Scriptures where she can be found: John 8
Setting: Jerusalem, The Temple
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. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with finger, as though He did not hear.
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.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard being convicted
by conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest to the last.
And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 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?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."
This is one of my favorite accounts of Jesus in the Bible. I have come back to this story so many times since I rededicated my life to the Lord as an adult. It has been an anchor in times when I have felt guilty or condemned about something that I have done. It always brings me back to a place of peace and belonging in my relationship to Jesus.
So, Jesus is teaching in the temple. The scriptures say it was early in the morning. The Pharisees bring to Jesus a woman "caught in adultery, in the very act."
Now, let's stop right there. What is adultery? Adultery is having a sexual relationship with someone who is not your spouse. Where was the man? If she was caught in the act, the man would have been there too. Religion is hypocritical.
So, they bring this woman to Jesus and sit her in the "midst." I am assuming that that would be in the middle of everyone. She is there on public display for everyone to see. People there probably knew her. But she was silent.
Jesus was also silent, but just for a moment. The religious leaders are questioning Him, and accusing her. Jesus, just paused, and knelt down to write on the ground with his finger.
There have been many suppositions about what Jesus was doing. My own personal opinion was that this action was a demonstration of who He was. In Exodus 31:18, the New Living Translation it says this,
When the LORD finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, written by the finger of God.
Jesus was saying to them, "Hey boys. I know what the Law says. I wrote it."
Apparently they did not get the message, so Jesus stands up and tells them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first."
Well, they knew this was impossible. None of them were without sin. So, they start leaving, the oldest first to the youngest. I heard a man say one time that the older ones left first probably because they have sinned more. The only person who had a right to pick up a stone and throw it at her was Jesus. But Jesus didn't come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law, so this woman received mercy.
The woman is still silent. The men are leaving. They are alone. Jesus is ALONE again with another sinful woman. This does not seem to deter or bother Him.
Jesus finally speaks to her and she to Him. He asks her where her accusers are." Has no one condemned you?" He knows the answer, so why does He ask? I feel like Jesus often asks us questions, so we will come to a deeper understanding of the answer. He is the Good Teacher. He wants her to know what she is receiving from God.
She says to Him, "No one Lord." Can't you just feel that sigh of relief exhaling from her lungs? It's that same feeling everyone has when they learn about Jesus and come to Him and He forgives them. We all have that same sigh of relief. And it continues throughout your Christian walk.
No one in your life has a right to pick up a stone and throw it at you. The same forgiveness, compassion, and mercy Jesus had for this woman, is the same He has for you.
At the conclusion, Jesus tells her to go and "sin no more." One version says, "Go and leave your life of sin. (NIV)"
When you know God loves you and you are forgiven, it will enable you to leave a life of sin. You will be as this woman, forgiven, loved, and able to move on into a new future.
Many blessings to you as you grow in the knowledge of Jesus,
To read more posts in this series, go here to Women in the Life of Jesus.