Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bible Study John 8:1-11 Woman Caught in Adultery & Wisdom+Love of Jesus

John 8 is a relative long chapter with 3 powerful teachings. So we will break it into 3 posts. The first part 8:1-11 is the famous story of "Woman Caught in Adultery". But the real issue was not the woman but the wisdom and the love of Jesus.

Water to Light
This incidence was a detour of Jesus as "the Giver of Living Water" in John 7:37 and "Light of the World" in 8:12. But in deeper consideration, it is about the living water washing away the sin and the light to lead the way for right living as in 8:11 "I forgive you, go and sin no more".

Quiet Time of Jesus
v1 tell us that Jesus spent his quiet time alone in the Mt of Olives. v2 tells us he went to temple to teach early in the morning. No mention of the disciples with Him but may be John was told to be with Him in the early morning and recorded the incidence for us. The temple was filled with people (v3 All the people came to him).

Q1. How can we tell the incident was a planned attack on Jesus?
  • It says so in verse 6. Always try to find the obvious answer in the Bible first. Intention is of the heart and can only be inferred, but never absolutely sure, from the outward actions. Now that it was declared in the Bible under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we can then claim it is the truth. The outward signs are:
  • Scribes and Pharisees came together. They disagreed on their doctrine but they can unite to get rid their common enemy - Jesus. Jesus telling the truth and demonstrating His power and identity as Son of God, was making them very uncomfortable.
  • Woman only, where was the man? Most commentaries see the man as a paid agent for the job of trapping the woman. He got his rewards and left.
  • Whatever the answer, it is bad for Jesus.  
    • Yes to stone -> Jesus condemned the woman;against His mission. He was supposed to help the sinners, poor, outcast of the society. 
    • No - Jesus broke the Laws of Moses.
  • Additional Notes from the Old Testaments:
    • Deu 22:23  If a girl who is a virgin is engaged to a husband, and a man finds 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 with stones that they die; the girl because she did not cry out in the city(she did not ask for help implying willingness to commit the adultery) , and the man because he has humbled his neighbor's wife. So you shall put away evil from among you. 
    • Lev 24:14  Bring forth the despiser outside the camp. And let all that heard lay their hands on his head. Let all the congregation stone him.
      Deu 17:7  The hands of the witnesses shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterwards the hands of all the people.
      The first to cast the stones are the witnesses who heard the disobedience acts. The elders were probably not the witnesses and also they did not bring the man and hence could not cast the first stones without breaking the Laws then.
Q2. What can we learn from Jesus in handling a heated accusation or arguments?
  • Stay calm and keep quiet for relative long period of time for the emotions to cool down so that attention be drawn to right issue.
    • v6 tells us Jesus just bent down, ignoring their commotions, and write on the ground. This is a difficult act for me to follow. When accuse, I will want to immediately defend, often even before the accuser complete his accusation. Learn to keep quiet and if unable, do something to distract the boiling emotions inside!
    • v7 tells us they continue to ask him. We don't have a multimedia Bible to tell us the emotions behind their speech. At this time, I can also guess that the emotion of the crowd has died down quite a bit and they while insistent on demanding an answer was able to hear and understand better. 
    • Jesus stood up, after they are ready to hear well, and give them the shocking challenge - only he who has no sin can stone her first!
    • I believe that if they have not calmed now first and could not reflect on their life, they would claim that they have no sin and stone the woman.
  • Jesus once again bent down and write on the ground. Many commentators believed that Jesus now write the sins of the ones in front of him, beginning from the oldest. We do not know but it is a reasonable fill in. What did Jesus write is a good game to play. But is not essential to the main teaching of this incidence. The main teaching is in v11 "I forgive and sin no more".
  • The woman has been judged and offered forgiveness. Jesus had actually provided the woman a way out to freedom. She would not be stoned again. 
Q3 How can we be as wise as Jesus?
A simple answer is to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5).

The other is to know the truth.
  • Jesus' statement is actually a reflection and a practice of the truth. Telling the truth is easy. Just the tell the truth. 
  • Telling lies are difficult. You have to concoct out the stories to suite different people and different times. You need to remember the various versions of the lies that you told to different people and always trying hard to be consistent. It is stressful and there will be inconsistencies and will be found out. Knowing and telling the truth will set us free and give us peace. This comes in later part of Chapter 8 in v31.
    Q4 If you are the woman, how would you feel? What you would do?
    If one's feeling is 'I'm so stupid. I should not have been tricked. I got a lucky break this time. Better be careful next time'. Then I'm afraid one has not repented. The sin remained.

    On the other hand, she went back to her husband and seek forgiveness and lived the decision of husband, forgave and stayed or divorced, she would be truly repentant.

    We must know that while God forgave our sins, the society and friends may not. The damages and other consequences of our sinful acts remain and need God and us to put them right.

    Q5 What we sin, do we leave God out of shamefulness or come back to God to seek restoration?
    Don't ever fall into the traps of the devil's accusation and condemnation and leave God. Don't focus on self and your failure. Focus on the Jesus that paid for your sins and the Father God that love you. He sees your pains and desire to be well again. He is waiting for you to return with open arms. Go back to His love for you. Heb 4:14-16.

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