John 8

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The Adulteress

Talk about textual variant.
The Gospel according to John Excursus: The Woman Caught in Adultery (7:53–8:11)

These verses are present in most of the medieval Greek miniscule manuscripts, but they are absent from virtually all early Greek manuscripts that have come down to us, representing great diversity of textual traditions.

John 7:53–8:11 ESV
53 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.”
Where is the man? That the Pharisees only brought out the woman shows two things.
1) They were seeking only to trap Jesus and were not concerned with the woman or her sin. The woman was a pawn in their game.
Have you ever been questioned like this? Has someone asked you a question about the Bible, but clearly didn’t care about the answer, but only cared to try and trap you?
While we may not be able to identify with their motives, but we can certainly identify with their attitude. How often do we only see someone’s sin and not the person? How often do we identify someone as their sin? This woman is called ‘the adulteress.’ Her name is unknown; she is merely identified with her sin. Sometimes we are closer to the Pharisees than we realize.
2) The Pharisees clearly held double-standards.
Deuteronomy 22:23–24 ESV
23 “If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
This double-standard we can also identify with. Perhaps not male-female, as it is here, but certainly we have categories in our mind. If two people commit the same sin, we may treat them differently based on these categories.
We often read this and see the Pharisees and scribes as the ‘bad guys,’ and so we try and identify ourselves with Jesus in this passage. However, if we’re honest, we’re more often the Pharisees. We often see the sin and not the sinner. We often have double-standards that we do not even realize exist.
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