Grace in Action
Big Idea: If this story were acted out in dramatic form, who would the main characters be? Big Answer: They would be those who Oppose Grace, those who are Objects of Grace, and the One who is the Origin of Grace.
Introduction: Jesus was teaching in the temple in Jerusalem 7:53-82
1. Jesus stayed the night on the Mount of Olives 7:53-8:1
53 And everyone went to his home. 1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2. He taught in the temple in Jerusalem 2
2 Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.
I. The Opponents of Grace: Those who insist the Law be applied–to others. 3-8
3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.
A. The accusers: scribes and Pharisees 3
B. The accused: a women set before Jesus for judgment 4a
C. The charges: She’d been caught in the very act of adultery 4b
D. Their attempt to trap the Lord. 5-6a
1. “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; 5a
- Leviticus 20:10 ‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
2. …what then do You say? 5b
3. Their motives were to trap Him by forcing Him to make an unfavorable decision 6a
6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him.
- What were the possible responses to this “test”? What response could Jesus have made, and what would have been the results and implications of those responses?
1) He could have sided with the Pharisees, agreeing that she really should have been put to death. This would have challenged Roman law.
2) He could have sided with the Romans and the general population, and denied that the women should be executed. This would have challenged the apparent, assumed application of the Jewish religious law.
3) He could have done/said nothing—played it safe.
4. He responded by writing on the ground, and challenging their application of Moses’ law. 6b-8
i. He began to write with His finger on the ground 6a
But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.
ii. He invited any valid witness to begin the stoning of the women, and then continued to write on the ground 7-8
7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
- Deut 17: 6 “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. 7 “The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
- Jesus put His finger on the fact that these were all hostile witnesses, and thus, could not act as witnesses in a (Mosaic) court. He exposed their failure to keep the Law, but reminding them of the parts of the Law they’d ignored.
5. They all left the scene, their plot having failed. 9a
9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones,
- Heard it = Note, they heard what Jesus said (“He who is without sin…”), and began to leave. Thus, it is NOT necessarily what they may have read that made them leave…
II. The Object of Grace: the woman, a sinner caught in her sin. 9b-11a
…and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
III. Jesus, the Origin of Grace 11b
And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”