The Immoral Woman:
Truth brings Freedom
Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:1-12)
Picture this scene of contrasts that Jesus encountered near the Temple in Jerusalem. See the group of angry men bringing a shamed woman before Jesus, as she had been caught in the wicked act of adultery. The men accusing her were the Jewish religious leaders. By law, the woman was guilty of death by stoning. What would Jesus do?
Jesus, a wise teacher, and bold preacher of truth, desired to show mercy instead of judgment. As the all-knowing God, he could see the wicked hearts of these men who dressed so nicely and appeared quite holy. They portrayed themselves as law-abiding, God-fearing, men. Yet, in secret, they took advantage of the poor, they robbed widows, and they were motivated by pride. They would pray loudly in public so that others would see them. But they did not truly know and fear God. They trusted in their own piety and ceremonies. They thought that because they were not found guilty of heinous crimes that they would be excused them from God’s judgment. They believed their own righteous acts would earn God’s favor.
Jesus knelt on the ground and wrote in the sand. Though we do not know what he wrote, we know that the angry men began to change their minds about stoning the woman. Perhaps he began writing the laws that God had given Moses, which these men thought they had been so faithful in obeying. Worship God only. Do not have any other idols or graven images. Honor your parents. Do not kill, lie, or covet. Do not commit adultery. Jesus then looked up and said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (verse 7). Yes, this woman had broken God’s law and deserved death: but so had all the religious leaders too! God’s Word says, “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). The Bible also says that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Only one person has never sinned: that is God himself. When God became flesh as Jesus Christ, he was born without sin. He is perfect and pure! He is the only one who has the right to judge our sin. But he also has the right to show mercy and forgive us! This is what he did for the guilty woman. He said, “Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more” (verse 11).
Can you imagine the range of emotions this woman had in just a few hours? The pleasure of sin, the guilt of unfaithfulness to her husband, the shame of being exposed, the judgment of the religious leaders, and now the mercy of Jesus Christ! She finally had hope of a new life and a future of joy! Her own path had led her to self-destruction and almost death! But when she learned the truth, she was made free. Today, you may also discover freedom from guilt and hope of acceptance with God.
But you must be willing to come out of the darkness of sin by coming to the light of Jesus. Jesus said in John 1:12, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Jesus said, “If we continue in His word, we will know the truth” (John 8:31,32a). A Tibetan proverbs states, “A guest who speaks truthfully and a lord who has good intentions are rare gems.” Let us consider what truth we need to learn and how it will benefit our life. When we comprehend truth, we may find freedom. With freedom, we possess hope that will never cease.
The Dalai Lama said, “For Tibetans, the real strength of our struggle is truth – not size, money, or expertise.” But we must answer the question, “What is the source of truth?” If something is true, it means it is without error! Do you want to learn truth? You first must have a source, where it is declared.
The God of Heaven who created us, also gave us a Book to learn about him. The Holy Scriptures give us the directions for the path of each life. The Bible has all the answers to every question about life that we have. “Where did we come from, why are here, and where are we going?” The Bible is God’s Word which tells us how we can walk in light and not in darkness. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Jesus also said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13,14).
Sadly, most people do not sincerely want to know the truth! The Italian astronomer Galileo is called “the father of modern science.” In the 1600’s, he was known as a great scientist. But did you know that he was also a convicted criminal?
Galileo studied the planets and stars, and he also discovered that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the solar system. At the time, people believed that the sun, stars, and other planets revolved around the earth. But Galileo insisted that the earth moved around the sun! When Galileo tried to persuade people that his special discovery was true, the religious leaders put him on trial. The court convicted Galileo of spreading lies (heresy), and he spent the last nine years of his life under house arrest. He was actually imprisoned for being right about the earth! He understood the truth, yet others rejected it! Today, he is highly regarded for his knowledge.
Jesus proceeded to say in John 8:32, “…and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” With truth comes freedom. Today, many scientists are able to make more discoveries about our solar system because of the facts that Galileo revealed. Truth may not be popular by the majority, but it still brings freedom to those who embrace it!
Nobody wants to live in bondage. Whether it is political freedom, financial freedom, personal freedom, or spiritual freedom, everybody wants to be free! Today, you may be burdened by past failures. Perhaps you have disappointed your family, or you may be ashamed by your mistakes. You do not have to remain a captive. In Luke 4:18, Jesus said that he was “anointed to preach the gospel to the poor; he was sent to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”
How do you strive to find freedom from sin? Some free birds from cages, hoping to gain spiritual freedom. Others take pilgrimages to Mt. Kailash in Tibet or bathe in a lake that is considered holy. But no matter how many rituals you perform, prayer wheels you spin, or money you donate, you cannot release yourself from your past sins.
Your greatest enemy is not a government, an illness, or even a personal failure. Your greatest enemy is Satan who wants to destroy you and keep you in the darkness away from error. Satan has blinded the eyes of many. II Corinthians 4:4 says, “In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
There is hope today for you! If Jesus could forgive a woman sentenced to die for her immoral action, he can also forgive you for whatever wrongs you have done! Jesus Christ was sinless, yet took the blame of all mankind’s sin when he died at the hands of Roman soldiers. He paid our sin debt on the cross by shedding his blood. He came back to life three days later when he rose again. He possesses all power and wants to show you mercy. There is hope for you! But you must acknowledge the truth about your sin and believe that Jesus is the only one who can forgive you and make you truly free. This is your only sure hope!
Why do many have no hope? Ephesians 2:12-14 says, “That at that time ye were without Christ, …having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace…”
Living without Christ is a life without hope. If you reject the Word of God, you will reject the light from God, Jesus Christ. But when you receive the light of truth and believe God’s Word, you will experience the deliverance from sin, Satan, and God’s judgment. Jesus Christ is the only one who can give true spiritual freedom. This is the eternal hope of those who have peace with God by walking in the light.