What Jesus Did! 'Destroying People to Settle Arguments' — John 8:3-6

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

As [Jesus] was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

"Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?"

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.

Note: The oldest and best Greek copies of John do not have verses 7:53-8:11. Nevertheless, they are in nearly all translations because the content is certainly consistent with Jesus' ministry.
— John 8:3-6 NLT

Key Thought

Jesus' adversaries were setting a trap for him. This trap involved asking a religious question intended to take the compassion of Jesus and use it to crush him against the law of Moses. It's sad how we can get so ramped up about our religious discussions that we lose sight of the heart of God. God is a God of holiness and integrity, righteousness and steadfast love. The two pairs go together. They are inseparable. Those who call upon God's name as their God must pursue his character with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. The religious leaders here remind us how easily we can shift from being righteous students of God's teaching into being vicious brutes pursuing self-justification. Lost in the argument and the pursuit of Jesus was the personhood of the unnamed woman. She is no more than a token to those who took her to Jesus, the bit of cheese on their religious mousetrap. However, even in the midst of those who hate him and would trap him, Jesus finds a way to deflect their venom from the woman and restore her dignity, as we will see in the following verses. People matter to God. Do they matter to us?

Today's Prayer

O Lord, God of Israel and Father of my Lord Jesus, please forgive me. I fear, dear Father, that I haven't treated all people as you would have had me treat them. That is especially true with some people who didn't fit into my religious comfortability. Please give me a more compassionate heart to better say and do the redemptive things in the lives of everyone with whom I interact, especially those who haven't found your grace. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 9:1-3
  • Joel 2:12-13
  • Romans 5:6-11


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Illustration of John 8:3-6 NLT — "Teacher,"   ——   "this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.