This is the Wednesday sermon for May 21st 2008.
JOHN PART 32
A woman’s horrible sin;
Christ’s great forgiveness
In the last teaching, we saw Jesus at the last day of the feast of tabernacles, stand up and make a great statement and claim.
John 7:37-38 ESV – 37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”
Jesus here spoke mainly of the Holy Spirit. But within this promise is also a new life. A life free from the shackles and torments of sin.
In today’s teaching we are going to see a woman who is bound and enslaved by sin brought to Jesus. We are going to see pardon provided. He gives her mercy as opposed to justice.
Let’s look at our text of Scripture tonight and see what the Lord would reveal to us.
1. The importance of Scriptural teaching to Jesus.
John 8:1-2 ESV – but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. (2) Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.
A. After the feast of tabernacles is over, Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives.
The next morning, he is back at the temple, doing what I feel He perhaps so loved to do, and that is teach the people.
B. Jesus throughout Scripture was known as a lot of things.
The miracle worker, the Messiah, the Son of Man, etc… I think perhaps the one thing that He loved to do and what we sometimes forget that He was known for is the Great Teacher or Rabbi.
C. Jesus just loved to sit down with people, didn’t matter who they were, as long as they listened, and share from the Scriptures, or tell stories that had deep spiritual truths concerning Himself or the work of the Holy Spirit.
D. There is one thing I’d like for each of us to consider this evening.
Many times we search out Jesus for whatever our needs are: Healer, Deliverer, Savior, Prince of Peace, etc… And there is really nothing wrong with that actually. But our seeking Him should go much deeper than that. We should also seek Him as the Great Teacher. Our prayer should be each day, “Lord, teach me your word, that I may live it, love it, grow in it, and share it with others.” I’m personally finding that the deeper times I am having with the Lord lately is not some emotional high I might receive in a service, or even in times of prayer, but in just being still and reading His word. There is a depth and richness in this that is not subjective like emotions are. It is pure whole-hearted devotion and love for the Great Teacher and His word.
2. The Jewish leadership brings a sinner to Jesus.
John 8:3-4 ESV – The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst (4) they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.
A. Right in the middle of Jesus teaching that morning the Scribes (NET, Experts of the Law) and the Pharisees bring a woman to Jesus.
This is no ordinary woman. This is a woman that has been caught in the very act of adultery. So this wasn’t some form of gossip, or suggestion, but evidently there were eyewitnesses to the act itself.
B. How many of you have often asked, “Where is the man?”
I know I have. They didn’t bring the man. My personal belief is because they may have known this woman was living in perversion and they may have set the whole affair up, meaning the man was involved, but was also involve in a conspiracy to trap Jesus. That would be a very good reason of why there wasn’t a man brought before Jesus.
C. The next point is going to reveal the true motivation of why the Jewish leadership brought this sinful woman to Jesus.
They were not looking for justice to be done. Though they truly may have been upset over this woman’s sin, I think that they were much more upset at Jesus and they were so blind that they were going to use the law, and this woman and her sin as an attempt to trap Jesus. A very good lesson can be learned here. We should never be motivated by anger or ill feelings in our dealings with others, especially other believers. Love should be our main motivation for correction.
3. The Jewish leadership was trying to entice Jesus to sin.
John 8:5-6 ESV – Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” (6) This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
A. You notice I used a strong phrase in this third point, “entice Jesus to sin.”
The reason I did this is because the word, “test” in v. 6 means exactly that in Greek, “To entice to sin.” In the New English Translation, they translate the word, “test,” to “trap.” Which is a good word to use in this case. This is exactly what they were trying to do, they were trying to lay a trap for Jesus to fall in. The Jewish religious leaders weren’t truly seeking justice concerning this sinful woman.
B. What was the trap they were trying to lay?
If Jesus said to stone her, he’d be advocating breaking civil, Roman Law. They didn’t allow public stoning at this time. So thereby He’d be a civil lawbreaker and a sinner. If Jesus said to not stone her, then He’d be justifying her sin and breaking the Mosaic, religious law – thereby a lawbreaker and sinner as well.
