Songs and Praise
   

 
 
 

Less 129 JESUS AND THE ADULTEROUS WOMAN

 
John 8:1-11;

Lesson 129 Senior Lessons

MEMORY VERSE:  "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (John 8:11).

I A Pharisaical Accusation

The scribes and Pharisees bring to Jesus an adulterous woman whom they state should be stoned according to the Law of Moses, John 8:1-5; Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22 The scribes and Pharisees were desirous of obtaining grounds of accusation against Christ that He did not obey the Law of Moses, John 8:6; 7:19-23; Mark 3:1-4; John 10:31-33 The Pharisees asserted they obeyed the Law of Moses, and said that Christ did not, John 8:5-7; 7:19-26, 47-52

II The Accusers Accused

Jesus did not answer their question in the affirmative or in the nega¬tive; He directed the one who was without sin to throw the first stone, John 8:6-8; Deuteronomy 17:4-'7; II Corinthians 10:6; 3:6 The Pharisees, condemned by their own sins, left the accused woman unharmed with Jesus, John 8:9

III The Condemned Acquitted

Christ as the giver of redemption to sinful man did not condemn the adulterous woman, but forgave her sins and saved her soul, John 8:10, 11; 3:17; 12:47; Luke 9:56; Matthew 9:10-13 The Law of Moses was given by God to condemn sin, that man might see his need of a Savior, John 8:10, 11; 1:17; Romans 7:5-14; Galatians 2:21; 3:19-24

NOTES

The Accusing Pharisees

The story of Christ, as recorded in the four Gospels, reveals to us the determined attempts of the Pharisees and scribes to destroy the works of Christ; and, in the end, their attempt to destroy Christ Himself. The scribes and Pharisees were the religious rulers of their day. They were the ex¬pounders of the Law, and interpreters of righteousness; they were the so-called messengers of God to man, to teach him how he should live and walk before God. They were in positions of great authority both in civil and religious government.


The Pharisees and scribes have since the time of Christ become synonymous with religious bigotry and hypocrisy. Christ, in contrast, was the express image of God and His righteousness.
'For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.' True religion is of the heart and not merely a mental concept. Jesus said they that worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Of the Pharisees Christ said: 'Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men' (Matthew 15:7-9).


The twenty-third chapter of Matthew's Gospel is a scathing indict-ment against false professors of religion. Jesus severely rebuked them for their hypocrisy and ungodly living. Of such he said 'All their works they do for to be seen of men.' (See Matthew 23:1-39.)
It was these men who came to accuse Him of disobedience to the Law, and to seek something that they might misconstrue as unrighteousness.

The Accusation

The Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who had been caught in the act of adultery. They did not bring her to Jesus with any thought of helping her to escape from such a life of sin. They saw a chance of tempt¬ing Christ and entrapping Him in a clever plot, so that they might slander Him, and have material to speak against Him to the people.

The Pharisees reminded Jesus that the Law said that all adulterers were to be stoned to death; 'But what sayest thou?' There had been ample evidence of the kindness and mercy of Christ to the common man, so the Pharisees perhaps believed that Jesus would not accede to any demand that a woman be stoned to death, regardless of her sins. What they did not realize was that God is not unrighteous in His judgments. While God does not condone sin, and will not at all acquit the wicked, yet Christ in His office as Mediator between God and man for sin, will see that mercy is shown and justice is done to all (Nahum 1:3; I John 2:1, 2).


The Pharisees were willing to see a woman stoned to death that they might obtain evidence to enable them to retain their position of right-eousness in the eyes of the people. How incongruous was their position!


They were in actuality stooping to murder to be able to say that they were true worshipers of God, that they were teachers of righteousness, leaders of those who were in spiritual darkness. (The Spanish Inquisition was a mass repetition of this same idea.)


There was no righteousness in the Pharisees in bringing a woman guilty of adultery to Jesus. A true Christian does not condemn anyone to death, regardless of how guilty he might be of sentence. That is God's part. He is the Judge of all the earth, and He is the One who will set the judgment of man in His own good time, and He is the One who will carry it out. Paul tells us: 'It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us' (Romans 8:33, 34).


Christ made it plain that the requirement of God was more than the Law said, 'Thou shalt not kill.' (Read Matthew 5:21, 22.) 'Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him' (I John 3:15).


