Jesus Forgives Adulteress (John 8:1-11), Commentary


The Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, placing her in the midst-  On display, as a public challenge.  The initial response of Jesus was silence. We should not eagerly react to those who have laid a trap for us. Non-believers, as the Pharisees were, lay traps for believers, who if not patient, as our Lord was, became ensnared. Jesus stooped down- (as he was already sitting while he taught) and wrote in the ground-  We do not know what he wrote. There are many different theories on this, but it is clear that  Jesus was demonstrating that he did not approve of their motive. His mission was to save, not condemn. The Pharisees had no care for the soul or well being of the woman.
They continued to ask him–  as it seemed as if he was avoiding the answer He lifted himself up- to address them He that is without sin- having comitted no sin, of any nature.  And again he stooped down- Having issued his ruling, He had no reason to further engage. And wrote on the ground- Again, showing them he had no interest in their ways. And they which heard-  Not saw, or read it in the what Jesus wrote on the ground,  but heard his Words, they were convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one. The spoken word of Jesus was sufficient to awaken them to their own sin, as it always is. While some speculate that Jesus was writing the names or sins of the accusers, we do not know. If anything, we know that carving our words into the earth means nothing: The earth will pass away, but His words will not. And Jesus was left alone with the woman-  The wolves had left, and the shepherd stayed with his sheep. Standing in the midst- The crowd he was teaching witnessed this. Woman where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?- She knew of her guilt, but no man could stand to pass a sentence. Look about you to see that you have been saved. You have been given mercy.
No, man Lord- She had escaped certain death. We should put aside sin, accept Christ, and not to find ourselves facing death, but eternal life; so we may answer that we have no accusers, since we have accepted Jesus as our Savior.
Neither do I condemn thee- Jesus was the only man there who could have judged her, as the only man without sin. Instead he took her punishment, and our punishment, upon himself.  Go, and sin no more- Live your life for God, now freed from the bonds of sin. We know no one is without sin, but we should be continually transformed by our repentance and submission to God for forgiveness, that we may not distance ourselves from Him.
In some of the earliest manuscripts, this story is absent, and sometimes there is a blank space where it should be. It is possible, that an adulteress being forgiven was so controversial, that it was requested by some that the story be left out by copyists.
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4 thoughts on “Jesus Forgives Adulteress (John 8:1-11), Commentary

  1. This is always been clear to me that we all have sinned or sin and may be a different type, but to God, sin is sin, does not matter what it may be. We shouldn’t judge other people for theirs, we all have a way to go to perfection and we all stumble on the way, but, the important part is to get back up and stay focused for the end will be amazing.

  2. Sin can come into our lives so quickly and so sneakily…a little lie, a little cheating, a little flirting with someone married. Next thing you know, it has snowballed into something big. The woman mentioned in the reading was ready to be killed because of her sin. If she had not been caught, she not only would not have been saved physically, but also she may not have been saved spiritually. After all the accusers left, He said “Go and sin no more.” He gave this woman a whole new life with hope. I don’t think that means that she never committed another sin; but after experiencing what Jesus did for her, she didn’t want to sin and now with His help she would be an overcomer.
    Jesus wants to do the same for all of us by coming into our hearts and cleaning us up in every way. Because of His grace and mercy — He made the way, but We have the choice.

  3. Its an easy trap to fall into, especially if we don’t have the Word of God with us. We do need to be delivered from temptation.

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