Jesus challenges us. Are we “sinless”? If so, we get to throw the first stone.
- Jesus challenged the elite religious leaders.
- They were right about “the law”.
- They were wrong about mercy. Jesus desires mercy.
- None of them qualified to throw the first stone. They all knew it.
- They all walked away. Only Jesus is left.
Are we wrong about mercy? Do we get to throw the first stone? Are we good with mercy and compassion?
Here is the deal. While I am a notorious sinner, caught in the act, Jesus refuses to condemn me. Jesus challenges me to stop missing God’s goal (aka sinning). Jesus challenges me to change my mind and act differently (aka repent).
The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Master [Lord].” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.
English Standard Version. (2016). (John 8:7–11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Is the story of the woman taken in adultery a part of Scripture? If it is, where does it belong in the Gospel record? John 7:53–8:11 is not found in some of the ancient manuscripts; where it is found, it is not always in this location in John’s Gospel. Many scholars seem to agree that the passage is a part of inspired Scripture (“a fragment of authentic Gospel material,” says Dr. F.F. Bruce) regardless of where it is placed.
Adultery is a problem for all of us!
We know that adultery begins with lust in our hearts. Jesus is clear about this. Scripture after scripture is in agreement. We must control ourselves. We have no excuse. We are committing adultery. YIKES!
- Proverbs 6:25 (ESV) —Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
- Matthew 5:27–28 (ESV) — 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his hear
- 2 Samuel 11:2–3 (ESV) — 2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 3 And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”
- Job 31:1 (ESV) — “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
- Job 31:9 (ESV) — 9 “If my heart has been enticed toward a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door,
- Jeremiah 5:8 (ESV) — 8 They were well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.
- Matthew 15:19 (ESV) — 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.