Therefore the Pharisees who brought the woman to Jesus were guilty themselves of a far worse transgression. They had hate and murder,in their heart. They were willing to see the woman stoned to death, and were stooping to such a means to get rid of Christ. They proved to what extent they were willing to go when they later were instrumental in helping to crucify the Savior.

Condemnation

The Pharisees arrogantly asked Christ several times what should be done with the adulterous woman, 'What sayest thou?' His answer was far different from their expectations. 'He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.' How that must have stung them! There is the command of God to all men. They were teachers of the Law, but they were face to face with the divine Son of God, who was the embodiment of all righteousness and truth. James tells us: 'If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judg¬ment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment' (James 2:8-13).


In the words of Jesus — 'He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone' — is a view of the differences between Law and Grace. The Law was the thunder of God's righteous demands of man to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. It is the revelation of sin, and the revelation to man of his inability to keep the whole Law. To fail to keep it is death! In Romans 7:7 we read: 'Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. . . . For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.' (Read all of Romans 7.)


In short, the Pharisees suddenly awoke to the fact that the Law which they had been so confident would be the instrument to silence Christ had now arisen like some dread specter in front of them 43 condemn them for the sin in their hearts. They had received permission to carry out the Law of Moses and to stone the adulterous woman for her sins. There was only one stipulation: Let the one who threw the first stone be without sin. There were none without sin. They slunk out of sight, defeated, humiliated, and condemned for their actions.

Pardoning Grace

'Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven' (Matthew 5:20). Jesus, speaking to the woman, said: 'Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? . . . Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.' Here is the pardoning grace of God. The Law is a schoolmaster to bring men to Christ. By the Law is sin, and the knowledge of sin. By that knowledge is revealed the need to he delivered from sin. That was the purpose of Christ, that men might be forgiven for their sin. 'For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved' (John 3:17). Christ was the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, that sinful man, when he repents of his wickedness, will have the Bleeding Lamb as his Atonement for those sins.


Doubtless the adulterous woman realized her need of some ground of conciliation that she might plead before God for mercy.


While the Pharisees were guilty of many grievous sins in their bringing to Jesus this sinful and fallen woman that they might tempt Him and find a reason to accuse Him, that did not acquit her of her sinfulness. Regardless of how much one may be sinned against, he must still answer for his own sins.


Anyone guilty of adultery is a sinner• The Law stated, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery' (Exodus 20:14). And under Grace, Jesus looked right into the heart of man and said: 'Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart' (Matthew 5:28). Divorce and remarriage are condoned by modern society, but Jesus said: 'Whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery' (Matthew 19:9). And in Romans 7:2, 3, we read: 'For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth.... So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.'


We can see that this woman deserved death under the Law. She had nothing to say to Jesus; she was a guilty sinner, standing at the bar of justice. But Jesus saw a repentant heart, and with Him there was mercy.


How wonderful must have been the words of Jesus to the woman as He told her, 'Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more'! How different from the hateful scribes who were interested in her only as a means for carrying out their murderous intent!


With what wonder every repentant sinner realizes the pardoning grace of Christ through the atoning Blood of Calvary! He stands before God helpless, guilty of sin, condemned by the Law of God to eternal damnation and separation from the Lord; and then he receives pardon, his sins are taken away, and he is told to go and sin no more!


The Psalmist well said: 'If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?' (Psalm 130:3; 103:10). If God were to deal with a sinner according to his sins, who then would ever be justified before God? Who would ever be able to stand in the congregation of the righteous and testify of the goodness and grace of God toward him?

QUESTIONS

1 What was the purpose of the Pharisees' bringing an adulterous woman
to Christ?
2 Were the Pharisees motivated by godly love when they came to Christ to discuss Moses and the Law?
3 Do you think the Law of Moses was unrighteous in demanding adulter¬ers to be stoned to death? Give your reasons.
4 Was God unrighteous (as the author of the Law) in demanding death to adulterers?
5 Why did the Pharisees think that Christ would not permit the woman to be stoned?
6 What was the purpose of the Law of Moses?
7 Were the Pharisees iving up to what the Law required?
8 Of what sins were the Pharisees guilty?
9 How did Christ save the adulterous woman from being stoned?
10 Why did Jesus have authority to tell her to 'go, and sin no more'?

 
   
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