Jerusalem’s religious leaders attempted to trap Jesus into teaching against the Law of Moses in order that they may have grounds to accuse him before the people. The bait they used for their trap was a young woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. Jesus knew the hearts of the accusers and caused them to leave one by one because of words he wrote in the sand. His tender mercy and forgiveness toward the adulterous woman is no different from the mercy and forgiveness he shows to any of us who comes to him in humble confession. No sin is too great for God to forgive it and to make good come from it.
Read John 7 to get the atmosphere and tensions of Jesus’ ministry at this time. There’s a distinction between the religious leaders and the crowds.
1. Had the leaders made up their minds about Jesus? What were they plotting? 7:19, 25, 32
2. Had the crowds made up their minds? What were their opinions? 7:12-14, 25-26, 31, 40-44
3. Why were the Pharisees and priests unsuccessful in their attempts to arrest Him? 30, 32, 45-46
4. How did the hostility of these leaders affect Jesus and His activities? 14-21, 28, 37-39
What does this teach you about handling opposition to the gospel and to you personally because you are a committed Christian? Read Heb. 4:15-16. How can this passage encourage your prayer life when you face hostility or injustice?
5. Read John 8:1-6. In what way was this incident a trap, in view of the indecisions of Chapter 7? Why did the religious leaders want to trap Him? What would they accuse Him of? Whom did they want to influence against Him?
6. What was strange about this episode? See Deut. 19:15; 22:23; Lev. 20:10
7. Who was the only person qualified to stone her? 2 Cor. 5:21. Why was Jesus able to forgive her instead of condemning her? 1 Peter 1:18-20; Mark 2:8-12; John 1:29
8. What does Jesus call “adultery”? Did that apply only in the culture of His day? See 1 Cor. 6:13b; 18-20; Eph. 5:3-14
9. Study 1 Thess. 4:1-8. What does this passage teach about pleasing God? What is specifically said to be God’s will? How can we “wrong” another person in this context? In what ways might a believer be “punished” (6) for immorality? What does verse 8 say that disobedience in this area really is? What is the connection between our calling to a holy life and the Holy Spirit?
10. What do you need to do to “flee” from the temptations to immorality? Do you need to stop reading some books, seeing some TV programs and movies? How will this affect your choice of clothes or your behavior towards men?
11. This incident clearly illustrates the distinction Jesus makes between the sin and the sinner. What qualities does he display towards the woman, towards her behavior? Is it difficult for you to make this distinction when dealing with immoral friends or family members? What can you ask Jesus for to correct this attitude?