Sept 14, 2010
Cimino on the PA
Excerpt for Review: Richard Cimino, The Woman Caught in Adultery - John 7:53-8:11, (WEB:MyAuburn, 5/10/10)
The Woman Caught in Adultery by Richard Cimino
- John 7:53-8:11 by Richard Cimino
"This morning we pick up in our study of the Gospel of John in Chapter 8. We are going to look at the Verses 1-11 in which we have the record of a Woman caught in the act of adultery and brought before Jesus. This account actually begins back in Chapter 7, verse 53.
Some of you might see in your Bibles a footnote at Chapter 7, verse 53, that says that the oldest manuscripts do not include John 7:53-8:11. I think that it is worth taking time to explain that a little bit before we get to the text itself. We need to begin with the fact that the True and Living God has REVEALED Himself to fallen man — SPOKEN to fallen man. (For a detailed study on the subject of Divine Revelation and the Inspiration of Scripture please see the resource from the CREDO Series — REVELATION: God Speaks). Apart from this divine REVELATION fallen man would be left to SPECULATION as to the nature of God and the way to God. God does not leave us to human speculation. God desires to reveal himself to us — and He has done that through scripture. Here’s how we got the Bible. God would inspire individuals to write portions of the Bible. God did not inspire them to record ideas — but He inspired the very words of the Scripture. We believe this because Jesus Himself referenced the smallest markings of the Scriptures (the crossing of a t – the dotting of an i) were inspired. That’s the concept we get from 2 Timothy 3:16 where it says that all scripture is God breathed — inspired by God. It says in 2 Peter 1:20-21 that no one who wrote scripture wrote it from their own vantage point or their own self interest — but rather they were carried along by the Spirit of God. So God reveals himself — inspires someone to write a portion of the Scriptures.
Once that Word of God was written down there was a desire among a great number of people to read what God has communicated. That brought the necessity of transmission — meaning that someone had to sit and hand copy what God had inspired the author to write. This would happen over and over and over. Lots of manuscripts — or lots of copies — get distributed to lots of people so that they can read it. Over time — people in other languages wanted to read the Word of God as well — but they didn’t have access to it because it was originally written in a language that is foreign to them. So what happens at that point is translation occurs. People sat down and translated the Scriptures from one language to another. The Bible we hold in our hands this morning is a translation. Originally the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek, and some smaller sections in Aramaic. Men and women DIED so that we could read the Bible in English. Once we have a copy of the Scriptures in our hands we can sit down with that translation and we interpret it and make application. We open it up to figure out what it means. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would lead us into truth — and as we are instructed by the Holy Spirit — we then apply it to our lives.
All of this begins with God’s thoughts being revealed — God’s thoughts being revealed — God inspiring people to write them down. Then people make copies. Then other translations are made from those copies. Finally you and I read them and with the help of the Holy Spirit we interpret what they say — and then apply them to our life. Some have suggested that maybe we shouldn’t trust the manuscripts or the copies that we have. But that is patently false because throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament and the teaching of Jesus, we see men and women being taught from manuscripts. A great example of this is Ezra in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah 8:4-8 4And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose….. 5And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood…. 7the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. 8They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. Another is Josiah. 2 Kings 22:8-11 And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it….10Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king. 11When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. Most importantly — Jesus treated those manuscripts as authoritative — and so should we.
Luke 4:16-17 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, The section that he read was a copy, handed down over the course of hundreds of years.
All that to say that the section that we’re going to study tonight in John’s gospel does not appear in the earlier manuscripts. It shows up 300+ years later in church history. So people are wondering — should that be there? Why do the early copies not have the story and the later copies do? How do we explain that?
FIRST — For someone to say that these passages are not in the original manuscripts is intellectually dishonest — because nobody’s ever seen the originals —nor have they seen the copies that predate the earliest extant copies. The academic discipline of textual criticism is not free from theological presuppositions and predispositions. SECOND — A man named Jerome (late 4th century – early 5th century) took the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament and translated them into Latin. His translation is called the Vulgate. Jerome included this section of John’s gospel. Jerome made that inclusion because he believed that it was an accurate, truthful portrayal of an actual event.
