1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2 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.
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 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.
7 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.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 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.
10 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?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
-Caught in the very act; what is the actual “act” of adultery? Sex. That means the Pharisees caught this woman in the midst of physical intimacy and drug her out to Jesus. What clothing do you think she had time to grab on the way out? Probably not much. So here is a half-naked woman being carried down the street. Where did they take her? To the feet of Jesus, obviously, but look again at verse 2; the Pharisees plopped her down right in the middle of Jesus’ Bible Study class!
They certainly thought they had a winner this time; they could trap Jesus and then get rid of the girl. Think about it, if Jesus agreed with the Pharisees, then all His teachings on mercy and second chances would be null and void; but if He disagrees, they would have cause to label Him a lawbreaker and a heretic. They found themselves ill-prepared, however, for the force of the Lord’s response; not that he stood up screaming or came out swinging, but the fact that “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) The words that Jesus spoke cut right through the hatred and self-righteousness of the Pharisees and left behind shame and conviction; so much so that they could no longer bear to be in the presence of God’s Lamb or the poor sinner to whom He had extended mercy.
And what of this poor sinner? As ashamed and humiliated as she must have been, consider the indescribable service that the Pharisees did for her that day; they plucked her out of her sin and brought her straight to Jesus, straight to mercy, straight to freedom. What does this mean for us? Two things: 1) God can save us from our ugliest sins even while we are in the very act. 2) If the Lord can use the rotten lives of the Pharisees to work salvation in the lives of a sinner, imagine what He can do with someone who willingly yields their life to His service.