Read John 8
The religious leaders wanted to get rid of Jesus. He was messing up their well-ordered world, but the leaders needed at least a pretext or pretense of legitimacy. If you were going to kill a prominent person, you needed to at least have something to go on, even if you had to go to great lengths.
So, the Scribes and the Pharisee brought a woman caught in adultery before Jesus who had begun teaching at the temple courts once again. They wanted to see if Jesus would direct or consent to killing her because that’s what Moses said to do. If Jesus refused, then they could claim he was a goody two shoes who disobeyed the law.
This was not a woman accused of committing adultery. She was caught in the act. The folks that dragged the woman before Jesus probably thought this was surely an open and shut case, except that the very law that required her death also required the death of the man who was her partner.
It takes two to tango and the law required both to be put to death.
Jesus could have legitimately called these religious lawyers on their miscarriage of justice. He could have said, bring the second party to the crime to stand with this woman. He did not.
He was totally nonconfrontational. In fact, he wasn’t even making eye contact. He was looking down writing something in the sand. Speculate to your heart’s content as to what it was.
When he stood, he announced: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
While the religious leaders and the law-abiding Jews were self-righteous; they were not without self-awareness. They were not ignorant. All had sinned.
Jesus had given the crowd permission to follow the law given by Moses. His only stipulation was that whoever was going to kick off this rock-throwing extravaganza, needed to obey all of the law as well.
You know the rest. Slowly, from oldest to youngest, stones started dropping and people left. Everyone who arrived with a rock in hand was gone. This had not gone as they expected.
Jesus asked the woman: Is there no one left to condemn you?
She answered in the negative, probably shocked that she was still alive.
Jesus told her to take hold of the life that she had just be given and leave her life of sin behind. That was truly an impossible charge, at least until Jesus himself fulfilled all the law and the prophecy required and die for our sins on the cross.
But his charge, his command to her was to go and sin no more. Change your life. You have just been given your life back. Now live it for the glory of God.
This is our story. We may have not been doing the deed with our neighbor’s spouse, but we all have fallen short of the glory of God and through Christ, we have been given our life back. He wants us to live for the glory of God.
Consider two things as we continue in chapter 8. First, know that the Jewish leaders will stop at nothing to kill Jesus. Second, know that Jesus stopped at nothing to save us from sin and death. We are this woman. Jesus gave us life anew.
How will we live?