24:53.] 53 Then they all went home, 8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 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. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
This whole episode arises because the scribes and Pharisees want to trap Jesus, want a basis for accusing him, in order to discredit him and even to remove him from public life altogether – whether by imprisonment or death, no doubt. Jesus turns what is a terribly humiliating and deliberately destructive set of actions into a moment of redemption, love, and healing.
This passage is a direct affirmation of the promise made of God in Romans 8:28 – that he makes everything work out for His good. The key is, though, that He can and does. If I was in Jesus’ shoes in this episode, I would have been hard pressed as to how to handle the whole situation. Not my Jesus!
That’s why I trust in Him, I listen to Him, and I follow Him. And when I, or those around me, are hard pressed in tough situations like this woman found herself in, I come to Him – “Jesus, work this out for your good purposes! Give breakthrough wisdom, that silences the arrogant and foolish, and that heals and restores the broken and needy. Amen”
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh