December 22, 2021 – Wednesday
John 7:53-8:4 NIV
53 Then they all went home,
1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.
3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group
4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
Thus begins the story of the adulteress woman from 8:2-11. Many doubt that it should be included in John as it is missing in many of the early manuscripts while in others it is placed after Luke 21:38 and in other locations within the book of John. It is not my intention to discuss the pros and cons of its proper location, but if you are inclined to want to review the arguments pro and con I recommend the extensive footnotes here for your consideration.
There are also plenty of commentaries that point out the inadequacy of bringing in a woman caught in adultery without the man as well as it obviously takes two to commit adultery. The commentaries also point out how those who brought the woman before Jesus wanted Him to condemn her to death by stoning which would be contrary to Roman law as well as ruining His reputation for mercy and grace. This was but a sorry attempt to trap Jesus.
Look at the circumstances before the woman was brought before Jesus. He literally came to the temple courts at dawn and sat down to teach with people gathered around Him to listen to His teachings. How long He taught prior to the woman being brought before Him we are not told. We may assume it was for one to three hours as the
teachers of the law and the Pharisees would have to meet somewhere together to bring the woman in if she was caught in adultery the day or night before. It might have even taken longer if they had only caught her in the act the same morning.
So, Jesus is sitting in the temple courts teaching when He and those He is teaching are rudely interrupted by the
teachers of the law and the Pharisees bringing in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group, likely between Jesus and those He was teaching. Only then after creating a spectacle, did they say, Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. I cannot imagine they said Teacher respectively. Instead, I imagine it was said with a sneer or outright loathing. They hated Jesus and wanted Him dead (see chapter seven).
But I wondered about what they had done. Was it legitimate to bring an adulteress woman into the courts of the temple to be tried then and there? It seems terribly profane to me. Little, very little has been written on this. The Expositor’s Greek Testament tells us, The scribes and the Pharisees bring to Him a woman taken in adultery. In itself an unlawful thing to do, for they had a court in which the woman might have been tried (emphasis added). The Bridgeway Bible Commentary further states, It was not Jesus’ duty to condemn the woman, for he was neither a witness nor a judge. Finally, Barclay’s Study Bible writes, When a difficult legal question arose, the natural and routine thing was to take it to a Rabbi for a decision. So the scribes and Pharisees approached Jesus as a Rabbi with a woman taken in adultery, of course there were rabbis among them who avoided ruling on the crime.
Bottom Line: They were wrong to bring the woman before Jesus and likely sinned by bringing her before Him in the courts of the temple. Still, take the time to read further and find Jesus found a way to handle the test put before Him while showing mercy and still condemning the sin. He concluded by telling the woman, Go now and leave your life of sin.
Prayer: Almighty God, Your Son even when entangled in a terrible circumstance shows us how to show mercy and grace to the fallen among us. Help us to do the same. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton in Beavercreek