Saturday after Jubilate
Scripture: St. John 8:1-11 (NKJV)
1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
In this text the scribes and Pharisees, who were always seeking to trick our Lord Jesus into some error or sin, finally think they have a way to silence our Lord. They bring before Him a woman who was caught in adultery. Her sentence according to Moses was death. But they cared neither about the Law of Moses, nor the truth; they did it only to try to deceive the Lord. The Jews reasoned to themselves, “If he says ‘Let her be stoned,’ we shall say to him, ‘Aren’t you the one who says “Your sins are forgiven you?”‘ But if he says, ‘Let her go,’ we shall say, ‘What has become of your coming to fulfill the law and not to destroy it?'”
Our Lord Jesus sees through their deception and only responds, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” This is more than just a deflection to put the onus on them. It was not His Office to judge such things. It was their Office; it was their responsibility. Our Lord is only putting the authority of the matter on the shoulders to whom it belonged—the keepers of the Law.
It appears, however, that the keepers of the Law are just as adulterous, even if only spiritually, as this adulteress, for they all went out one by one, “being convicted by their conscience.”
Here comes the crux of this narrative, for the woman remains there waiting for some response from the Lord, for if there is One Man without sin it is certainly Him. By His own words, He has every right to condemn her, but He does not. For in His kingdom, if One Man is righteous, all people are declared righteous, even this adulterous woman, and even you.