THIRD — One of the early church fathers named Augustine — Augustine says in the third century the reason that this part was taken out of John is because so many men were afraid that their wives would think they could commit adultery and Jesus would just forgive them and no big deal. So what may have happened in the early church was they took this section out of John’s gospel because people were abusing and misusing it — and at a later date the Church realized that they didn’t have any right to be messing with scripture in that way — and so it was re-introduced in the manuscripts as we have it in it’s present form.
All that said — It still is in complete agreement with all the rest of scripture. And in addition to that there’s no debated doctrine. QUOTE: F.B. Meyer — It reveals in our Saviour’s character a wisdom so profound, a tenderness to sinners so delicate, a hatred of sin so intense, an insight into human hearts so searching, that it is impossible to suppose the mind of man could have conceived, or the hand of man invented, this most pathetic story. All that is said so that you know what that little footnote in your Bible means. So here we go.
53 [They went each to his own house, 1: but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. Now that was the practice in the day of Jesus — the teacher SAT and the students STOOD! 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. FIRST — Just try to imagine THAT kind of an interruption! This was not the first time for Jesus. Once (Mark 2; Luke 5), when He was teaching in a house in Capernaum the roof starts to tear apart and dust and stuff starts falling down — and right in front of him a man is lowered down on a stretcher from the ceiling! But this would have been pretty crazy. The Pharisees have caught this woman in the very act of adultery. They didn’t say — Well we caught you. How about we go up to the temple and let everybody know? And she didn’t say — That would be a great idea. Let’s go on up there and just tell everybody I was commiting adultery this morning. No. They drag her up there to the temple court where Jesus is by the treasury (v.20) teaching. Everybody’s listening. And here comes this big ruckus! They’re dragging this woman — kicking and screaming — scratching — a wreck from the struggle. The crowd must have parted as they brought her in. And it says they bring her right into the midst of the Bible study. Imagine that happening here this morning.
5Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6This 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. 7And 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.” 8And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9But 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. 10Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]
THEOLOGICAL, HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT
We NEED SOME very important THEOLOGICAL, HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT — Without which we will never get the intensity of this moment. The huge impact of this event can easily be lost on us because adultery is so commonplace in our culture. In fact, in our culture adultery is practically viewed as a virtue; it is a form of self-expression and freedom and liberation. Just this week the series TV series “HOUSE” involved the practice of “open marriage.” In our culture — Adultery is NO BIG DEAL! It was a HUGE THING to these people.
HISTORICALLY — Israel had a very clear understanding of the severity with which God viewed adultery. In Biblical understanding it is a grievous sin, the wage for which can only be death.
THEOLOGICALLY — Adultery is such an significant issue that God includes it as one of the Ten Commandments (7th) Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.
Also in the 10th commandment Exodus 20:17 “…..you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. In the Old Testament adultery was a capital offense. Adultery is as grievous to God as premeditated murder! Adultery robs God of His glory! It’s an offense to God because in marriage a man and a woman come into covenant relationship before God and with one to another. Adultery is the most severe breach of that covenant possible. It’s an offense to God because of the devastating impact of adultery on society. The wages of ANY sin is death. And though all sin is equal — not all sin is equally devastating in its effects. Adultery destroys families — it destroys your spouse — it destroys your children. And in destroying families it also rips away at the fabric and the foundation of the people of God and of the society that is built on those families. It’s an offense to God because it destroys the person committing the sin. In the first place all adulterers are liars because they have to lie to themselves to commit the sin. The person committing the sin KNOWS they shouldn’t be doing it — so they lie to themselves about why they can and should. Having lied to themselves they then have to live a lie. It destroys your character — it destroys the image of God in which you were made!
It’s an offense to God because it robs Him of His glory in the Church. The pastor, the deacon, the usher, the known Christian commits adultery and people say — Why shouldn’t I? I trusted them. They were my mentors, my mom, it was my dad. I looked up to them and they said Jesus this, and Jesus, Jesus that — and then they did this! Why shouldn’t I do it? It’s just damaging.
