Jesus who said “Neither do I condemn you”

Posted by admin on 26 October 2014 in John |

John 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives (1).  Jesus started to teach at dawn (2).

The scripture does not tell us why Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. In Matthew 8:20, Jesus said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” We can know he didn’t have a comfortable place for rest.  Also, v2 shows that He stayed there overnight. We can guess it was for prayer. The prayer might include the prayer to save the woman in this chapter.

The teachers of the law and Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery (3). And they asked Jesus, “In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (5).

V6a says that they were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

The motive and intention of people who brought the woman caught in adultery were wrong and they were misusing the Law to trap the Son of God.

If Jesus would ask them to stone her, it would be contradictory to his teaching of love and forgiveness.  But if Jesus would ask them not to stone her, it would be contradictory to the Law.

What was the response of Jesus? As shown in v6b, Jesus started to write something on the ground with his finger (6b).

Exodus 31:18 says it was the finger of God that inscribed the covenant law in the tablets of stone that was given to Moses. By writing on the ground with his finger, Jesus showed Jesus Himself was the Lawgiver.

The Law was given to teach us “we are sinners.”(Romans 3:20) All humans are condemned when they stand before the Law.

Here, the scripture didn’t mention what words Jesus wrote on the ground. But we can guess that He might write the names of the sin like as below.

19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. (Matthew 15:19)

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. (Galatians 5:19-21a)

What He wrote might make people find themselves guilty.

Then Jesus answers their question. See v7b.

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Jesus didn’t say “Do not throw a stone at her”, which would be contradictory to the Law.

Instead, Jesus asked them to throw a stone at her with a condition.

The condition is “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

They thought the Law condemns only this woman but what Jesus said revealed the Law condemns everyone in the scene.

After answering as above, again Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground (8). This 2nd time writing on the ground is relevant to the new stone tablets written by God (Exodus 34:1) which was placed in the ark with the atonement cover over it (Exodus 40:20). This implies that the shed blood of an innocent substitute should come between the law and those it condemned [1].

What is the response of people? See v9a.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time (9a).

None of them was without sin. Only person without sin is Jesus. Only Jesus can judge her. So they had to leave the judgment to Jesus and walk away from the scene.

‘One at a time’ implies that the Spirit of God reminded each person of his/her sin individually. Each person remembered his/her own sin. Each person dropped the stone he/she was holding. We can know that when we stand before God, we find ourselves sinners and no one can judge others.

Now everyone left the scene and only Jesus was left (9b). Only Jesus is without sin.

What did Jesus ask the woman? See v10b.

"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

By asking these questions,

  • Jesus shamed them [2]. They were guiltier than this woman because they tried to trap the Son of God.
  • Jesus encouraged her [2] who might be trembling in fear and shame.

What is the answer of the woman? See v11a.

 11"No one, sir," she said.

The woman recognizes that no one threw a stone at her and no one was left to do so except Jesus.

What did Jesus declare? See v11b.

"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared.

By saying this, Jesus is saying that even though I am without sin

  • I also do not throw the first stone at you (discharge from temporal punishment [2]).
  • I do forgive your sins (discharge from eternal punishment [2]).

Here, the only person who can judge her forgives her. Instead of judging her, Jesus decided to pass the penalty she deserved to Himself on the cross. This is a powerful moment of grace that transforms a sinner like her to live a new life - the 2nd chance.

Finally, Jesus gave her the direction. "Go now and leave your life of sin." (v11c).

The reason Jesus didn’t condemn her was not because the sin could be treated lightly but because Jesus wanted her to repent and live a new life by His grace.

It is easy for us to hide in the group of sinners and to throw stones of judgment to others. But we have to realize that we are sinners same to those toward whom we throw our stones of judgment. Jesus is without sin. But he forgave our sins. He shed his precious blood on the cross to redeem sinners.

“Neither do I condemn you,

go now and leave your life of sin.”

Thank you, Jesus for forgiving us and giving the 2nd chance of new life by your grace to take our place of punishment. Your love touches us deeply at heart. Let us be obedient children of God. Let your name glorified, your kingdom come, and your will be done.

References

[1] Pink, A. W. (1923–1945). Exposition of the Gospel of John (p. 423). Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot.

[2] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (pp. 1965–1966). Peabody: Hendrickson.

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