(Excerpt from Warren Wiersbe’s Life Sentences: What Sentence Will Sum Up Your Life?)
How we respond to the account of the woman caught in adultery helps us better understand our own character. The secret sinner who dwells on such things longs for more details or supplies them from his or her own imagination. The legalist is disappointed that Jesus didn’t recommend capital punishment. But the believer who has experienced the grace of God gives thanks that there is forgiveness with the Lord.
We don’t have to commit this particular sin to know how gracious and merciful the Lord is. “Then neither do I condemn you… Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11). If you have ever heard those words spoken to your own heart, then you will want others to hear them too. You want them to be able to say from their hearts, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”
A trap for Jesus
The scribes and Pharisees had plotted the bringing of the woman to Jesus, hoping to trap Him. If He forgave the woman, then He broke the law of Moses and was in trouble with the Jews. If He condemned her to be stoned, then He was in trouble with the Romans who alone could execute condemned offenders. They must have planned the trap carefully; how could they have caught her “in the very act” unless they had been waiting for it to happen? But where was the man with whom she had sinned? The law required both parties to be judged (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22).
Four different lights are shining in this passage, the most important one being Jesus Himself, the Light of the World.
Light #1: Creation
It was daybreak, and Jesus was in the temple teaching the people. The scribes and Pharisees interrupted His ministry by thrusting the woman before Him and demanding an immediate answer. How rude can hypocritical religious leaders get?