Adultery is damaging to the Church when the pastor commits that sin. I assume that no one here wants me to commit adultery on my Valerie. I’ve seen churches where the pastor or church leaders fall into sin and then so many people become mistrusting. They feel like kids that have gone through divorce — I’ll never trust again. Why should I ever trust anybody? The Church is full of phonies. That’s what you get. It’s damaging to the church. Adultery is damaging to the church when you commit that sin — because often adultery involves another member in the church. Adultery is damaging to the church because you need to be strong spiritually for the other members of the Body. I need you to be strong spiritually. I need you to pray for me. I could go that way except for God’s grace. I need you to be alive in Christ. My wife and I – we need you praying for us, and the other pastors do also. This church needs you to be on fire for Jesus Christ for us to healthy. It’s damaging to the cause of Christ, it’s damaging to the church (universal and local) and it’s damaging to your witness, because how are you going to share the power and love of Christ with someone else when you’re living that way? We cannot overstate how grievous the sin of adultery is.
WHAT IS ADULTERY — Fornication is any sexual involvement outside of the covenant of marriage. Adultery is sexual involvement outside of the bonds of covenant marriage. You can be single and commit adultery by being sexually involved with a married person. PUNISHMENT FOR ADULTERY IN OLD TESTAMENT — It is such a grievous sin that it was a capital offense in the Old Testament. If a woman committed adultery she was to be stoned to death. Her accuser would throw the first stone and then everyone else would throw rocks at the woman until she was bloodied and beaten and left for dead. The Mishnah (the oldest authoritative postbiblical collection and codification of Jewish oral laws, systematically compiled by numerous scholars (called tannaim) over a period of about two centuries. The codification was given final form early in the 3rd century ad by Judah ha-Nasi. The Mishna supplements the written, or scriptural, laws found in the Pentateuch. It presents various interpretations of selective legal traditions that had been preserved orally since at least the time of Ezra (c. 450 bc) SOURCE: Britanica On Line Encyclopedia) prescribed a particular way of putting to death men who were guilty of committing adultery. They would take a man into a public place and they would bury him at least up to his knees in dung. And then they would take a large towel and they would put it around his neck. And there would be one man on each side and they would choke him to death — and then let go of him and let him fall in the dung and leave him there for dead. You could actually commit adultery during your betrothal. The betrothal was the one year period before the wedding — during that time you were legally married though you have not consummated your relationship and become one flesh. If you committed adultery during the betrothal, it was a capital offense that would cost you your life. That’s why we read in the beginning of Matthew’s gospel — that when Mary was found to be with child during the period of her betrothal — Joseph seeks to divorce her (put her away) because he wanted to spare her life. One source said that if a single girl went out and had sexual relations with a married man, or if a betrothed woman committed adultery, they would take her to her father’s home — place her on the porch of her father’s house — and they would stone her to death in front of her father and her brothers. Why? Because as the head of the home it was his obligation before God to govern and oversee and protect her, to make sure that she was not out committing adultery, destroying families, and ruining lives. Again — things couldn’t be more different in our culture. Parents teach with their lives and their words that sexual sin is at least acceptable, and is actually advisable. The media, the culture we live in, with a single blasting voice declare that every imaginable form of sexual sin is fine — that Sexual sin is NO BIG DEAL!
THE POINT is that it was adultery was no little deal in Israel.
By the way — It is still a serious issue. In the New Testament the death penalty is still in play! Not by stoning or strangling in a pile of dung — but eternal death! Eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire that burns forever! There are lots of places in the New Testament where we are told that those who habitually live in sexual sin will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 5:5, Hebrews 13:4, Revelation 2:22; 21:8). There is no place in the Scriptures where you are given the understanding that you can claim to be a Christian and go out and do whatever you want sexually.
