Today’s Reading: John 8:2-8:11
2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in their midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” 6This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
8 And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”
Let him who is without sin: Many popular interpretations of this verse are unworkable because they lead Jesus straight into the trap set by the Pharisees in 8:4-5…it must be stressed that Jesus eludes the trap entirelyhe neither authorizes the stoning (incriminating himself) nor contradicts Moses (compromising his teaching). The genius of his response is that it turns the tables on the Pharisees and forces them into their own trap. Although the Pharisees probably considered themselves sinless (like Saul, Phil 3:5-6), and thus qualified to administer the stoning, they realize that executing the adulteress will bring Rome’s reprisal on them instead of Jesus, who is not truly authorizing the stoning because he does not truly think the Pharisees are without sin (9:40-41).