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The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

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Text:  John 8:1-11


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            It seems to be a vice of human nature to find someone that is more sinful than ourselves and thrust them into spotlight while we hide in the shadows.  We can always find someone who is worse off than ourselves, but to expose them only to cloak our own vice is to be worse than they are.  We may not do it as obvious as the Pharisees in our text, but we are pretty good at hiding our own sin.  Only the convicted in heart are willing to run into the light to be exposed and have their heart made pure.  What is needed is someone who is altogether full of light to do the exposing and judging.  Jesus, alone, qualifies in that department.  Let’s get to know Him better through the eyes of John in this Gospel account.

1.      Following Jesus’ confrontation with the Pharisees in chapter 7, “each went to his own home.” (7:53)  But not Jesus.  He goes to the Mount of Olives.  Why?  (It was His favorite place to pray; He had no place to call home and rest His head.)     What is your usual reaction when the dogs are nipping at your heals?

2.      As soon as the son comes up the next day, Jesus is right back on the steps of the Temple teaching.  Obviously students are already there waiting for Him.  What does that tell you about their hunger for true spiritual teaching?     What would it take for you to become such a student?  (Cultivate a spiritual hunger; desire to know God more.)

3.      Once again the nipping dogs arrive; they’ve found a woman caught in adultery.  Adultery was just as common then as it is now, but their laws about it were different.  What did the Law say about it?  (Stone them to death, but it was almost never imposed.  Deut. 22:20)     What do you think their real motive was in bringing her before Jesus?  (To trap Him.  The trap: uphold the law or excuse the sin.)     Would you say they were zealous for righteousness in this act?

4.      How do you think God views us when we fail to recognize our own spiritual deficiency when accusing others?  (He despises those who clearly see the evil in others but are blind to their own evil.)  Matt. 7:1-5

5.      Do you think the effort to impose the letter of the law goes hand in hand with failure to recognize the truth about your own status with God?  Explain.

6.      Who can keep God’s law?     Then how do we become righteous in God’s eyes?  Rom. 3:21-28

7.      Why do you think Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with His finger?

8.      When the Pharisees persist in getting an answer from Jesus, He literally stops them dead in their tracks with His answer: “He who is without sin cast the first stone.”  What spiritual application do you find for yourself in that answer?  (The Pharisees were eager to discover whether Jesus had the same enthusiasm for the moral law by passing the death sentence upon her, but they were ignorant that they had a spiritual death to undergo themselves if they were to receive salvation.)

9.      Jesus wanted the judgement to begin with the supposed spiritual leaders, the Pharisees, before it was to continue with those who may not know better.  What does 1 Pet. 4:17 have to say about this?  (Judgment begins with those who claim to be defenders of God’s justice; but we cannot be blind to our own sin.)

10.  Jesus bends down to continue writing in the dirt.  Why?  (To allow His words to penetrate.  And penetrate they do…one by one you can hear the thud of the stones on the ground as they leave.)

11.  When Jesus straightens up again, her accusers are gone.  Maybe He is surprised she is still there since no one is grabbing her arm any more.  When asked, she says they have left.  Now she is face-to-face with the only righteous Judge who can condemn her.  She awaits the verdict.  Do you think she was still scared?

12.  Now that the accusers have left, Jesus states, “And I don’t judge you guilty either.  You may go now, but don’t sin anymore.”  Is Jesus implying that her sin can be glossed over or that it can be lightly forgiven?  (No.  Jesus Himself was going to pay the penalty, hers, yours, and mine.  He would take her place in a criminal’s death.)  Jn. 1:17  (The Law given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus.  Only in Him are mercy and truth met together; only in Him do righteousness and peace kiss each other.  Ps. 85:10)


            Whether we want to admit it or not, all of us stand in the shoes of the woman caught in adultery.  No one is righteous, not even one; each of us has gone our own way of sin.  We, too, hang on the words of Jesus: “Neither do I condemn you.  Go and sin no more.”  If there were a mechanical application of the law, each of us would be guilty and worthy of death.  But Jesus teaches that this is not the best way of dealing with sinners as whole people.  Jesus knew that sin had to be dealt with…and He knew that He would be the one that would deal with it in His atoning death.  But by God’s tender love for each of us, He dies in our place so that He can draw us to Himself.  Eph. 5:25-27 

            If you’ve ever wondered how God reacts when you fail, frame these words and hang them on the wall.  Read them.  Ponder them.  Drink them in.  Stand below them and let them wash over your soul. 

            Or better still, take Him with you to your canyon of shame.  Invite Christ to journey with you back to the sins and failures of your world.  Let Him stand beside you as you retell the events of the darkest nights of your soul. 

            And then listen.  Listen carefully.  He’s speaking.  “I don’t judge you guilty!”

            And watch.  Watch carefully.  He’s writing.  He’s leaving a message.  Not in the sand, but on the cross.  Not with His hand, but with His blood.  The message He spoke to the woman caught in adultery, He says to you.  His message has two words:  “Not guilty!”

            When Jesus is done with you, your hands are clean.  Your soul is clean.  And you look just like Him!  Feel good?  It should.  Let it sink deep into your soul and let it transform your walk…….go and sin no more!

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