Chapter 8 of the book of John picks up the morning after the events of chapter 7. Tensions are a bit high in the temple; the Pharisees are starting to get really annoyed with Jesus. Yet still in the morning time Jesus arises and goes into the temple to teach.
As he does this the scribes and Pharisees come to Him with a woman that they “caught committing adultery.” According to the law they she should have been stoned but they wanted to know what Jesus believed should happen? Would He simply dismiss the situation or would He uphold the Law of Moses?
What Jesus did took them all by surprise. All he did was bow down to the ground and begin to draw in the sand. He then stood up and said one sentence that so drastically changed the atmosphere at that moment…
He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
In one sentence Jesus turned the mirror of judgment around for those men. They were suddenly face to face with their own sin, their own lusts of the flesh. Scripture says in verse 9
Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even tot the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. Jesus then turned to the woman and after telling her that He also will not condemn her, that she should “go and sin no more.”
Here in this passage Jesus is not simply dismissing this woman of her sins. Rather He has forgiven her and said to sin no more. Essentially He was calling her to repent. Repentance being a complete turning away from the things you used to do. There is a false belief that you can say sorry for your sins and then you can walk away and just do whatever you want. Christ, however, clearly says SIN NO MORE.
Now there is a difference between a person who is living a daily life with God and walking through the struggles of sin and occasionally gives into the temptation but then gets back up and keep striving to overcome; and the person who blatantly sins. Person who blatantly sins just to sin is not truly walking in the forgiveness that God offers.
What’s also interesting about this passage is what He caused to happen in the hearts of those who were ready to stone this woman. When Jesus challenged them to look at themselves they were face to face with their own sin. No sin is great than another sin.
It is normal for man to try to justify his sin against another’s. Often they man will say “Well I know I drink but at least I’ve never killed anyone.” Comparing ourselves to others is how we make ourselves feel better. But in God’s eyes; all sin is sin. Drunkenness is the same as murder. Lying is the same as homosexuality. Not honoring your mother and father is the same as adultery.
All of the above are wrong in God’s sight, yet He is faithful to forgive those who truly repent of those sinful activities. He is faithful to help those who walk away from those things and strive to live a righteous and holy life.