Let He Who is Without Sin Cast the First Stone?
In John chapter eight, we read the story of a woman caught in the act of adultery, and she was brought before Jesus. The Pharisee said, “Teacher, Moses commanded us to stone such women. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap Him.
Early in the morning, Jesus came again to the temple. Al .lthe people came to Him, and He sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” (John 8:1-5)
If He said, “Let her go”, He’d be ignoring the law of Moses. But if He said, “Stone her”, He’d be going against Rome. And, that would get Him in trouble with the Romans. (The Jews were not permitted to carry out capital punishment.)
Jesus responded by riding on the ground with His finger. When they continued to press Him, He stood up and said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Upon hearing this, the Pharisees left and Jesus said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She said, “No one, Lord.” And He said, “Neither do I condemn you. Now, go and sin no more.”
Jesus bent down and wrote with His finger on the ground. As they continued to ask Him, He stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more He bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heart it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones. And Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before Him. He stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Now go, and from now on sin no more. (John 8:6-11)
This story is commonly used to say, “No one is without sin, therefore no one has any right to judge.”
But Jesus just said a few verses before to judge with right judgment.
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. (John 7:24)
When Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin be the first to cast the stone,” He was saying, “Which one among you is the dude she had adultery with?”
According to Leviticus 20:10 he’s supposed to be stoned with her.
If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adultery and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10)
Having been exposed that they were ignorant of the law, the Pharisees hightailed it out of there.
Jesus, the Author of the law – represented by Him writing on the ground with His finger – forgave the woman and told her not to sin anymore.
However there’s a problem with this story.
John didn’t write it, and your Bible will tell you that.
John 7:53 through 8:11 didn’t appear in any of the earliest manuscripts, and some put it in the Book of Luke.
(It’s named pericope adulterae. Your Bible likely says, “The earliest manuscripts do not include John 7:53-8:11.” In some texts, it’s found after John 21:25, Luke 21:38, or Luke 24:53)
It’s a nice story, but it doesn’t belong in the Bible.
The greatest story of love and forgiveness is found at the cross of Christ.
…when we understand the text