Imagine going to the temple to hear Jesus that morning...the rabbi everyone was talking about. I'm sure many had their children in tow. I'm just as sure most mamas pulled their children out of the crowd and took them home when those angry men threw the adulterous woman into the center of the temple and created their own "court." And actually, that's where they were...in the temple court. Jesus had been teaching and his sermon was interrupted by this fiasco.
We know the scribes & Pharisees weren't really concerned about the law. That's what they used, "the law says we should stone her to death. What do you say?" Because if they were concerned about the law, they would have brought the man also. I have to wonder about that trap. How was it set up? Were they snickering, drawing straws? Who was watching? Was the man in their midst even as they accused the woman? Were they all guilty?
We know what happened. Jesus knelt on the ground and wrote in the dirt. And the men left conscience-stricken from the oldest to the youngest. And he told the woman he didn't condemn her...but to go and sin no more. Grace. Forgiveness. Instruction in righteousness.
And Jesus used this sermon interruption for one of the greatest sermon recoveries ever. In fact, he moved to the treasury of the temple to teach it. I think it was because he was teaching true treasures. Imagine how powerful this sermon became after what the people had just seen! He told the people these things:
- I am the Light of the world. If you follow me, you won't walk in darkness--you'll have Light.
- I didn't come to judge. But I could if I wanted to because my judgment is right.
- My Father is God. Your father is the devil--directed to scribes & Pharisees.
- I am the Truth who sets you free.
- I do only those things the Father tells me to do.
- Whoever is of God listens to God.
- My honor comes from God, not man.
The scribes and Pharisees came to stone the message. But after Jesus taught these powerful truths, they turned to stone the Messenger.