SwindollStudyBible-John - Flipbook - Page 31
J ohn 8 : 1 2
“Where Are Your Accusers?”
T H E RELIGIOUS L EADERS thought they had devised the perfect trap. They confronted
Jesus in public with a dilemma they were sure He couldn’t get Himself out of. They presented
a woman they had caught in the very act of adultery. They then asked Him what should be
done about her.
Jesus, standing silently and studying the whole scene, did not miss a clue. How
could this have taken place without a trap? How did they catch her “in the act of adultery”
(John 8:3-4)? Where was her partner in this act? Hadn’t he been committing adultery as well?
They set Him up for—they thought—only two possible responses, a situation they
thought would be lose-lose for Him. First, if He said, “Yes, stone her,” then they could call
Him a hypocrite, because He was the one teaching His followers about compassion and
forgiveness and love and grace. Furthermore, they could turn Him
over to the Roman officials, because only the Roman government
could make final judgments on matters of capital punishment.
person on earth
The second possibility was that He could say, “No, let her
go.” Then they would have Him for breaking the law of Moses and
Before we read Jesus’ answer, let’s observe His actions.
woman in her
John 8:6 tells us that Jesus “stooped down and wrote in the dust.”
This is the only time in all of Scripture where we’re told that
Jesus wrote anything. Could it be that Jesus, at that moment,
without saying a word, simply stooped and began to write the sins that the religious leaders
themselves were guilty of, large enough for them to read? Who knows?
Without speaking a word, He wrote. Then He stood. The silence was broken when He
looked into the religious leaders’ self-righteous faces and said, “All right, but let the one
who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:7). Then He stooped back down and
wrote some more in the dust.
Imagine the tension as these religious leaders looked at one another. They realized that
if any one of them picked up a stone, declaring himself without sin, the others would have
something to say about it! So instead, “when the accusers heard this, they slipped away
one by one, beginning with the oldest” (John 8:9). I suppose that the oldest went away
first because their lists of sins were longer than those of the younger ones—and perhaps
because their maturity helped them see those sins a little more clearly. As they stood there
letting their lives pass in review, they dropped their stones and left.
Jesus, having dismissed the accusers, then turned to the woman. “Where are your
accusers?” He asked. “Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” (John 8:10).
The only recorded words of this woman are located in the next verse, where she
simply says, “No, Lord.”
Her words are followed by His marvelous response: “Neither do I. Go and sin no more”
The only person on earth qualified to condemn the woman in her shame didn’t. And I
think, for the first time in her life, she stopped condemning herself.
That’s what Jesus does for us. He doesn’t come to condemn; He comes to save. When
we experience His salvation, our gratitude makes us want to “go and sin no more.”