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John 8:1-11

Before Reading the Passage

If you are reading something other than the KJV, you will notice two things at the beginning of John 8:

1. First: There might be a note stating that John 8:1-11 is not in the original text or there may be brackets at John 7:53-8:11 to indicate such. But...this passage is found in over 900 mss. Without going into all the details of why this passage is not in some of the mss., as for me, I have no doubt that this was an actual event in the life of the Lord Jesus.

2. Second: John 7 records a busy day in the life of the Lord Jesus. He had taught all day and dealt with a hostile crowd who didn't like nor understand His teachings. It was the end of the day now and both He and the crowd were tired.

The chapter ends with a lonely departure (7:53-8:1). The chapter division that occurs at this point is regrettable. As it stands, the chapter reads: “And every man went unto his own house.” We should ignore the chapter division and move on to the next verse. The statement then reads: “Every man went unto his own house. Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives.” Jesus is thus, by the Holy Spirit, set in another contest with them. Everyone else went home. The priest and Pharisees went home; the captain of the temple went home. For them, supper was put on the table, people washed their hands, changed into more comfortable clothes, reclined on their couches, playing with their children and then went to bed. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. “The foxes have holes,” He once said, “And the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not were to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20)

Read the Passage

While everyone else went to his own home, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. John 8:1

• There were probably two reasons He went there – to pray and to sleep.

• Early the next morning He went to the temple again to teach the people. When it says He went to the temple, it does not mean that He went within the sacred, beautiful enclosure where only the priest was allowed to enter. It means that He went to one of the porches surrounding the great temple.

• He was in the midst of His teaching when a group of men – the scribes and Pharisees – dragging a woman with them, cast her in the midst of those whom Jesus was teaching.

• Notice: The woman was brought “into the temple” area. It would be like some self-righteous group dragging someone that they had “caught” in sin and throwing them in the front of the church service. Exposing her sin publicly and asking, “What do you say we should do with such


a wicked person?” They caused such a commotion that all attention was turned from Jesus and turned to the religious leaders and the condemned woman.

• It is interesting to note that they were not at all interested in the woman, but they were a “Get-Jesus-Committee.” John 8:6

• I've got some questions: How did these men know where to find this woman? Why did they bring the woman alone? They knew the identity of the man.

• The truth is that they baited this woman. They set her up. They didn't involve her because they wanted to clean up their community morally; nor because they wanted to punish her, nor to do anything good to her; they just wanted to use her to accuse Jesus, to discredit and dishonor Jesus.

They had heard Jesus say that He had not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17).They had also heard Jesus described as “the friend of sinners” and that the law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Him (John 1:16-17). How could He do both?

If Jesus said that the woman should be released, then they would say, “Why, He doesn't observe the Law of Moses, and He is lowering the morality of our land.” On the other hand, if Jesus had said, “Let her be stoned to death,” then they would have said, “Some friend of sinners He is,” and so they thought they had the Lord trapped. The accusers had now ushered her into the presence of Jesus. They could barely restrain their glee. They were smirking underneath their pompous ecclesiastical robes, for they had brought this woman accused before Jesus, and in reality they were accusing Him, but now the story moves on.

The Accusation John 8:2-5

You can almost picture the scene and feel the atmosphere. It was an early-morning Bible teaching experience. The crowd had gathered to hear the Lord when there was heard a commotion coming toward the Lord. There was a crowd of angry men shouting, and there was commotion around a woman as she was pushed into the presence of the Lord. So rudely did they come into the presence of the Lord; so callously did they handle this woman. As we look at her, we see a woman in trouble. Her hair was disheveled, her garments were torn. This woman had been brought into the presence of the Lord Jesus by the scribes and Pharisees.

I think about how it would make me feel and how it would make you feel if that same scene happened here today in this service. How embarrassing!

But notice: The woman didn't protest the charge. She was guilty. Not only was she guilty, she was caught in the act of shame. To be guilty was bad enough; to be caught, in some minds, was worse; but for it to be publicized by an eyewitness in the temple was worse yet; now drug before Jesus by the top religious leaders of that day. I wonder if she had ever met Jesus before. Maybe she had heard of Him. What a humiliating experience for her!

I think she resisted all the way. I think she bitterly resented what these men did to her. She was embarrassed.


The men were accusing her of sins of the flesh, but they were guilty of sins of disposition. There's was the sin of deceit, indifference, coldness of heart and hatred of Jesus.

• “Master, shall we stone her – give us a yes or no answer.”

• Here was one group of sinners talking about stoning another sinner!

• Sometimes we are as guilty as they were. We don't throw stones with our hands, but we throw them with our tongues!

II. The Examination 8:6-9

They thought they had Jesus. They would accuse Him of Lovelessness or Lawlessness. This is the only time we read of Jesus writing and we do not know what He wrote. We can be sure, however, that accused and accusers alike looked eagerly to see what it was.

The word “stooped down” means not only that He knelt down, but that He bows His head in shame. Jesus was ashamed of what was happening. He was ashamed of men who were recognized as religious leaders acting as they did. That shamed the Lord more than what the woman had done.

