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46. The adulterous woman
46. The adulterous woman
Ministry II (Jairus’ Daughter, 5,000 fed, Upon This rock etc)

46. The adulterous woman

John 8, 2-59. A.D. 29. Age 32. Jerusalem.

The adulterous woman. EARLY in the morning Jesus came again into the temple. The people came; and he sat down, and taught them.¶The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery They say unto Jesus, Master, Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.

But Jesus stooped, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them,

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Again Jesus stooped, and wrote on the ground. And they, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest: Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

When he had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said,

Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her,

Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

¶Jesus spake again unto the people, saying,

I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

The Pharisees therefore said, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered,

Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.

Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.

Then said they, Where is thy father? Jesus answered,

Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.

These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come. Then said Jesus again,

I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.

Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. And he said,

Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Then said they, Who art thou? And Jesus answered,

Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.

I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.

They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus,

When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

As he spake these words, many believed. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him,

If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

¶They answered, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered,

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

They answered, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith,

If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father.

Then they said, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus answered,

If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

Then answered the Jews, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered,

I have not a devil; but I honor my Father, and ye do dishonor me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

Then said the Jews, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets, and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: who makest thou thyself? Jesus answered,

If I honor myself, my honor is nothing: it is my Father that honoreth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: yet ye have not known him: but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you; but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.

Then said the Jews, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus answered,

Verily, verily I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

They took up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Scripture:  John 8:1-11

Meditation 1 of 4: The adulterous woman

Do you know the joy and freedom of repentance?  The grace of Jesus Christ has power to change our lives and to set us free from our unruly desires and passions. Jesus’ association with sinners upset the religious leaders.  They confronted him on the issue of adultery and retribution.  Jewish law treated adultery as a serious crime since it violated God’s ordinance and wreaked havoc on the stability of marriage and family life.  It was one of the three gravest sins punishable by death. This incident tells us a great deal about Jesus’ attitude to the sinner.  The scribes and Pharisees wanted to entrap Jesus with the religious and civil authorities. That is why they brought a woman caught in adultery before Jesus.  Jesus turned the challenge towards his accusers.  In effect he said: Go ahead and stone her!  But let the person who is without sin be the first to cast a stone.  The Lord leaves the matter to their own consciences.  When the adulterous woman is left alone with Jesus, he both expresses mercy and he strongly exhorts her to not sin again.  The scribes wished to condemn, Jesus wished to forgive and to restore the sinner to health.  His challenge involved a choice– either go back to your former way of sin and death or to reach out to the new way of life and happiness with him.  Jesus gave her pardon and a new start on life.  God’s grace enables us to confront our sin for what it is — unfaithfulness to God, and to turn back to God with a repentant heart and a thankful spirit for God’s mercy and forgiveness.  Do you know the joy of repentance and a clean conscience?

“God our Father, we find it difficult to come to you, because our knowledge of you is imperfect.  In our ignorance we have imagined you to be our enemy; we have wrongly thought that you take pleasure in punishing our sins; and we have foolishly conceived you to be a tyrant over human life.  But since Jesus came among us, he has shown that you are loving, that you are on our side against all that stunts life, and that our resentment against you was groundless.  So we come to you, asking you to forgive our past ignorance, and wanting to know more and more of you and your forgiving love, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Prayer of Saint Augustine) The adulterous woman

Scripture:  John 8:12-20

Meditation 2 of 4: 

Do you know what it’s like to be in total darkness, confused, disoriented, not knowing where to turn for help?  When the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years, confused and disoriented, and wishing they were back in their familiar huts at Egypt, God made his presence known to them through a pillar of fire at night and a cloud by day.  This light not only brought them assurance of safety and care, but it literally guided them through a trackless wasteland.  Around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the Festival of Lights, Jesus proclaims that he is the “light of the world”. This statement must have made a striking impression on the Jews who had gathered in Jerusalem for the occasion.  For eight nights the great candelabras which stood in the Temple courtyard lit the Jerusalem skyline with a blaze of dazzling light. Jesus’ statement very likely came at the end of the Festival when the great lights where extinguished.  In so many words, Jesus says he is the one, true light which no one can extinguish or diminish (see John 1:4-5).  He is light not only for God’s chosen people Israel, but for all people and   nations as well.

Many of the scribes and Pharisees reacted with shock and treated Jesus with hostility. They understood that such a claim had to do with the work which only God could do. The word light was especially associated with God. The Lord is my light (Psalm 27:1). The Lord will be your everlasting light (Isaiah 60:19). When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me (Micah 7:8). Jesus chastises the scribes and Pharisees for making bad judgments based on wrong assumptions and evil intentions.  Jesus bases his judgment not on human knowledge and perception but on God’s knowledge and revelation. Jesus is both just and merciful as none other can be. His light both exposes the darkness of sin in us, which is hidden from others, and heals our sinful infirmities as well. Jesus’ light also produces abundant life and fruit in us.  Just as natural life depends on light (without it nothing could live or grow), so the light of heaven produces spiritual life in those who receive it. The light which Jesus gives enables us to walk freely and confidently without stumbling in the darkness of sin and disbelief. His light warms our heart to the truth of God’s love and it opens our vision to the reality of God’s kingdom. Do you walk confidently in the light of God’s truth and love?

