Todays passage is not a story of wickedness that was left unpunished, or crafty Pharisees and the darkness of their hearts, but
Neither Do I Condemn You
The greatness of Jesus Christ.
“No one, sir,” she said. “then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Today in this passage we learn that God pleads for us to meet Christ through repentance. We always hear many messages of how great Christ is, how loving and how wonderful he is, but all of this means absolutely nothing, if we do not see ourselves as sinners. We are all sinners. Although we are all deserving of condemnation God gives us grace for a fresh start.Grace does not ignore sin, but grants us the opportunity to give life another shot.
Part I. If anyone of you is without sin
Let’s read verses 1-6 responsively:
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
Jesus was teaching in the temple courts when a group of Pharisees came bringing a woman to condemn her to a brutal punishment and, at the same time, to condemn Jesus and his ministry. They asked him, “what should we do with her, Jesus? She committed a sin. Do we stone her as the law says or do you think we should let her go?” The Pharisees were really crafty. The Law of Moses demanded death by stoning for those who committed adultery (Lev 20:10; Dt 22:20-21). So because of this, it seemed that the only choice Jesus had was to say that she must be stoned. However, if he did so, the Pharisees would have him arrested for rebellion as a religious revolutionary, because the Roman government forbade colonial people from executing the death sentence. But the worst part is, Jesus would be contradicting the very essence of his Messianic mission which was to save people from their sin. Furthermore, he would be labeled as a man with no compassion. Then he would lose all credibility as a Bible teacher let alone Savior of the world. So what could he do?
Well, what did Jesus do? Take a look at vs. 6b, “But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.”
The first question we ask ourselves, is why was he writing? And secondly what was Jesus writing? When Jesus viewed this situation, he made an immediate decision that the first and foremost thing is to save the woman at any cost. How did he do this? Look at verse 6b again. “But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.” To answer your question of what he was writing, we don’t know. And the important thing is not what he wrote down but why he began to write. We can find the best explanation for Jesus’ action by reading verse 6b in the King James Version. It says, “But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.” In an environment of serious accusations, Jesus showed an attitude, which was not bothered by their harsh accusations. Instead of reacting to them, Jesus did something that made them stop and think. Jesus’ curious action then opened their hearts to his words. Jesus changed the atmosphere from emotional to rational. Here we can see that Jesus has full control over every situation especially this woman’s life.
Then what did Jesus say? Look at verses 7-8. “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.” Jesus is so smart. By his statement, Jesus admitted that the law was right, and the absolute truth of God. Yet He makes it absolutely clear that God alone has the right to judge. He knew exactly what their problem was. He could see that they had dehumanized this woman and they did not look at themselves as sinners, because in comparison to this woman, yes they were not “bad sinners.” He points out that before accusing others and condemning them of their sins, they should first look at their own sins. Jesus redirected their thoughts and helped them to have the right perspective about this situation. First, he help them to see that God is God and he is the one who has all authority and power to judge and, secondly, he helped them to stand before God and not this woman and see themselves as sinners. How easy is it for us to criticize others and point out their sins, and not look at our own. When we compare ourselves before others we look better and we don’t see ourselves as sinners. We say, ‘my sins are not as bad as his’. That was the fault of these Pharisees. As soon as they saw themselves superior to this woman, they then saw themselves as ones who were worthy and justified to place judgment on her. But as soon as they stood before God what happened? Look at verse 9, They each began to drop their stones and leave one by one. When they stood before God and compared themselves to God, they realized that they were not without sin, so all they could do was drop their stones and leave. We too, must stand before God and see ourselves before him and see that we are sinners unworthy to judge others but in need of God’s grace.
Part II. Neither do I condemn you
Who was left with this woman on trial? Look at verse 9 again,
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. All people had left and only Jesus stood there. Everyone else was guilty of sin therefore had no right to throw a stone at this woman. Yet there was one who was not a sinner; there was one who had the right to throw the first stone at this woman. He was Jesus. In the end, this woman had to stand before Jesus alone. Likewise, each of us must stand before Jesus as the sinners that we are. There is no pretense; there is no excuse.
What did Jesus say then?
10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.” Although Jesus had every right to, Jesus did not condemn her. Jesus knew all about her sins. Still, Jesus, the Son of God, declared, “Neither do I condemn you.” why? Jesus came to save sinners. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God wants to save us, not condemn us. Why would he send his son into the world to condemn us? Why would he allow his own loving Son to come into this wretched world, bear abuse and shame, and die a horrid death? Just so he can condemn sinners? No! He came to save sinners! He WANTS to give us a new life and a new beginning. However, it was costly. Jesus had to suffer and die on the cross to bear the condemnation that we deserved. This is GRACE. The fact that we were sinners and yet he bore the shame and condemnation, so we could live, reveals God’s grace. Although this woman committed the sin, he did not condemn her to death rather bore the burden on himself and saved her from the hands of death. This woman would not leave that day the same. She would not continue her life of sin. Why? Because she experienced personally God’s grace. She saw herself as a sinner, before Christ, and experienced his grace, and could not live the same way as she did before. This is what it means to truly experience and accept Christ into your life. There must be a change.
