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John 7:53-8:11, The Woman Caught in Adultery

Monday, February 26

The Woman Caught in Adultery

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from Clergy Stuff.


Two questions have plagued me from this story in John:

1) Why did Jesus write on the ground? (And what was it, exactly, that he was writing?)

- and -

2) Where was the other person who took part in the adulterous relationship? (I mean, they just caught the woman in the "very act" of adultery . . . where was the other party?)

I realize that first-century, Jewish sexual mores unfairly placed the onus of sexual monogamy on women. But, geez . . . it takes two to tango! There had to be another party.

But perhaps therein lies the rub—might the people who caught the woman in adultery so easily throw her judgment to Jesus only to test him? At least that's what John seems to imply. 

Where else do we see (primarily) men shaming and using women for purposes of making themselves look better? You don't have to look far to begin to understand the recent phenomenon of #MeToo and how much Jesus would have been behind it. (At least I believe he would.) Once again, we see Jesus not falling for the traps people set for him. And we also see him siding with the oppressed and accused . . . never the other way around.

Narrative Lectionary Text: John 7:53-8:11

Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’

Earlier Event: February 25
John 13:1-17, Jesus Washes Feet