Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Tue, 08/12/2009 – 14:07
Bible Book: John / Johannes
Chapter: 8
Verse: 1 – 11
Text: John 8:1-11

This text (which is not used by the RCL) is quite a relevant Scripture in the context of the AIDS pandemic.

When I envisage the events taking place in verses 3 to 5, I “see” a group of dignified men, each of them bearing the authority of his religious and social position, pushing a woman forward to stand near Jesus while they form a circle around her (and Jesus). It is not hard to imagine their expressions and sounds of disapproval, indignation and judgment as one of them says in verses 4 and 5, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

In verse 6 the author describes the situation so that the attentive reader realises with surprise and indignation, “They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.” So the actual motive for the teachers of the law and the Pharisees was to lay a charge against Jesus!

This degraded the position of the woman standing there in front of them even more. She is less than a “sinner” in their eyes. She is a mere “object” – a convenient “case” they want to use as “bait” to trap Jesus. Their seeming concern about her adultery and the Law of Moses overshadows their evil plans with Jesus.

The events end with only Jesus and the woman standing there, facing each other. While the men disappear without a word, Jesus starts talking to her (contrary to social norms) and gives her permission to leave. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (verse 11). Do you remember that Jesus has said this to others as well? (John 5:14 and Matthew 9:2). Jesus acknowledges and forgives the woman’s sins as He has done for the sins of others (also compare Luke 7:36-50).

Jesus not only saves her from certain death, but restores her human dignity as well.

Author: N du Toit (Ds)
Language: English