Study Notes

John 8:1-11

8:1 To The Mount Of Olives

This verse really ties in with the last one:

John 7:53-8:1 And everyone went to his home. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

In the middle east generally, and in the Jewish culture specifically, hospitality is part of their very natures. Strangers are constantly welcomed in to homes where they are fed and sheltered. Jesus' high profile should have guaranteed Him a place to stay for the night. But remember that the ruling Jews hated Him, and even those who believed in Him were afraid of being put out of their synagogue. So everyone went to their homes, but He went to spend the night outside.

Do you leave Christ outside at night? Do you invite Him in before sitting down in front of the television? Do you invite Him in before you start hitting the booze? Or reading that magazine? Everyone went to their homes, but He went to spend the night outside.

8:2 Early Morning

The next day, Jesus entered the temple again. It was early in the morning, and all the people were coming to Him. The early morning is the best time to seek the Lord:

Ps. 5:3 In the morning, O LORD, Thou wilt hear my voice; In the morning I will order {my} {prayer} to Thee and {eagerly} watch.

Ps. 88:13 But I, O LORD, have cried out to Thee for help, And in the morning my prayer comes before Thee.

He sat down and began to teach the standing crowd. In those days, it was customary for teachers to sit as they taught.

Seek the Lord in the morning like the Israelites sought the manna. Remember that if they didn't get it in the morning, the opportunity melted away! How much more important it is to seek the true bread from heaven, Jesus Christ, first thing.

Lam. 3:22-23 The LORDS lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.

If you've gotten out of the habit of seeking the Lord's instruction and mercy new each morning, start again Monday morning!

8:3-6a Caught In Adultery

Adultery. It was forbidden in the Law of God, including the Ten Commandments:

Exod. 20:14 "You shall not commit adultery."

The Law of God mandated a death sentence for those caught in adultery:

Lev. 20:10 'If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

(Notice that the Scribes and Pharisees conveniently forgot to bring the man as well!)

But the Roman government had just recently issued a decree that took away the Jews' right to capital punishment.

This had devastated the Jews. You see, when Jacob pronounced blessings on each of his 12 sons, of Judah he said,

Gen. 49:10 "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him {shall be} the obedience of the peoples.

Shiloh, which means "one who brings peace," was their Messiah, who would have the obedience of all peoples. They knew that the Word of God said He would come before the scepter departed from Judah.

What was the scepter? What did it represent? The scepter was the symbol of dominion and authority. It was specifically tied to capital punishment. Remember that Queen Esther said,

Esth. 4:11 "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live.

So the Jews' right to administer the death penalty was not to be taken from them until Messiah had come.

But an edict was passed by the Roman empire outlawing the Jews' right to capital punishment. They had taken away the scepter from Judah! "The high priest that year went through Jerusalem in sackcloth and ashes bewailing that the Word of God had been broken, that the scepter had departed from Judah, but Shiloh had not yet come." (Missler) You see, they believed that Messiah had not yet come. But He had come! He had been born in a manger years before, and would soon begin His ministry! Shiloh, their Messiah, had already come!

So, without the authority to issue the death penalty, the Scribes and Pharisees thought they had Jesus trapped. If He said, "stone her," then He would be put to death for violating Roman Law. If He said, "don't stone her," then He would be rejected by the people for nullifying the Law of God.

8:6b-9 The Finger Of God

Anyone else would've been in a pickle. But not Jesus. He simply stooped down and began to write on the ground with His finger. The finger of God is always able to silence the enemies of God. In Exodus 8, we read of Moses and Pharaoh's magicians going head to head. Time and again, when Moses effected a miracle, the magicians would match it. But then came the plague of gnats.

Exod. 8:18-19 And the magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God."...

And we don't hear them speak or resist again. In Exodus 31, we read that God...

Exod. 31:18 ...gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.

The 10 Commandments were written by the finger of God. And they have silenced all who are in enmity with God.

Rom. 3:19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God

God can silence His enemies with one finger.

Of course, Jesus is God, and somehow managed to silence His enemies again. What was He writing? Are the Scriptures silent here? Possibly. But then again, we read in Jeremiah 17,

Jer. 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake Thee will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD.

This is no small coincidence. Remember, Jesus had just yesterday proclaimed,

John 7:37-38 ..."If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'"

It is possible that the names of these same scribes and Pharisees who rejected Him yesterday were possibly being written on the earth today.

Where will your name be written? In the Book of Life for receiving Christ, or on the earth for rejecting Him?

8:10-11 Law And Grace

Jesus masterfully got victory in the situation. Wasn't He still violating the Law by refusing to condemn her? Not without witnesses, He wasn't! The Law stated

Deut. 17:6 "On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.

But remember, this does not nullify the commandment not to commit adultery. Jesus knew this was sin, and called it that, saying,

John 8:11 ..."From now on sin no more."

In Jesus's response, I see something that we must discuss - Law and Grace.

There seem to be two groups in the Christian church - those who rely on grace, and those who rely on the Laws of holiness. Which group is right? Where should we be?

I see in what Jesus says the perfect balance that God desires us to have between grace and law - having no condemnation, but having conviction.

What I mean is this: The woman was saved by grace - she deserved death for her sin, but got what she didn't deserve: life. That is a picture of grace. But now she is told to go and sin no more - a command to walk in holiness.

Where does that leave us? Saved by grace, walking in holiness.

Saved By Grace

Grace is God's unmerited favor. We didn't do anything to earn God's grace - we were completely undeserving. He loved us when we were unlovable:

Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The Bible tells us repeatedly that we are saved by God's grace, not by our works.

Acts 15:11 ...we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus...

Rom. 3:24 ...justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus

Rom. 11:6 is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

Gal. 2:21 "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness {comes} through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."

Gal. 5:4 who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Eph. 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, {it is} the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.

So believing that we could ever be saved by our works is ludicrous! No one will ever be able to stand before God and say, "I was good enough to get to heaven." It is only those who have received the grace of God given in Jesus Christ that will be saved. Thus we read,

Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Like the woman caught in adultery, you are deserving of death, and were saved only by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Commanded To Holiness

Unfortunately, many people that know that they were saved by grace and are not under the condemnation of the Law decide that now they can do anything they want - living in sin because they're not saved by their works. But we must never forget that in addition to saying to this woman, "I don't condemn you," Jesus also said, "go and sin no more."

Grace is not a license to live in rebellion to God's commands. As Paul wrote,

Rom. 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

This is where holiness comes in. Holiness - living righteous, godly lives, doing good works, denying sin, being set apart from this wicked world - is commanded by God. It does not earn us our salvation - it confirms that we have salvation.

1Pet. 1:14-16 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts {which were yours} in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all {your} behavior; because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."

Dear saints, you are saved by grace, so walk in holiness.

John 8:11 ...Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more."