The purity of Jesus stands out in this scene. This dear woman was immodestly dressed, but Jesus would not defile His eyes or embarrass her further, His eyes went to the ground.

This is the only record we have of Jesus writing anything. What did He write? We don't know. No one knows. There have been some interesting suggestions – the Ten Commandments – A list of sins with the names of the men in the crowd who committed the sin beside the sin.

• Since Jesus wrote in the sand, whatever was written quickly disappeared, either being trampled underfoot by those coming to or going from the temple, or by the wind that blew away the writing.

• But the message by the finger of Jesus can never be obliterated.

A. He wrote a word to the Conscience 8:9

• “Being convicted by their own conscience.” Each man felt his own sin. Each man was condemned within himself.

• They came to see themselves as they really were. They came face-to-face with the condition of their own heart, and maybe for the first time in their lives they saw themselves as God saw them.

• Have you ever seen yourself as God sees you? We try to cover the truth of who we really are.

• Let me give you an example: Do you know why we dress up? Because we try to hide the truth of what we are really like – and I'm glad we do! If you want to see the truth of who you are, look in the mirror the first thing when you get up in the morning – before you comb your hair or brush your teeth, or take a shower or put on make-up or shave your face or put on deodorant – RightGuard – or your best outfit. And the more you put on, the more you try to hide the truth of who you are. We dress up to hide who we are, but Jesus dresses us down and sees what we really are, and we are all a mess!

B. They He wrote a word about Compassion


• The compassion and tenderness of Jesus toward the woman showed those hard harsh accusers how to deal with the transgressor.

• It's one thing for us to be hard against sin, but we need to be compassionate toward the sinner. That's the way Jesus was with us.

• Those of us who have received forgiveness from God ought to show compassion from our heart to others in sin.

Let me carry you again to John 1:16-17. Jesus confronts the sinner with both grace and truth.

Let me give you an example: Moses received the Ten Commandments from God on the Mount. God wrote out the Ten Commandments in stone with His own finger and gave them to Moses to give to the people. But when Moses saw the sinfulness of the people at the foot of the Mount, he took the truth of the Ten Commandments and threw the tablets of stone down at the people.

Then Moses went back up the Mount and God wrote the Commandments the second time in stone. This time God told Moses to put the tablets in the Ark of the Covenant, cover it with the Mercy Seat and sprinkle it with blood. We cannot keep the truth or law without the blood of Christ covering us by His grace!

Notice 8:7

• According to Deuteronomy 17:7, the accusers were supposed to throw the first stone. Instead, everyone dripped his stone and walked away.

• An old black preacher said, “If one of them had dared to throw a stone, the Lord would have turned that stone into rubber and it would have bounced back and busted his brains out.”

• If we understood the truth of this passage, it would get us out of the rock throwing business.

• On a pastor's desk was a smooth, polished rock inscribed, “The First Stone.” When asked about it, he explained that it was a constant reminder of John 8:7 to himself, as well as to visitors, of the need of self-judgment first.

I confess to my shame that there are times I have stood in the midst, condemned. And there are times I have stood in the crowd condemning.

a. There are times my heart has been filled with sins. And there are times my hands have been

filled with stones.

b. There are times I have been eager to bring to light the sins of others; and there are times that

I have been reluctant to confess my own sins to God.

III. The Liberation 8:10-11

Why did Jesus ask about the woman's accusers?

He is certainly not seeking information. He is seeking to bring to fruition the faith that has already been born in the heart of this woman.

What has been going on in this woman's mind during this ordeal? She begins to see that this Man she feared at first is really on her side. He is not her enemy. He is her friend, and now, Savior.


Notice 8:11 I wish I could have seen the face of Jesus when He said to her, “Neither do I condemn you, go, and sin no more.” When Jesus offers forgiveness to a sinner and that sinner accepts His forgiveness, the face of Jesus brightens with the glow of heaven upon it.

God loves to bestow forgiveness upon the soul of a sinner and then He is able to say, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” “And I will remember your sins no more.”

Don't think that Jesus was easy on her sin. If He forgave her, you can be sure she repented of her sin as all must to receive His forgiveness.

What a wonderful word to hear from the Lord: “Neither do I condemn you.”

All the voices of her accusers said, “Guilty;” the one voice that matters now says, “Not condemned.”

Have you ever wished there was a place of new beginnings...A way that you could begin all over again with the sins and failures of the past blotted out and washed clean!

“How I wish there was some wonderful place

Called the land of Beginning Again,

Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches

And all our poor selfish grief

Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door,

And never be put on again.”

There is such a place. The spiritual land of beginning again is found at the feet of Jesus.

What started out as the worst day of her life ended up as the best day of her life.

She would go back to her house, but she would go back a different woman. She would go back and share what Jesus had done for her.

What are we to do with our sins? What this woman did – Accept God's forgiveness, turn our back on sin and forget it. When God forgives, He forgets and remembers our sin no more.

Forgiveness is love accepted. God offers His love and forgiveness even now!