If a woman is caught in the act of adultery, what should happen to her? What should be done to her?
(For that matter, what should happen to the man? According to the Tawrat given to Musa – Moses – Leviticus 20:10 says both parties in adultery were to be put to death.)
What would The Prophet Jesus say? What would Jesus do?
Thankfully, we have an example of what Jesus would say. . .and do. . .with a woman caught in adultery. Here it is from the Injil – and two reenactments.
A Woman Caught in Adultery (The Injil, The Good News of John, 8:1-11)
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he 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.
They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
As Ray Prichard writes, “It is ironic that Jesus was the only one qualified to stone her and he didn’t do it. . .The order of Christ’s words is very important. He didn’t say, ‘Sin no more and then I won’t condemn you.’ That’s what religious people like to say: ‘Clean up your act and then we will accept you.'”
“Jesus says, ‘I will forgive you and give you the power to clean up your act.’ Religion says, ‘Change or I will condemn you.’ It uses fear and intimidation to make people measure up.”
“Grace says, ‘I have forgiven you. Now let me also change your life.’ We don’t change in order to be accepted; we change because we have already been accepted. Nothing motivates a new life like grace received into the heart.”
“Grace does what rules can never do.”
(You can read more of Ray Pritchard’s insightful comments here: http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/the-woman-caught-in-the-act-christ-speaks-to-the-problem-of-a-judgmental-spirit/)