SO — the historical and cultural CONTEXT of this event is that if you committed adultery you would be put to death if caught. The crowd in John 8 understood that in the eyes of God adultery is as grievous as premeditated murder! WHAT WAS THE PLOT IN ALL OF THIS? WHY are these men bringing this woman before Jesus? REMEMBER the events of Chapter 7. Jesus had disrupted the last day, the great day of the Feats of Booths. John 7:37-38; 40-41 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. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”….. 40When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41Others said, “This is the Christ.” The Scribes and Pharisees had sent the temple police to take him and to incarcerate him.
John 7:45-49 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”
So the religious leaders are going out of their minds! They go home and come back the next day with a fresh plan to trap Jesus — one they thought — and surely appeared to be inescapable! They catch this woman in the very act of adultery. They bring her to Jesus and what they ask Jesus what to do with her. They believe they have got him locked on the horns of three-fold dilemma. 1.) The people revered Moses. He was their great prophet and law-giver. The people revered the law of God — and so had Jesus. Jesus said, “I’m not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill the law.” If Jesus says, “Don’t stone her,” (by the way, they had rocks in hand) they would’ve said, “This guy is not of God, for He defies Moses’ law, and we all know that God gave Moses the law.” 2.) If Jesus says — You’re right, that’s what the law says, stone her! — Jesus will destroy His reputation as the prophet from Galilee who is the friend of tax collectors and sinners. The Gospels tell us that the common people heard him gladly. He ate with prostitutes and sinners — they were comfortable in His presence. He had told the people that His Father had sent Him into the world — not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 3.) More than that — Rome had taken from Israel the right to exercise the death sentence. In John 18 these same men are going to bring Jesus to Pilate. John 18:31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.”
These men know that. They don’t care about any of that. By the end of the chapter (v.59) these same Pharisees and Scribes want to stone the Messiah.
It would appear that they have Jesus coming and going!
THE RESPONSE OF JESUS. I love what Jesus does. The first thing Jesus does is IGNORE THEM! Which, by the way, is always a great place to begin with legalists. He ignores them and begins to write in the dirt! As far as I can recall it’s the only thing we’re told that Jesus ever wrote — and we’re not told what He wrote! There’s been tons of speculation on what He wrote. There is a Biblical reference that can help us here. Deuteronomy 9:10 And the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, I believe we have the same thing going on here. John 8:6 …..Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. I believe that Jesus is doing as God the Father did — He is writing the law in the ground. Perhaps Jesus wrote the first line of the Tenth Commandment, Exodus 20:17 “…..you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. After all — If you have a bunch of heterosexual guys looking through a window, watching a naked woman have sex, there are going to be lust issues. Perhaps Jesus wrote with His finger the Seventh Commandment, Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery. 7And 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.” He stands up and tells them — okay, fine, we will impose Old Testament law and we will put her to death. According to the Old Testament someone needed to step forward to cast the first stone. The Old Testament mandated that that the accuser had to be the first one to impose the penalty (Deuteronomy 17:7). So if you wanted someone put to death you brought the accusation and you had to throw the first stone. But you had to be very careful because if your accusation was proven false they impose upon you the same penalty you had sought against them (Deuteronomy 19:19). So you didn’t mess around with this. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jesus is not saying that you must be perfect to bring judgment upon people for their sin. In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul tells us that we should judge those who are in the household of God. Jesus had just said in the last chapter Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment (John 7:24). In order to judge rightly Jesus said that we should be taking care of the things that render us incapable of rightly dealing with sin in anyone else’s life.
Matthew 7:3-5 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
So Jesus is not saying you must be perfect to point out sin in the life of another person. Otherwise no one would be able to point out sin in anyone’s life because no one is perfect. He is saying that these men were the quintessential hypocrites. They are judging this woman for a sin they had at least committed in their heart, or had been guilty of the very act. Jesus may have known that these men were unfaithful to their own wives and were self-righteous hypocrites. It is very possible that since this woman was living a life of sexual sin (v.11) that she may have been a women that most of these men have been with themselves. In a way, Jesus is saying, — well if you want to put her to death, how many of you have slept with her? How many of you have been unfaithful to your wives? And how many of you were looking through the window seeing her in the very act of adultery didn’t at least commit adultery with her in your own heart?
