John 8:1-11 (NIV): But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn He appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around Him, and He sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with her. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ ” she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ ” Jesus declared. “ ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’ ”
Whew! These eleven verses were such a blessing to me, especially in my early days of Salvation. Naturally, I’m different from this woman as well as our situation. It definitely opened my understanding to “Spiritual Principles.”
The difference between the Letter of the Law from the Spirit of the Law.
There’s quite a bit involved in this short passage. They’re all important as they deal with Sabbath Laws and Traditions. So, for this article I’ll be limiting my focus to verses six through eight.
Verse 6: “But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger.” Also in Verse 8: “Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.”
Nowhere in those 11 verses does it say what He wrote in the dirt.
I checked several translations and a handful of commentaries, but in all humbleness, it was simply searching the Scriptures themselves that has given me what I consider an understanding of the Spiritual Principle in action here in this passage.
For example: In Leviticus 20:10 it says: “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.”
Deuteronomy 22:22: “If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both must die.”
As I was reading from my Jewish Study Bible, Numbers 35:30 jumped out at me. “If anyone kills someone, the murderer must be put to death upon the testimony of witnesses; but the testimony of only one witness will not suffice to cause a person to be put to death.”
The woman may not be accused of murder but it’s very much about a life-and-death situation.
The accusers claimed she was caught in the act of adultery — breaking the seventh commandment. Where is the man? The law requires “both be put to death.”
The point of focus has now changed; perhaps Deuteronomy 22:23 is what Jesus wrote in the dirt — “both must die.”
Now the accusers are in the hot seat!
The ninth commandment says: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
Can you accuse one without accusing the other and not be guilty of a false testimony?
In the King James Version, the law written in Numbers 35:30 says, “One witness shall not testify against another person to cause them to die.”
Doesn’t a false witness do just that?
So when our opening Scripture says Jesus stooped down again, He very well could have written Jeremiah 17:13b: “Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord.”
So what do you think? Persecuting one person in a two-person act. Bearing false witness. Jeopardizing someone’s life.
What a demonstration of Grace by Christ. He was basically saying repent before you jeopardize yourself, allowing them mercy from a judgment self-inflicted upon themselves.
And to the woman, an obvious recipient of mercy and grace, “Does no one accuse you?” “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Now we gotcha! Sounds like a sermon title.