Series: Short Stories with Jesus
Message: Hot Woman, Cold Men.
Preacher: Danni Sherwood
Reflection: Paddy McCoy
Live Wonder: Jessyka Albert
Live Adventure: Jessyka Albert
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: John 8:3–11 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: The story of the woman caught in adultery should probably be titled something like, “The Jewish Leaders Seek to Kill Jesus.” If you read all of John Chapters 7 and 8, you’ll see that the Pharisees were practically salivating at the idea of silencing Jesus’ voice. John 7:1 sets this stage with the statement, “the Jews were seeking to kill Him.” At every turn and with every breath, they were hoping to catch Jesus in some wrong that would allow them to have Him arrested and killed. They wanted to get Him so badly that they didn’t even care if Jesus were caught breaking their law or Roman law. Their motto? We will do whatever it takes to get rid of Jesus.
So from their perspective, the woman in this story was just a pawn to be used to accomplish a greater goal, killing Jesus. This pervasive hostile attitude among those most threatened by Jesus is important to understand as we enter into the encounter with the woman caught in the act of adultery. Sadly, we don’t know anything about this woman other than the alleged “fact” that she was caught in the act. I say alleged because according to their law, only two witnesses were needed to convict someone of a wrongdoing. The testimony of two witnesses in the trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin allowed Him to be taken to the Romans to be crucified.
There are several interesting aspects of this story that we will investigate as the week progresses. One, the woman had no voice; she appeared to be at the mercy of a group of men. Two, the men accusing the woman referred to the law found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, but the law actually says that the consequences for being caught in the act of adultery belong to both the man and the woman . . . and where is the man in this scenario? It takes two to tango, as the saying goes. Three, after several failed attempts, the Pharisees finally believed they had Jesus trapped. If Jesus were to say she should be stoned, they could hand Him over to the Roman authorities for usurping their power. On the other hand, if Jesus were to argue for leniency in defense of the woman, then He could be accused of ignoring the law and they could have Him tried for breaking their rules.
As we spend this week unpacking the story, take time to think of how this event would have looked and felt if you were the Pharisees, or the woman, or Jesus, or one of the onlookers in the crowd. Whatever the case, the Pharisees end up stunned, the woman is rescued, and the onlookers are wowed as Jesus shows Himself to be, once again, the ultimate authority.
Recalibrate: Have you ever wanted something so badly that you took an extreme action (by your standards) to get it?
Respond: Pray for God to give you wisdom as you read about these encounters with Jesus, that you may see through Jesus’ eyes and learn what can be applied to your own life.
Research: Read through the book of Proverbs and journal about the wisdom God reveals to you in His Word.
Padraic “Paddy” McCoy currently serves as young adult pastor at Kettering Adventist Church. He enjoys authentic discipleship, attempts at intergenerational connections in our churches, and having as much fun as possible. His wife Tricia is a social worker specializing in at-risk adolescents, and his two teenagers, Ayden and Allayna teach him daily about the love of Christ.
One day your child might come and “tattle” to you about their sibling, their friend, or a classmate. What will your reaction be? How will you handle that situation? What lessons from Jesus can you pull from this short story?
Do you know what a tattle tale is? It’s someone who tells on another person for doing something wrong. In this story there are some tattle tales! Jesus reminds us that we all sometimes do bad things. Today, tattle about good things you see people doing.
In this story, we see that an adulterous woman is singled out by the Pharisees and brought before Jesus. Have you ever done something wrong and were then singled out? How did that make you feel? Have you ever singled others out for their wrongs? Today try to find ways to point out the good in those around you.