Caught in the Act

by pastortimfowler

One of my favorite parts of the Bible is John 8:1-11, the woman caught in the act of adultery. Today I was reading it again and again I was blown away. In case you have never read it I will try to sum it up for you.
Jesus was teaching a bunch of people in the temple, (church for us). There were these guys called Pharisees. These were very religious men who knew the Bible, at that time, the Old Testament, by memory. They could quote it without even missing a punctuation mark.
Let me pause here to say that I wish I knew the Bible that well. I also wish that everyone I knew that claimed to be Christians would strive to know the Bible that well. Even if we never got it all memorized, we would have to be better off for knowing the Word of God better.
So these guys brought a woman to Jesus and she had been caught having sex with a man that was not her husband. The Old Testament law required that this woman be stoned to death for this act and the Pharisees were asking Jesus what He was going to do about it.
If that seems extreme, try to remember that the Bible is very clear that the price of sin is death and the Old Testament law was so that the Jews saw that price just as much as they saw the miracles of God when they lived right. This is another teaching for another time though.
Jesus is the Righteous Judge and like any judge has the right to pass any sentence up to the maximum under the law. So here is what He did. He wrote something in the dirt with His finger. The Bible does not say what He wrote but I have a theory. There is only one other place in the Bible that God writes anything with His finger. In Daniel 5:22-28, the finger of writes, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN, which means, counted, counted, weighed and divided. The purpose was to show an unholy people that God knew everyone of them and that everyone of them were found unholy and that they would become a divided or broken people for their sinfulness.
The Pharisees who brought this woman to Jesus would immediately know this writing and because they were a sinful bunch, they were left with no choice but to lay down their stones when Jesus said, Let you who have no sin throw the first stone at her.
Now this does not excuse the woman. She was in front of the Judge, guilty as charged. But the Judge can do something that is well within His jurisdiction. He can show mercy. So Jesus tells the woman, I don’t condemn you, go sin no more.
Are we like the Pharisees? Are we learning God’s word so we can find fault in others? Think about this…What were these guys doing to have caught her in the very act? Were they looking through windows, following her around until they found something wrong? Then when they caught her, I bet they didn’t let her get dressed and fix her hair before they took her to Jesus, all the while they were dressed in their finest holy attire, looking like they were special.
Jesus never asked us to look good, but rather to do good. He never asked us to catch wrong doers, but to stop doing wrong. He asked us to love even those who were enemies and pray for them and show the same compassion and mercy that He did.
He told her that she was sinning, nothing she didn’t know already. He told her that she was not condemned because He could forgive her sins. Then He told her to stop having this affair, sin no more.
This is how we should handle things. Like Jesus. If we are seriously wanting to see someone sin, all we need to do is watch ourselves and we too will be caught in the act.

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One Comment to “Caught in the Act”

  1. Does it speak of this woman any more in the Bible? Do we know if she followed His word and ‘behaved’ accordingly?

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