There was a 21-year-old man name Dan Leach, who had a 19-year-old girlfriend named Ashely Wilson. In news reports in Fort Bend County, Texas, it was declared that Ashley Wilson had taken her own life. Not only that, she had taken the life of her unborn child in her womb. The case was closed and it was declared a solved mystery that she probably committed suicide when she found out she was pregnant. But one day Dan Leach the boyfriend of Ashely watched the movie by Mel Gibson, called Passion of the Christ. His heart melted, in tears he crumbled at the sight of Jesus dieing on the cross for all sinners. His heart was so moved at the sight of God’s grace. Then on March 7th, Dan went to church and announced that he had to confess his sins of a crime he had committed. He drove himself to the sheriff’s office and confessed his sin of murdering his 19-year-old pregnant girlfriend and staging it to look like a suicide. On August 11, 2004, Dan Leach’s trial began. Dan himself changed his plea from not-guilty, to “guilty,” stating, “I assume full responsibility for my actions.”
Two days later the jury pronounced the sentence: 75 years.
Twenty-one-year-old Leach will not be eligible for parole until 2041, when at least half of the sentence has been served. “Dan Leach got away with a perfect crime,” said Attorney Gonzalez. “He got away with it, but he could not live with the fact that he took a human life.”
God had changed a murderer’s heart. The grace of God gave this man a new chance at life. Although he is locked up in prison, he is now living in the freedom of Christ.
Similarly, we have all committed a crime in various forms of our sin. We all have gotten away with the perfect crime. But the important thing to realize that although we may have fooled people around us, and hid our sins from them, we cannot hide from God, and we must now stand before the one who has power and authority to condemn us. Jesus declares, “…neither do I condemn you… Go now, and leave your life of sin”. This is God’s grace that saves us from the death penalty and that should inspire us to leave our lives of sin. Nothing else should move or motivate us to leave our sinful lives, other than God’s grace and what he has done for us.
I remember the first time I came to know Christ. When I was a sophomore in high school, I suffered from appendicitis. Prior to this, my spiritual life was dead, and I actually had given my life over to sin. I partied, I smoked, I had girlfriends, I even joined a gang, because I wanted to be cool and hardcore.And I never really thought that this was bad, because I was still going to church on Sundays. But I was deep in sin, and my soul was dieing. But when I had appendicitis, I thought that I was going to die, in fact I thought that God was punishing me for my sins.I became fearful and I thought that I was going to go to hell. I remember that night in the hospital before my surgery; I cried out to God apologizing for my sins, and pleading that he would give me another chance. Then when going through surgery, I fell asleep and had a dream. In my dream I saw Jesus sitting near a well. When seeing Jesus I thought that was it, I thought he was going to condemn me to hell. Yet instead he sat there next to the well and just smiled. He didn’t say anything, but just kept smiling at me. Seeing Jesus smile at me convicted me and all I could do was throw myself at his feet and repent for my sins. Then I woke up and I was alive. I was so happy to wake up alive but at the same time I was confused. Why am I alive? For all the sins I’ve committed I should be dead right now. But as I lay there in bed, I could see that God had mercy on me, and saved me from condemnation. I still do not understand why he spared me and gave me another chance but all I could say is that it is because of his amazing grace and love that I’m here today. And this grace convicts me of my sins and at the same time moves me to live my life for him. I know that he saved me so that I would consecrate my life to him, and be used for his purpose. To share this grace with others, especially younger generation. I pray to never forget the grace he has shown me, and remember each day the reason why I am alive.
This passage shows us, that we are all sinners. Like the woman who was on trial for adultery, we have all commited adultery against our husband Jesus Christ. And we all deserve to be punished and condemned for our unfaithfulness to him. Yet amazingly, although we are sinners, God spared us and saved us. In fact he sent his one and only Son, Jesus and had him suffer on the cross so that you and I would not have to bear that condemnation. And he did this, because of his deep love for us. This is the grace of Jesus. This is the GREATNESS OF CHRIST. May God’s grace overwhelm our hearts so that we would leave our lives of sin, and follow Him. May the grace of God move your heart to live in the freedom of Christ free from condemnation free from sin.