In this passage from John, we hear about an encounter between Jesus, the scribes and Pharisees, a crowd of people, and a woman accused of adultery. Jesus and his disciples are in Jerusalem for the Festival of the Tabernacles. I, not being much of a Jewish historian, had to do a little research to learn what this festival was all about. The Festival of the Tabernacles was a week-long remembrance of the Exodus and the Israelites’ time living in booths in the wilderness. All male Jews were required to attend, and they built booths to stay in outside the city to live in with their families. See Leviticus 23:33-44 and Nehemiah 8:13-20 to learn more about the requirements.
In attending this required festival, Jesus has basically walked right into the lion’s den so-to-say. In John 5: 1-18, Jesus heals a lame man, and the Jews were looking to have him killed for performing a miracle because he did so on the Sabbath. Compound that with the fact that in this same John 5 passage, Jesus states that he is God, which infuriates the Jewish people even more. So to show up at the Festival of the Tabernacles is just asking for more trouble to ensue for Jesus.
Not one to back down from a debate with the religious leaders, Jesus goes back to the temple to teach. While there, the Pharisees bring forth a woman whom they have just caught in the act of adultery. According to the Law, see Leviticus 20:10, this woman should be put to death. I find it interesting that only the woman from the situation is being brought forth, but I digress. The Pharisees are looking to trick Jesus, but he is ready for them. He nonchalantly draws some words in the dirt and ignores them for the most part. But, his judgement is awesome…whoever hasn’t sinned ever before can cast the first stone. And what happens next, as Jesus continues to play in the dirt? Everyone leaves because they all know they too are sinners.
What I take away from this is that there is still hope for me, and for you too. Going back to 613 laws of the Old Testament, we all fall way short of expectations. If I just look at the first 10 commandments only, I fall short. I’m guessing you do too. But Jesus came to this world to save, not condemn, us (John 12:47). We are expected to live according to what the Bible tells us, but Jesus knows we will falter over and over again. He still loves us all the more. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.