In John chapter 8:1-11 we are given an account of the woman who was caught in adultery. The following is a brief explanation of those verses. ==In the first two verses John sets the scene for us. Jesus retires to the Mount of Olives for the night (I am not going to deal with the textual issues in this particular post). What He did while on that Mount is not recorded. However we can assume that He prayed and slept. The next early the next morning ("at dawn" - Gr: Orthrou) Jesus went to the Temple. While Jesus was there He sat down and began to teach the people. While this was happening some scribes and pharisees came in and presented Jesus with a test. ==It is clear from their words that this was not a honest question. They were not seeking to understand how they were to treat a woman like this. What these leaders wished to do was to catch Jesus in His own words. Elmer Towns, of Liberty University, has rightly explained the situation: "If He condemned her and called for her execution, He would never again be known as the friend of sinners. Also, He would be placing Himself against Rome, which did not allow the Jews to practice capital punishment for infractions of the Jewish law. If Jesus condoned her act, He would be upholding her sin and opposing the Law of Moses. Jesus essentially found Himself in a no-win situation" -Elmer Towns, "John: Believe and Live" pg78 The Law of Moses did indeed call for this woman to be stoned. Consider Leviticus 20:10 as one example: The Law is clear. A woman caught in the act of adultery must be put to death. However the religious leaders forgot one very important thing (or so it seems). Notice that the verse in the Law places equal punishment on the man and the woman who are guilty of adultery. So why did they only bring the woman? FF Bruce has a interesting commentary on this point: "Adultery is not the kind of offence that can be committed by one person in solitude; if she was caught red-handed, how was her guilty partner allowed to escape? Probably he was the more agile of the two, and was able to get away, ungallantly leaving her in the lurch. Was no attempt made to give him chase and catch him? The impression we get is that the woman's accusers were not so much concerned with seeing that justice was done as with putting Jesus in an embarrassing situation" -FF Bruce, "The Gospel and Epistles Of John" pg414 Could it also be that their view of women caused them to allow the man to go? We can't know for sure. However it does show that their motives were anything but pure. How does Jesus respond? ==Jesus saw right through their little game and He was not interested in playing. Jesus knew that no matter what answer He gave them they were ready to accuse Him (see above). He knelt down and wrote in the sand. What did He write? We don't know. I have read many commentators who tried to speculate one what Jesus wrote. Such speculation, while harmless, is unproductive. DA Carson explains the writing in the sands and its possible implications: "At one level, his writing on the ground was a delaying action that failed to satisfy Jesus' opponents, so they kept on questioning Him. However ambiguous his writing may be to us today, the words with which he finally responded are clear enough: If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. This is a direct reference to Deuteronomy 13:9, 17:7 (cf. Lv 24:14) the witnesses of the crime must be the first to thrown the stones, and they must not be participants in the crime itself" -DA Carson, "The Gospel According To John" pg336 How did the Scribes, Pharisees, and the woman respond? ==Returning, for a moment, to the writing in the sand. Above Dr Carson stated that the writing in the sand may have simply been a delaying tactic on Jesus' part. This idea may find support here in verse 9. Notice that John says that it was Jesus' words that caused them to walk away. Not what He wrote in the sand. This, to me, makes it clear that we don't need to worry about what Jesus wrote. Rather, we need to worry about what He said. Whatever Jesus wrote was important however it is not recorded in Scripture for us. Therefore it is not productive for us to guess. Now that everyone has gone Jesus and the woman are left where they are. ==Jesus did not excuse her sinful actions. Nor was Jesus saying that people should not be held accountable for their actions. Rather Jesus forgave this woman, an act only God can perform, and commanded her to repent of the sin that was in her life. Modern Christianity misses this point all too often. The Gospel calls for a change of life, a change of walk. It calls for a new life (as a result of forgivness). If a person is still in sin, they are still in darkness, and are probably not saved (Jn 8:12). Jesus called this woman to "go and sin no more". Jesus is calling us, through His Word, to go and sin no more. He is calling us to repent. In Christ, Martin.