Occasionally when John 8:1-11 is being discussed, it is interesting to note some of the emphases and suppositions many make about the event. This is the record of the woman caught in adultery. Some wonder where the man is with whom the woman was committing adultery and why he isn’t being charged. Others suppose that the woman has been set up and being used as a pawn in this trap to corner Jesus. Still others portray her as an entirely sympathetic character who probably had no choice but to do what she did.

         While there may be some merit to differing degrees to some of these points, I wonder if they have been made so much that we’ve missed God’s point. What we know precisely of this woman from the text is that she was caught committing adultery. She may have been the pitiable character described above. Or, for all we know, she may have been a brazen reprobate with a calloused conscience who was cheating on her husband and neglecting her kids. She may have been a loose living home-wrecker who was having an affair with another woman’s husband. We just don’t know whether she was more deserving of sympathy or scorn. We do know this—she was caught in adultery. Then she stood before Jesus. And Jesus not only disarmed her self-righteous accusers from being able to condemn her, he himself passed over condemning her, even though he was the only one fit to do so.

         Could it be that one of the reasons some want to see the woman less culpable for her situation is that otherwise our standard for forgiveness and justice is turned on its head? If she is to be forgiven, don’t we want her to deserve it? Must not there be some extenuating circumstance that makes the grace shown her more merited? But that’s the thing about grace—it’s never merited. Grace is not just for people who’ve done annoying things. Grace is for people who’ve done abominable things.

         Make no mistake about it. Anyone who remains unrepentant in their sin before God stands condemned. But for some people, there is something that happens when you stand before Jesus and you are vulnerable, helpless and have nowhere to turn. That can strip down pride and prompt true repentance. That can break a hard heart and make it useful for the Master.

         Jesus’ parting words for the woman were, “Go, and from now on sin no more.” When she came she had been caught in adultery. When she left she was caught in grace.

 Brad Fry

Published in: on November 3, 2010 at 11:39 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m really enjoying your blog! Please keep it up. I especially like this article, so true.

    • Thank you! We miss y’all. Love y’all.

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