Confrontation in the Courtyard

Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:08
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John 7:53-8:11
Notes for the message:

1. Teaching in the Courtyard, 7:53-8:2.

This arrangement of the paragraph throws light for us upon the loneliness of Christ. “Every man went to his home, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.” He had no home of His own. He was house-less and homeless in the world He made, and among the people He loved unto death.

2. The Law of Moses and Adultery, 8:3-6a.

Verses 4-5 -- Having asserted His authority on matters of the Law and having declared all of His actions the will of the Father, Jesus was put on the spot when the scribes and Pharisees wanted to know what He would do with the woman. Of course, they didn’t really care about His opinion. As on many occasions in the gospels, they merely hoped to find some means of trapping Jesus with His own words (Matt. 22:15; Mark 12:13; Luke 20:20). Admittedly, theirs was a thorny question. The Law of Moses condemned adulterers to be stoned publicly.
Leviticus 20:10 NASB95
‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Deuteronomy 22:22–24 NASB95
“If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. “If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
The problem: Roman law reserved execution for Roman courts. The Jews did not have the authority to stone the woman without Roman permission. It was a perfect setup. To honor God’s law, Jesus would incur the wrath of Rome. To submit to Roman law, Jesus would have to ignore the law of God.
The woman was indeed taken in the very act; but there are so many guilty of acts, who are not taken. These have no right to exercise the sword of judgment. Undetected crime has no authority to cast stones at crime detected.

3. The Finger of God, 8:6b– 8.

Verse 6 -- Writing in the dust:
1) unlawful to write even two letters on the sabbath but writing with dust is permissible. If this event took place on the eighth day of the feast (which was to be kept as a day of rest) then Jesus demonstrates that He knows well not only the law but also the oral interpretations.
2) what Jesus does here echoes an OT passage, which turns this into a symbolic action.
Jeremiah 17:13 NASB95
O Lord, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord.
These who are written down are not part of the book of life;
Exodus 32:32 NASB95
“But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!”
Daniel 12:1 NASB95
“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
Summary: It appears that Jesus is associating these with those whom God condemns for forsaking Himself and whom He consigns to death. They have rejected God’s living water (John 7:38-39), thereby forsaking God who sent Jesus, and therefore committing a most shameful act worthy of death.
Verse 7 -- “He who is without sin among you . . . “
What this statement accomplishes:
1) it relieves Jesus from the charge of having instigated a stoning.
2) it ensures that there will not be a stoning, since none of the accusers will want to take responsibility for it.
3) it causes them to reflect on their own sinfulness before God.
Their withdrawal was in fact a confession of sin. Those who came to condemn ended up condemning themselves by not casting a stone.
By not following through on the charges they had thrown out her case.

4. The Law of Christ, 8:9-11.

There was only one still present who could still execute the judgment, who was without sin and thus could throw the first stone.
Dr. Campbell Morgan draws our attention to two notable features in our Lord’s treatment of the woman. First, instead of addressing her as a sinner or worse, He called her Woman, the very mode of address by which He was accustomed to speak to His own mother. By so doing He accorded to her the full measure of dignity, which was hers by virtue of being God’s creature, made for His glory. Second, no inquiry was made after her name. None is reported. So it was with the sinful woman who came in to Him as He sat at dinner, and washed His feet with her tears. The name is hidden that no stigma may abide. Love is kind. Love thinks no evil. Love covers a multitude of sins.
Here Jesus grants pardon, not acquittal, since the call to leave off sinning shows he knew she was indeed guilty of the adultery.
* The accusers wanted to condemn but lacked the opportunity;
* Jesus could have done so, but he did not.
The Master saw deeply enough to know that the heart of the woman was bowed with true penitence for her sin. All that was needed was a warning to give full proof of the power of forgiveness in her life during the coming days. “Go, and sin no more.”
Here is mercy and righteousness. He condemned the sin and not the sinner plus He called her to a new life.
The gospel is not only the forgiveness of sins, but a new quality of life that overcomes the power of sin (cf. 8:32-36; 1 Jn. 3:4-6).
John 8:32–36 NASB95
and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
1 John 3:4–6 NASB95
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
There are three areas of judgment in which we are directly concerned. Others judge us (we do not forget that this may be reversed), the Lord judges us, and we judge ourselves.
1) Who does not shrink from the very thought of being brought before one’s fellows to answer for his sins? Accusers are many, and sinful hearts are all too prone to delight in the defection or moral collapse of another. At such times, one can echo David’s anguish of heart that breathes through his words to the prophet Gad, “Please let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are very great. But do not let me fall into the hand of man” (! Chron. 21:13). Yet what we fear at the hands of man is simply the effects of judgment, the loss of reputation, the humiliation that comes with the realization that one cannot longer have the place of public esteem which was his.
2) With the Lord’s judgment, we stand before absolute holiness. It will be no light thing to be judged of the Lord, as though it were a relief after suffering at the hands of men. He that is without sin sees every sin and will leave no sense of comfort or satisfaction in it as He finally conforms us to His image that He may admit us fully to His fellowship
3) One of the great values of the Word is its revelation of God’s displeasure upon sin, that those who are His children may accept His verdict upon their sins as their own. To confess sin is literally to say the same thing about it as God says about it. Self-judgment is only complete when it brings a renunciation of the sin into which we have fallen.
1 Corinthians 11:31–32 NASB95
But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
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