I. THE LAW SAID, THAT IF A MAN IS FOUND LYING WITH A MARRIED WOMAN, THEY SHALL BOTH DIE IN ORDER TO PUT AWAY EVIL FROM ISRAEL.
A. This is the law that the Pharisees referred to when they brought to Jesus a woman that they asserted that they caught in the very act of adultery.
B. The Pharisees were constantly seeking to get Jesus to say something that was contrary to what Moses had said.
1. All of the Jews respected Moses and knew that he spoke to them the commandments of God.
2. If the Pharisees can catch Jesus saying something that is contrary to what Moses said, then they can show that Jesus could not possibly be speaking to them God's word, which Jesus constantly asserted that He was doing.
3. Moses said that we should stone her, what do you say?
C. They were upset with Jesus for receiving sinners.
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eats and drinks with publicans and sinners?
And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that [Jesus] sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
And stood at his feet behind [him] weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe [them] with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed [them] with the ointment.
Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw [it], he spoke within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman [this is] that touched him: for she is a sinner.
And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he said, Master, say on.
There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
Simon answered and said, I suppose that [he], to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, See thou this woman? I entered into your house, and you gave me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped [them] with the hairs of her head.
You did not kiss me: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
You did not anoint My head with oil: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loves little.
And he said unto her, Your sins are forgiven.
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receives sinners, and eats with them.
And [Jesus] entered and passed through Jericho.
And, behold, [there was] a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not because of the multitude of people crowding around Him, and he was short.
So he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that [way].
And when Jesus came to the place, where he was perched in the tree, Jesus looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at your house.
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
And when the Pharisees saw [it], they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be the guest with a man that is a sinner.
1. They accused Jesus of being a friend of publicans and sinners.
2. They knew that Jesus was always compassionate toward sinners, but was scathing in His condemnation of them in their self righteousness.
II. THEY FEEL NOW THAT THEY HAVE THE PERFECT CASE BY WHICH TO CHALLENGE HIS GRACIOUS ATTITUDE TOWARD SINNERS.
A. A woman caught in the very act of adultery. The law clearly stated that they both were to be put to death.
B. How can Jesus get out of this one?
C. I see an immediate problem here, if she were caught in the very act of adultery, then where was the man, for they were both to be put to death.
1. Why would they bring only the woman, and not the man also?
2. No doubt Jesus immediately saw through the ruse.
D. Jesus stooped down and began to write with His finger on the ground.
1. Just what He wrote we are not told.
2. All the while He seemed to be ignoring them.
3. They began with insistence to press the issue.
E. Jesus then stood up and declared, "Whoever among you who is without sin throw the first stone."
1. He again stooped down and continued to write on the ground.
2. This time I think I know what He wrote.
a. I believe that he began to write their names and some of the secret sins that they had been committing beginning with the eldest in the crowd.
b. We are told that they were convicted by their own conscience, and began to leave one by one, from the eldest to the youngest.
c. Finally when no one was left Jesus stood up and said to the woman, "What happened to your accusers?" She responded, "I guess I haven't any." Jesus then said to her, "Go your way and sin no more."
F. John tells us that the law came by Moses, but grace and truth by Jesus Christ.
III. GOD DOES NOT WANT A LEGAL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU, BUT A LOVING RELATIONSHIP.
A. Not one that is based on fear, but one that is based on love.
B. Not one that is based on your perfect adherence to the law through the fear of the punishment should you break the law. But one that springs from a love so deep, you would not want to do anything that would break His heart.
C. Some people who accept Jesus are motivated by the fear of hell, but others by a much higher motivation, the motivation of love.
1. Paul wrote, "The love of God constrains me."
2. If I am motivated by fear, my tendency is to try to do just enough to get by and be accepted.
3. If I am motivated by love, my desire is to do all that I possibly can to please Him.
4. Have you discovered the truth of God's grace in Christ Jesus?
D. If you are a sinner here today, God loves you.
1. He has a problem however, because He is a just God, He cannot just forgive your sins without a just basis for doing so.
2. He told the prophet Ezekiel:
Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
3. In the book of Hebrews we read:
Therefore we must pay greater attention to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them drift away from us.
For if the word spoken by angels was certain, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty.
How shall we escape, if we neglect the great salvation; which at the first was spoken to us by the Lord, and was confirmed by those that heard Him? 4. Again in the book of Hebrews we are told:
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins,
But a certain fearful looking for of the judgment and fiery indignation of God, by which He shall devour His adversaries.
He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
How much worse punishment, do you suppose he will be deserving who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
For we know him that has said, Vengeance is mine, I will repay saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people.
[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.