Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
Investigating Jesus - Part 27
Jesus, as all Rabbis and teachers did, was at the temple teaching and talking with people. It was also part of the role of the rabbi/teachers to ascertain what to do in certain difficult moral and legal situations. As part of this role, the Pharisees dragged in an unknown woman charged with adultery. Likewise, with the Samaritan woman, we don’t know this woman’s name either. The Pharisees lay a trap for Jesus. If Jesus said to stone the woman, then the Romans could arrest Jesus, for it was Roman law that any death must be conducted by them and not by others.
If Jesus says to release the woman, then the Pharisees would say that Jesus is contravening Scripture and the Law of Moses. What does Jesus do? He writes in the dirt (John 8:6). We don’t know what he wrote, but from the Greek word for ‘write’, we understand that he was seemingly writing a report. Additionally, when Jesus says: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7), he is in fact saying “If any one of you is without this sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”.
Ergo, if any of the Pharisees had not committed adultery, whether in the mind or the actual physical act, then they could have stoned her. As it was, they left one by one, the oldest first (John 8:9). Jesus showed the Pharisees up as hypocrites, who were quick to condemn others, so maybe Jesus was reminding them also of: “O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water.” (Jeremiah 17:13)
So instead of passing judgement on the woman and by eluding the trap of the Pharisees, Jesus passed judgement on the judges. Jesus having forgiven the woman of her sin, then charges her to leave her life of sin (John 8:11). This reminds us that with the forgiveness of sin, comes a responsibility to live a life worthy of Jesus and to pursue righteousness.
With the women we have seen in the last 2 podcasts, Jesus has showed his compassion and forgiveness. These two women were outcasts of their society, but Jesus showed them mercy and forgiveness and loved them. We read of the many people coming to faith because of the Samaritan woman’s testimony. There is no room in Christianity for actions and attitudes that defy Jesus’ ever-reaching and all-encompassing forgiveness and love. His Gospel, as he always shows, is for all people everywhere, regardless of gender, race, age, culture or social status.
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