Monday: “In the Very Act”
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Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Read John 8:1-11. What does this text teach us about Jesus and social outcasts?

Having refreshed Himself spiritually at His Mount of Olives retreat, Jesus returned to the temple. Crowds gathered. While Christ taught, the Pharisees dragged an adulterous woman before Him. They questioned Jesus regarding Moses’ legislation concerning adultery, which prescribed execution. Jesus recognized that this questioning was insincere. The purpose was entrapment, not truth-seeking. Capital (death penalty) jurisdiction had been withdrawn from Jewish courts. Jewish leadership reasoned that Christ’s patriotic Jewish following might be compromised should He publicly reject stoning the woman. Conversely, should He endorse execution, their accusation would be that Christ had violated Roman authority.

Caught amid the leaders’ political intrigue was this helpless and guilty woman. Unfamiliar with Jesus’ ministry, she could not have known His merciful nature. Ironically, He appears to pronounce her death sentence; however, He prefaced His statement with those unforgettable words, He that is without sin. . . .

Those words leveled the playing field. Sinless people might be authorized to mercilessly execute punishment. Yet, sinful people were, in a sense, obligated to be merciful. But, with the exception of Jesus, there were no sinless people present. Gradually the religious leaders dispersed, and this social outcast, guilty as she may have been, received grace.

In His act of pardoning this woman and encouraging her to live a better life, the character of Jesus shines forth in the beauty of perfect righteousness. While He does not palliate sin, nor lessen the sense of guilt, He seeks not to condemn, but to save. The world had for this erring woman only contempt and scorn; but Jesus speaks words of comfort and hope.-Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 462.

Though Ellen G. White does give more details about the intrigue regarding this woman, the woman, nevertheless, was an adulteress, caught in the very act. The scheming of the leaders didn’t change that fact. And yet, she was still forgiven? How do we learn to show grace, even to the guilty, while still not palliating sin?

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Monday: “In the Very Act” — 23 Comments

  1. Jesus was ever ready to forgiver sinners during his earhly ministry. Even now he forgives us when we ask for forgiveness. But today in our churches what do we see when a brother is caught in sin or the other, some of the elders in the church will act as if they have not sinned before, they will insist that the fellow be punished. The most annoying thing is after they must have given the fellow suspension, they will qote this bible passage that says: whatever is bind on earth is bound in heaven... No on is ready to forgive. I thank God for Jesus who came to show us example on how ro forgive and how to treat the outcast in our mist.

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  2. Jesus welcomed sinners cause that was the reason for him coming to this world.the purpose of him c'ing to this world was to ill us from our sins that's why he never chased sinners from his side,on the other hand the scribes and Pharisees thought that they had what they thought was true in their eyes

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  3. It is interesting to see that the only one without sin, did not condemn her. We sinful mortals not only want to condemn, but want the other sinner to be punished 'for ever and ever'. We really need to follow the example of our Master Teacher.

    Like(13)
    • I agree with you. This Monday lesson is a timely reminder to us of our "scribes and Pharisees"' like attitude. Let us try to meditate the texts in John 8:1-11, in reality, which role do we portray often times, the scribes and Pharisees who easily give punishment or Jesus who pardons, encourages and saves the woman, a sinner like us?

      Like(1)
  4. Sinful human beings should leave condemnation and judging to God. Only God alone can read hearts and minds and knows what an adulterous condemned woman needs. Jesus wrote the sins of the people especially those of the males who had brought her to judgment, only to find that when Jesus wrote their ''sins'' in the sand they were just like hers. Jesus, the merciful, compassionate, Savor of the world protected her from being stoned to death. I will serve Jesus for the rest of my life. He said to the woman 'go and sin no more' same thing is said to us today and forever.

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  5. QUESTION: i heard once in a sermon by my conference president that Simon (Lk 7:36-50) was the man committing adultery with the woman, how true is that? If its true, i need more facts regarding that.

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    • Hi Rigia,

      As did Nathan with David, Christ concealed His home thrust under the veil of a parable. He threw upon His host the burden of pronouncing sentence upon himself. Simon had led into sin the woman he now despised. She had been deeply wronged by him. By the two debtors of the parable, Simon and the woman were represented. Jesus did not design to teach that different degrees of obligation should be felt by the two persons, for each owed a debt of gratitude that never could be repaid. But Simon felt himself more righteous than Mary, and Jesus desired him to see how great his guilt really was. He would show him that his sin was greater than hers, as much greater as a debt of five hundred pence exceeds a debt of fifty pence. -Desire of Ages Page 566-567

      Like(5)
      • Thank you for the linked you gave it led me to read "The Feast at Simon's house" from the book The desire of Ages and it threw a new light on me. I read it before but it's been so long since then. We can see in the story that the person one thought is less than how he estimated himself is the one truly bright and smarter than he is. He regarded her inferior to him but it is her who grasped, comprehend and made action about what Christ told them. Christ told them that he will be buried soon, and yet no one made any preparation except for this despised woman who many labeled as sinner and outcast. So many times we fall in the category of Simon.... we thought others as inferior to us only to have our eyes open that they are actually better than we thought. That is why Jesus told us not to regard ourselves better than others.... but to love one another. Each one is unique and each has potential to do good service in this life.