A GLARING ABSENCE. Have you noticed something missing in all of this? Where is the guy involved in this act of adultery? Hey Jesus, we caught this woman committing adultery all by herself — and we would like you to punish her. By definition adultery requires someone else to be there. The question is where is the guy? We have no guy — which leads us to believe that this was a set up from the get-go. In all likelihood they knew that this was a promiscuous woman. So they found a guy who would be willing to cheat on his wife with the understanding that they would not drag him before Jesus.
8And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9But 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.
THE ONLY MAN LEFT WITH THE WOMAN. Now there is only one man that is remaining with this convicted woman — Jesus. HUGE QUESTION: Could Jesus have put her to death? Does Jesus have a right to put her to death? He does. Jesus hasn’t committed sexual sin. Jesus is in fact without sin. If anyone could ever invoke capital punishment it would be Jesus. He is the sinless Son of God, God incarnate. It is His glory that has been robbed by her sin. It is His law that she has broken. But Jesus doesn’t carry out the death penalty. We will get to that in a moment. THE ONLY MAN WHO DIDN’T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HER, DON’T MISS THIS — Jesus is the only man in the story that does not take advantage of, or abuse this woman. Men had used her for sex. The religious leaders used her as a piece of evidence in their attempt to take down Jesus. EVERY OTHER MAN involved is seeking to rob this woman of her dignity and use her for selfish gain. Jesus is the only exception. DON’T MISS THIS — Jesus is a young man — in His early 30’s — standing there with a half-naked woman who is morally loose, willing to do anything to get out of her predicament. Any other man would use that leverage for his own selfish ends. But Jesus is not just any other man. He is the PERFECT man! He doesn’t think — how can I use this woman to my own advantage?
SHE WAS NOT A VICTIM. Having said all of that — we can’t make this woman out to be a complete victim. You can’t. She was set up, but she went willingly. Jesus os going to tell her to stop living the way she had been living. Adultery was pattern of conduct for this woman. She was a woman who loved to destroy marriages. This was a woman who loved to degrade wives and to rob children of their father. This is a woman who had devastated a multitude of homes. And now she’s simply been caught in doing it. Again — The reason she is in this scene is because they knew that they could catch her in adultery. She’s a sexually promiscuous, adulterous woman. We can’t look at her and say — oh poor lady, she’s a victim, Jesus is just giving a victim a break — and THAT is the big lesson here! 10Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED. DON’T MISS THIS — Jesus looks upon her with compassion. Jesus forgives her for her sin. But it is here that MANY misunderstand what Jesus really did and why Jesus could do it. Jesus does not merely let her off the hook. In this moment we find the answer to the great theological dilemma of many a man and woman — How does God harmonize His justice with His mercy? If God is a God of righteousness and a God of justice and a God of judgment by His holy nature, she must die. If God is a God of love and of grace and of kindness and of mercy and forgiveness, she must live.
How could Jesus let her go on her way and not invoke the Old Testament penalty of death? How could Jesus let her go without violating Old Testament law? The answer is this — The penalty of death will be exacted! Paul tells us that the wage of sin is death. Death is the consequence of sin. There is spiritual death — Cessation of life with God; there is physical death —Cessation of biological life. Jesus can forgive this woman because Jesus is going to DIE in her place for her sin. Hebrews 2:9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. From this moment forward Jesus will continue to live a sinless life to the glory and honor of the Father, and then He will be nailed to a cross. The apostle Paul tells us what happened on that cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. There was a great exchange that transpired on the cross. You have heard it said — Jesus died for your sin. That is not cliché. That means that every time you have told a lie, every time you have had sex outside of marriage, every time you have lusted in your heart, every time you have been greedy or covetous or gluttonous, every time you have done anything that is an offense and a transgression against God — Jesus paid the penalty in your place.
