by Pastor Gene
They went each to his own house, 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
- Do some brainstorming together as a group. In one or two words, what is this story about?
- This story does not appear in the oldest existing manuscripts of John’s Gospel (see the margin note in your Bible). What do you think is going on with that? Should we be studying this passage at all? (Most scholarly commentaries skip it altogether or treat it as an appendix.
- Let’s do a ‘study in perspective.’ Try to see this story from the view point of the woman who is being accused. Discuss how the story looks from her view. Which details of the story are now emphasized? Which become less important? Then do the same for the other characters in the story. What does it look like from the Pharisees’ perspective? From the crowds’? From the disciples’? From Jesus’ perspective?
- After the events of John 7, we read that Jesus “went to the Mount of Olives” and then “early in the morning He came again to the Temple” (John 8:1-2). Why do you think He went to the Mount of Olives? Why did He go to the Temple? Look at Luke 21:37–38 & 22:39. Do you think it’s significant that the Mount of Olives is the very place where the Messiah is prophesied to return (Zechariah 14:4)?
- One thing is clear: the woman in our story is guilty. No one, including Jesus, suggests that she might be innocent. How does this fact impact the story? How does it relate to us? How are similar themes described in Zechariah 3:1-5?
- The Pharisees were using the Law to condemn this woman. But they were missing something big! What were they missing? See Matthew 9:9-13 & 23:23 for clues.
- God gave His Law in order to keep people free. How were the Pharisees misusing the Law? How is it misused today?
- In our story, Jesus “wrote with his finger on the ground” twice. Why would this even need to be said? Obviously, if He wrote on the ground, it would have been with His finger, right? Might there be some deeper meaning here? See Exodus 8:1-19, Deuteronomy 9:10 & Psalm 8:3-4 for clues.
- What did the Lord write upon the wall with what appeared to be “the fingers of a human hand” in Daniel 5:1-30. What had the Babylonians done to provoke God’s anger? What precisely was God’s warning to that nation? How might this same warning apply to America in 2022?
- On the true Christmas Day, Jesus stepped into the world as one of us. And now, in John 8, the same “finger” that wrote the Law, created worlds, and judged Babylon begins to write again – this time in the dusty Palestinian dirt. Consider the implications of this wonderous moment!
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