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  6. [Moderator's note: Please use full name when commenting. Thank you.]

    That's amezing! no matter how people dedpise we Jesus is able to come at our rescue.

    Like(1)
  7. It's true that in these last days, the Church is hard on ppl as far as forgiveness. As Christians we should mercy to our brothers and sisters. But the Sin in us loves the Drama in the Church, and enemy is on time every Sabbath waiting to use us and stir things up. No what issue, if we make up our minds to be more like JESUS, they outcome can change for the positive.

    Like(2)
  8. Jesus had place for social outcasts like this woman.Our churches and homes shd be places of refuge the social outcasts in our societies.Condemnation isnt ours.After all we are sinners like them

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  9. I don’t think we have a real conception of the situation in Jewish culture during the first century. Back then males were the ruling class almost exclusively. When those haughty Pharisees threw that entrapped woman in the center of the ring she was virtually helpless and terrified to death. Even though her accusers were the ones that lead her into that sin there was nothing she could do but to anticipate a cruel torturous death because of the authority males held in that society.

    This was more than merely an accusation of sin; it was complete, total injustice! Christ, however, had the last word since the accusers didn’t want their sins publically exposed, probably because of their involvement in getting her into prostitution in the first place.

    I don’t think Jesus was as concerned about the entrapment they set for Him as much as He was concerned about a person being abused solely to get to Him. I think His heart went out to that terrified woman caught in a nasty scheme.

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  10. QUESTION: Jesus showed us a perfect example on forgiveness through the story of the adulrous woman. Now is is biblical to suspend or disfellowship a church member because of a sin? if yes, how might we do it so as not to discourage or send some people away from church?

    Like(1)
    • My daughter and I have been debating the issue of disfellowshiping we still haven't reached a common agreement as yet. I do believe that in the case of 'open sin' [which is another discussion] that there is some responsibility on the church to make it clear that the person cannot just get a slap on the wrist and move on. However, 9 times out of ten, the element of counselling and the showing of genuine love to the individual is not included with the discipline. It is also sad to see that we also can be impartial when disciplining because some folks never get to see the 'love' side of the discipline.
      I personally know people who were disfellowshipped and because they experienced genuine love from the church, with the passing of time and a recommittment to God, they are still active members today.
      At the end of the day my personal concern for the church is that it is still a very unforgiving church and as I said in this forum before, we want to see sinners punished 'for ever and ever'. That applies to the 'other' sinners not me, I deserve forgiveness. We are fooling ourselves, we need to get it right, Jesus is coming soon.

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  11. [Please use full names when commenting. Thank you]

    I found this story to be an example of Christ's purpose here on earth. He did not condemn the woman and told her to go and sin no more. How sad it is that we are so quick to judge and condemn our fellow brothers and sisters for their wrongful acts but we fail to see how so full of sin we are ourselves. Jesus taught us how to minister to those social outcasts. Only when we choose to love like Jesus did do we really become disciples for Him.

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  12. [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting. Thank you.]

    Its not that we should not pass "judgements" for it will probably result in a boundaryless church. We should do so with supplications and prayer, fasting, love being the focul point and with genuine tears falling asking God for forgiveness because some of our sins are just secret not public like the fellow brethren so we should not feel any better. We are in a war and it should hurt us so much to see a fellow soldier fall.

    Like(2)
  13. this story shows that Jesus loves the sinner and hates the sin while men loves the sin and hates the sinner.may God help us and give us his spirit so that we view others in the same way he views them.

    Like(2)
    • "You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one."

      We, sinners, judge according to the flesh; I (Jesus), sinless, judge no one.

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  14. Why do we as humans focus on the actions of people rather than on the person and what is MISSING in their lives that caused the action in the first place?

    Like(3)
    • Jesus is kind and compassionate. There is a consequence to all our actions. Jesus will never turn us away, because His purpose is to save us and to restore us to oneness with Him. As individuals we cannot be presumptuous, we have to be honest with ourselves, we know that there is One who is ready to forgive if we are penitent. Cooperation is a big word.
      If Jesus is not center in our decisions, then we will be condemned. When the Holy Spirit convince and convicts us, then repentance is inevitable. Jesus is the answer. He taught us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.." If and when we fail, Jesus is still that faithful Friend who is faithful and just. What more can we ask? It is my desire to be like my Jesus, I am sure you all are too. What a Saviour! We can receive peace by believing when we pray.

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  15. The more we realize how sinful we are, the more we will appreciate the grace of our dear Savior, the more will we love our Lord and be humbled. We can never be an effective witnesses of God if we didn't experience first the forgiving grace of Lord in our very lives. those who experience God's goodness and mercy are the ones that are effective in witnessing. Amid this sin darkened world, the Lord longs for those who can reflect His grace to the suffering, sin-prisoned people. most of the times we condemn others, claiming that we understand better than they. we even try to condemn our leaders because of their faulty decisions. but try to think of this, are we not guilty of that same act- the act of which we condemn others are guilty of. , "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."...
    be a light and "the repairer of the breach"... for greater condemnation belongs to those who profess to know the truth yet chose to follow the wrongs.... happy Sabbath

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