WelCom April 2022
Fifth Sunday of Lent – John 8:1-11
1Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and as all the people started coming to him, he sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. 4They said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you have to say?’ 6They asked this to test Jesus, looking for an accusation to use against him. But Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. 7As they persisted with their question, Jesus straightened up and said to them, ‘Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ 8Then he bent down and continued writing on the ground. 9And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders until the last one had gone Jesus was left alone with the woman before him. 10Jesus again straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ 11She replied, ‘No one, sir.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on sin no more.’
Jesus’ grace and understanding for all
At daybreak Jesus went to the temple to pray and to teach the many who came to listen to him. To test Jesus, the scribes and the Pharisees bought along a woman who had been caught in adultery. To do this, they needed the consent of the man responsible for helping her commit her so-called adulterous act. In those days, women were considered second-class citizens.
The male was seldom accused as a co-sinner. The man colluded with the scribes and Pharisees by accusing the girl of being unable to show evidence needed to acquit her.
For her offence, the scribes and Pharisees reminded Jesus: ‘Moses says she may be taken to her father’s house and there her fellow citizens may stone her to death.’ (Dt 22 20-21). The scribes and the Pharisees were sure they were right, and that the woman knew she had done wrong.
Jesus ignored their claim and bent down, writing on the ground with his finger. However, they persisted with their question until Jesus looked up and said, ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ (Jn 8:7) Then Jesus continued writing on the ground with his finger.
When the men had heard Jesus say this they walked away starting with the eldest until Jesus was alone with the woman. Was this because they felt their own sense of guilt over their past life? Jesus, alone with the woman, asks the question, where are they? Then adds, ‘Has no one condemned you?’
‘No one, sir.’ She replied. Then Jesus says, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go away and sin no more.’ (Jn 8:11).
Jesus commenced the day teaching in the temple. He did not condemn the woman as her society did and instead sent her away in a state of Grace. Real forgiveness.
People even today can be cruel and merciless. Many don’t have the mental patience to properly research their criticisms and then be quick to issue them. When they do, they are often delivered unhelpfully.
This story is about Jesus’ grace and real understanding. This is freely available to all of us whenever we need it. Let’s try to share it with others around us.