C. It looks like they have Jesus between the proverbial rock and hard place doesn’t it.
The amazing this about Jesus and what I absolutely love throughout the gospels is every time the religious leaders try to trap Jesus in a trap they think there is no way out of, Jesus Himself traps them by revealing the condition of their hearts. And such is the case here. Jesus answer – only perfect, faultless, sinless people should carry out justice toward this sinful woman.
John 8:7-9 ESV – 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.” (8) And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. (9) 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.
A. The Greek word for sin in verse 7 here is rather interesting.
It is a different Greek word that is used concerning the woman later in verse 11. The Greek word used concerning the woman means, “To actively do wrong, to break God’s law, to purposely walk away from the path of righteousness.” The Greek word for sin here means, “To have never sinned, to have never failed, to have lived an absolutely perfect life from birth up till now.” Not just absolute sinless perfection, but absolute perfection, period.
B. None of these Jewish leaders, or anyone else for that matter could ever say that.
In fact, I will go a little further here. The only one in history who could actually say that was Jesus Christ. He could have stoned her on the spot, because He was perfect. He never sinned from birth, all the way to His death, and throughout all eternity. But notice what He is doing. He isn’t picking up stones to punish her, but He is patiently writing in the sand.
C. I believe these words really cut to the heart of those present, and so, they left, beginning with the older, more experienced ones on down.
D. The Life Application New Testament Commentary has an interesting take on this portion of the passage. Let me quote it.
“How are we to apply Jesus’ statement about only sinless persons rendering judgment? Jesus was not saying that only perfect, sinless people can make accurate accusations, pass judgment, or exact a death penalty. Nor was He excusing adultery or any other sin by saying that everyone sins. This event illustrates that wise judgment flows out of honest motives. Jesus resolved an injustice about to be committed by exposing the hypocrisy of the witnesses against the woman. By making the accusers examine themselves, He exposed their real motives.”
5. The private conversation between Jesus and the woman.
John 8:10-11 ESV – Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” (11) She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
A. No one stood to condemn this woman. Why?
Because all of her accusers were on equal ground as her. Meaning they were all sinners.
B. The perfect one, Jesus Christ, does not condemn her.
Jesus did not act as her judge and jury. He provided mercy toward her, even though she deserved justice. The fact of the matter remains, even though this woman was brought to Jesus under false motives, she still was a sinner deserving of judgment. But Jesus didn’t come into this world to condemn sinners, they are already condemned in their sins, but He came to save sinners.
John 3:17 ESV – For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
C. Jesus final instruction to this woman: “go and sin no more” (v. 11).
The Greek word for “sin” here is different than the one used of the Scribes and Pharisees above. This one is an active present participle in Greek. It means to pursue sin, live a lifestyle of sin, continue living in sin, to leave the path of righteousness and pursue the path of unrighteousness. It is not the same as just missing the mark, and messing up. But it is the continued thought out sin that she is now to avoid. While Jesus didn’t condemn her, He didn’t condone her behavior and lifestyle either, but strongly encouraged her to quick her life of sinning.
D. The same is true of people who become Christ-followers today.
The lifestyle of sin we lived before we came to Christ we must avoid, and repent of. We must completely turn to Christ, and trust in His finished work, and live whole-heartedly for Him. It is one thing to miss the mark, to mess up. But it is totally something different to continue in the lifestyle of sin we claim to be delivered from. Christ forgives our lifestyle of sin, but He doesn’t condone us continuing living in sin. As a Christian, we must repent of our lifestyle of sin that bound us up before we were in Christ.
Are there any lessons that we can apply to our lives found in this passage.
• Be careful of your judgment of the lost. Remember, they are born sinners, they are doing what sinners do.
• Self-righteous judgment of the lost never brings them to the truth of Jesus Christ.
• What brings them to the truth is the revelation that they are sinners in need of a Savior – Jesus Christ.
• This is sharing mercy with them, even though they deserve justice and judgment.
• As believers in Christ we have been delivered from the slavery of sin, so do not continue in active, participation of sin. Reject it. Repent of it.
• If you do miss the mark and sin, remember to confess it and God will forgive (1 John 1:9).