John 8:1-11 (The Message)
1-2 Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them. 3 -6 The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, "Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?" They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him. 6 -8Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, "The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone." Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt. 9 -10 Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. "Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?" 11 "No one, Master." "Neither do I," said Jesus. "Go on your way. From now on, don't sin."
One of the Ten Commandments given to Moses and the people of Israel is that one should not commit adultery. In Leviticus 20: 10 it says, “If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.” Note that according to the law both the man and woman should be put to death. The words are clear in John she was caught in the midst of the adulterous act, yet the man had not been presented as an offender. According to the law the witnesses to the act were to be the first to throw the stone for the guilt would be laid on them if the had not been truthful.
There are those in this world who are ready to condemn the actions of others. They are zealous in their efforts to bring condemnation for what they feel is wrong. Yet they are just as guilty of many sins themselves and they are not any better than those they self condemn, for all have sinned. They act as the judge and jury passing sentence and executing it. Jesus pointed this out to the accusers of the woman. It was true they had caught her in adultery. It was true according to the law they had the right to stone her for her actions, but the witness had to go first and the witnesses were the religious leaders. They didn’t want to be the first to stone the woman. They would rather incite others to have hate and bitterness towards her. As soon as Jesus said let the sinless among you throw the first stone their own sins were exposed from their hearts. They began walking away one by one until no one was left but Jesus and the woman. Instead of condemning her Jesus sent told her to go on her way and not to sin again. In Matthew 7:1-2 Jesus had this to say, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” In others words, show compassion and compassion will be granted to you, but show contempt and contempt will find you.