John 8:1 – Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (NIV)

Our passage for today has been the subject of debate for several reasons.  You may note a footnote in your Bible concerning this passage.  Basically, the debate stems over whether or not this passage is found in the oldest documents, and that it was in centuries past found in different places in the New Testament.  Regardless, we have the text, and we need to learn from it.

Some people use this passage, and others, to state that Christians have no business judging anyone.  To say this is to misread this passage – and the New Testament.  Jesus does judge her actions, but he does not condemn her for her actions.  We find this in verse eleven:  “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  By telling her to leave her life of sin, Jesus was making a judgment call.

We, too, face times when we must judge the actions of others (as well as our own).  Some may say, “Jesus told us not to judge in Matthew 7”. If we read that passage carefully, what we discover is that Jesus is telling us that we will be judged with the same severity by which we judge others, so caution is called for.  Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 5, Paul tells the members of the church to make a judgment against a man who was sleeping with his father’s wife.  Life is full of judgments, but we must be careful in how we judge.  What we must never do, however, is condemn.

Condemnation is not ours to give.  Indeed, each of us, without Jesus, stands before God deserving condemnation. It is only through Jesus that we escape condemnation.  Paul tells us in Romans 8:1 –“ there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

There will be times this day, and every day, when we must judge right from wrong, but let us refrain from condemning others.  Instead, let’s celebrate the one who bore our sins and removed our condemnation! 

Posted by Ramón Torres