“O gracious and Holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive you, diligence to seek you, patience to wait for you, eyes to behold you, a heart to meditate upon you, and a life to proclaim you; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Prayer of Saint Benedict) 

Scripture:  John 8:21-30

Meditation 3 of 4:

 Do you know the healing power of the cross of Christ? When the people of Israel were afflicted with serpents in the wilderness because of their sin, God instructed Moses: “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live” (Numbers 21:8). The bronze serpent points to the cross of Christ which defeats sin and death and obtains everlasting life for those who believe. The result of Jesus “being lifted up on the cross” and his rising and exaltation to the Father’s right hand in heaven, is our “new birth in the Spirit” and adoption as sons and daughters of God. God not only redeems us, but he fills us with his own divine life and power that we might share in his glory. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit that we may have power to be his witnesses and to spread and defend the gospel by word and action, and to never be ashamed of Christ’s Cross. Are you ready to witness the truth and joy of the gospel to those around you?

 While many believed in Jesus and his message, many others, including the religious leaders, opposed him. Some openly mocked him when he warned them about their sin of unbelief.  Some of his listeners mocked him when he warned them about their sin of unbelief.  It’s impossible to be indifferent to Jesus’ word and his judgments.  We are either for him or against him.  There is no middle ground or neutral parties.   When Jesus spoke about going away he was speaking about his return to his Father and to his glory. His opponents could not follow him because by their continuous disobedience to the word of God and their refusal to accept him, they had shut themselves off from God. Jesus warned them that if they continued to refuse him they would die in their sins. Jesus’ words echoed the prophetic warning given to Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 3:18 and 18:18) where God warns his people to heed his word before the time is too late. God gives us time to turn to him and to receive his grace, but that time is right now.

To sin literally means to miss the mark or to be off target.  The essence of sin is that it diverts us from God and from our true purpose in life — to know the source of all truth and beauty which is God himself and to be united with God in everlasting joy.  When Adam first sinned, he hid himself from God (Genesis 3:8-10).  That is what sin does; it separates us from the One who is all loving, all-wise, and all-just.  Jesus went on to explain that if people could not recognize him in his word then they would recognize him in the Cross — when the Son of man is lifted up.  The cross is the ultimate proof of God’s love for us.God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).   To fail to recognize Jesus and where he came from is to remain in spiritual darkness; to believe Jesus and his words is to walk in the joy and light of God’s truth.  There are certain opportunities in life that come and do not return. Each of us is given the opportunity to know and to accept Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior.  But that opportunity can be rejected and lost. Life here is limited and short, but how we live it has everlasting consequences. Do you take advantage of the present time to make room for God so that your life will count for eternity?

“Lord Jesus, grant this day, to direct and sanctify, to rule and govern our hearts and bodies, so that all our thoughts, words and deeds may be according to your Father’s law and thus may we be saved and protected through your mighty help.” 

Scripture:  John 8:31-42

Meditation 4 of 4: 

Do you know the joy and freedom of submission to God and his word? Freedom today usually means “freedom to do as I please”.  This notion of freedom, however, is a mask for servitude to one’s passions and unruly desires and to the power of sin.  Jesus offers his disciples true freedom — freedom from the slavery of fear, the slavery of  selfishness, freedom from the fear of what others might think or say about us, and freedom from hurtful desires and the power of sin. The good news of the gospel is that Christ has set us free from the power of sin.  How is this possible?  Through the power of his Holy Spirit we can choose to walk in his way of love and holiness. A disciple is a follower and a listener.  If we listen to the words of Jesus, with a humble and teachable spirit, he will give us the grace and the power to follow in his way of holiness.  Ask the Lord to open your ears to his word that you may be attentive to his voice.

Jesus came to do the will of his Father. He was not spared the cross which he willing embraced for our sake. His obedience reversed the curse of Adam’s disobedience. The Father crowned him with victory over sin, death, and Satan. Jesus shows us the way to true freedom and victory–freely submitting our heart, mind, and will to an all-merciful, all-loving, and all-wise God. What the Father offers us is a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom.14:17).The happiest, freest people are those who delight in God. Their joy is the pleasure of doing the Father’s will. Do you know the joy of obedience?

“Lord, write your words of love and truth upon my heart and make me a diligent student and a worthy disciple of your word.” 

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