DON’T MISS THIS — As Jesus hangs on the cross suffering, beaten, broken, bleeding and dying, it’s because that woman went to bed with that man. That’s why Jesus was there on the cross. And Jesus will pay in His own body and with His own blood for her sin. And so the Old Testament will be upheld. Her sin will be punished with death — But not her own death. Jesus is punished in her place — Like the innocent lamb being sacrificed in the Old Testament. THAT is why Jesus can forgive her. THAT is why Jesus can give her the opportunity to leave her life of sin and live in the newness of a redeemed life.
10Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman…… I love how Jesus refers to her. He does not call her a whore. He does not call her a slut. He does not call her a prostitute. He does not call her a home wrecker. He calls her Woman. It is a term of respect. THAT is the very same term that he used in John 2 to refer to his own mother. He would use it again speaking from the cross in John 19. Don’t you love that? He speaks to her with dignity. He speaks to her with honor and grace and love because He saw her as no man could. He knew her as no man ever knew her. She didn’t come out of the womb with long eye lashes and black eye makeup and lipstick and all of the perfumes. She was a little girl. She was somebody’s little girl. In our cultural terms — there was a time in her life when she got her first dress and her first pair of patent leather shoes. There was a time when she loved grilled cheese sandwiches and PB and Js. There was a time when her mom let her wear lipstick for the first time in her life. And there was a time through one experience or another when her heart began to harden (We all have our own story). And she was used by someone who walked away and it made it easier the second time — but it made her a little harder so she wouldn’t feel the pain. And she became accustomed to giving herself away and discovered how to put all the walls up. She was a woman that so badly needed a Savior! And Jesus knew that. And I can’t even begin to imagine the tone of His voice when He said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” This may have been the first time in a great number of years that any man has spoken to her in a tone of love with dignity and with affection, not seeking to manipulate her I order to use her body. Tremendous dignity. But Jesus does not wink at her sin. He addresses it.
11 …. And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” Look carefully at this. He didn’t say — go and sin no more and I won’t condemn you. That is legalism — not grace. Jesus said — Neither do I condemn you; go and be continuing in sin as a lifestyle no longer. Those are the tenses. I don’t condemn —so now leave your life of sin and go live like a woman, like a dignified, forgiven, cleansed woman. Go live that life. Every man and woman who has ever known what it is to look with the eye of faith into the eyes of Jesus and hear with your heart the tone of His voice saying — I’m not going to bring judgment on you, I’m not going to condemn you, don’t live this way anymore — they have walked away empowered and changed. You’re no longer spending your time on trying to sin and not get caught. Your spending your time trying to live for Jesus!
Did she cry? Did she fall at his feet? I love the Depiction of her in The Passion of the Christ. I love what one author said — The tears would come, but they would come later, years afterwards as she watched her husband go out the door to work, as she looked in the face of her children, as over and over again she heard his voice, neither do I condemn you. Don’t live this way anymore.
CLOSING. As we take time to respond to the Word — I think of how Jesus changes the lives of ALL who would come to Him. I think of the great forgiveness He extends to us. I think of the great forgiveness Jesus has extended to me. I would have never met Valerie, our lives would have never crossed paths, if Jesus hadn’t saved us. I would have never looked in the face of any of my kids if Jesus hadn’t said to me — Neither do I condemn thee. I would have never known any of the guys on staff here. ALL of that is given as a gift because of Jesus Christ.
As we take time to respond to the Word — If you have been judgmental and casting stones, get things in perspective. As we take time to respond to the Word — If you’ve been living in sexual sin, [fornication], look, those are serious issues. The Lord doesn’t remove the seriousness of them, but He upholds before us the emblems of the vicarious power of His redemption.
For those who don’t know Jesus — The Bible holds in front of us the fact that through Jesus Christ you can be forgiven. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done today. Adultery was a capital crime. Jesus said — I don’t condemn you, but don’t live this way anymore. You can come to him today. If you don’t know Jesus — you have to understand that religious organizations are never going to do anything for you. It is Jesus who forgives — and he forgives so powerfully and so thoroughly that religious organizations — self-righteous people — stumble at it. No strings attached. If your heart is genuine He forgives.