JOHN:The Book Of Heartfelt Belief
Savior and Sinner
Jerry A. Collins
The hardest thing for any person is to get lost. Most world religions exist for this reason. It was hard for everyone of us until we were saved. it is the hardest thing for our religious friends. Until a person knows he is lost, he cannot be found. Our natural tendency is to believe that we do not need to be found. We rationalize, excuse and ignore our lostness. We compare ourselves to others lostness rather than to Gods standard so that we do not have to deal with our own. The story of the woman at the will illustrates our blindness to our own lostness that keeps us from dealing with it in such a way from being found!
It seems that whenever Jesus was in the area of Jerusalem, He either stayed in Bethany, near the Mt. of olives or stayed on the Mount itself vs 1. He always seemed to be up early, and one morning He crossed the valley to the Temple. People came to Him and He taught them vs 2. This is the setting for the events to follow.
1. USING THE SIN OF OTHERS TO PROMOTE OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS IS SIN 3-6a
The scribes and the Pharisees bring Jesus a woman caught in adultery. It is a horrible scene for this woman who is being used here to find grounds to accuse Jesus vs 6a. Not really interested in her, her sin, her guilt, or her judgment, they simply use her as an excuse to get something on Jesus. This whole thing is a sham, a set-up no less so than our Lordís trial before these same men a few months later! Some of the most terrible sins are committed by religious people in the name of practicing and promoting their righteousness. Witness the crusades in history or modern day religious wars in Ireland or parts of Eastern Europe.
After placing her in front of Jesus they accuse her. She was caught in the very act they say. They want to put her on display and shame her in public. The Law of Moses, they reminded Him, as if He needed reminding as itís author, dictated she be stoned to death (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22f). They wanted to know what Jesus thought. John informs us of their real intent. They are not interested in righteousness at all or justice or holiness but in making themselves look good and Jesus look bad! So the whole thing is concocted to manipulate matters in a way that puts the squeeze on Jesus. They set Jesus against Moses.
We do this same thing every time we excuse our sin because we compare that to someone elseís bigger sin! We do this same thing when we develop religious practices that we think make us look good and others bad because we keep them and they do not!
2. WE ARE DISQUALIFIED TO JUDGE IF WE ARE SINNING 6b-8
Jesus ignores His adversaries initially, by responding to them in silence. What is apparently going on is that Jesus intended by doing nothing to show they were unworthy of being heard and answered just as if a person, while another was speaking, were to be looking out of the window, or turn his back indicating he was not giving attention to you and what you were saying. It is similar to receiving the silent treatment and He was rather occupying himself by drawing in the dirt vs 6b. This silence did nothing to shame or embarrass these accusers since they probably view this silence as Jesus either cannot or will not answer them. So they press for an answer from him vs.8. Of course, Jesus is using this to set them up.
Jesus response did not ignore the law of Moses. Actually He commanded her execution according to that law. But he also pointed out that they were disqualified to carry out the judgment upon her. In order to do that they would have to be without sin themselves. Their problem is that they fail to see themselves as sinners as well and Jesus exposes much more sin than anyone expects and He condemns all of it not just part of it as His accusers were doing. Jesus taught in Matthew 7:1-12 that we can judge
others only after we have first judged ourselves. We are not taught to not make judgment but how we are to do that and since it is risky but necessary business, do not do it like the Pharisees who are hypocrites not first judging themselves or living by the standard they deal out to others. Especially here since the whole thing has an ulterior motive!
So we must remove sin from our lives not by being perfect but by confessing our sin, facing it openly and in process of moving in righteous direction.
3. LIKE CHRIST, WE MUST NOT CONDEMN THOSE WHO ALREADY SEE THEMSELVES AS SINNERS 9-11
After returning to His previous posture, he once again draws in the dirt. One by one, beginning with the oldest, either out of conviction of their own guilt, or due to their failure to prove Jesus is a law-breaker, His adversaries shrink away silently. Why the comment about the oldest leaving first? Possibly these older ones more aware of their sins than the younger. Age and experience can tend to temper youthful self-righteousness. But whatever your age, look to your own life, that speck of dust in your own eye before trying to pry the log out of anothers eye. It is probably true that the more aware you are of your own sin, the more spiritually mature you are and the more profitable you are to God and His Kingdom.
The biggest problem for sinners is to realize they are sinners! After that, condemnation is of no value, only an exhortation to sin no more. That is exactly what Jesus does for this woman after everyone leaves vs 10-11. Jesus did not condemn her because condemnation judgment is the purpose of His second coming (Matt 25; Rev 19) not His first coming (John 3:17; 8:15-16). It is interesting that Jesus did not say he forgave since she did not ask for this but only that He did not condemn her. Even though she is a free woman now, she is not an innocent one. He does not condemn her neither does he tell her that her sins are forgiven. He does tell her to go and from then on give up her sin. While he puts down the self-righteous accusers, He lifted up this humbled woman. Jesus is acting like the Messiah He is, like the Messiah he claims to be.