You Cast The First Stone
The President of Southwestern Seminary is Dr. Paige Patterson
Dr Patterson was known for having really difficult tests - he was known for asking questions about the footnotes of the required readings.
Today we are going to look at piece of scripture that also includes a footnote.
is a disputed text
Today we are going to look at an interesting piece of scripture.
This is scripture today is disputed
If you look at the footnotes or in the margins of your Bible there may be a note that says, ”These verses are not found in any early manuscripts”
These verses are not found in any early manuscripts
As we discussed on Wednesday night some of your Bibles have a note right in the middle of the Bible that talks about these verses not being found in the early manuscripts.
They are found in much older manuscripts
Nearly all scholars agree that John did not write these verses because the Greek that is used in these verses are not used anywhere else in the Gospel of John.
Some scholars believe that these verses are in the wrong place in scripture - if John didn’t write it then it certainly doesn’t belong in the middle of John.
Finally, some of your Bibles like the ESV study Bible says that these verses should not even be considered scripture.
Which is also an opinion held by some commentators as well.
Since scripture cannot contradict scripture and since there is nothing inherently inconsistent or wrong with this scripture we are going to take look at this text anyway - whether it is in the wrong place, or shouldn’t be in scripture at all we are still going to look at one of the most famous texts - about throwing the first stone
53 Everyone went to his home. 1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
There are three people or groups of people in this story.
We have the:
The woman caught in adultery
Today we are going to see if we can relate to these three people.
3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.
Scribes & Pharisees
Some of us in this church are like the scribes and Pharisees
We are lying in wait to see if we can catch people sinning
We are the morality teachers
We want to change the behaviors of others
Maybe we drive by the liquor stores and pot shops to see if we recognize anyones car
Maybe we watch people in the church to see if we can catch them doing something wrong
Maybe we listen to conversations to see if someone will tell a racist joke or make an off colored comment or cuss and swear so we can catch them
Some of us are like the Pharisees - the more time we spend in the Bible the more time that we believe God has placed us on this earth to teach people a lesson by showing them how their behavior is wrong
Pastor guess what I just saw some of the youth doing - are you going to tell them its inappropriate and they need to stop?
Pastor can you believe what that person wore to church - are you going to tell them that their clothing is inappropriate?
Pastor guess what I heard this person say about you - boy are they mad at you - how are you going to fix the situation?
Pastor guess who I saw sitting at the bar with a beer in front of them - are you going to talk to them about their drinking?
Each of these examples I have heard.
We can act like the Scribes and Pharisees when we start trying to catch someone messing up.
Pastor - I was laying in wait, to try and catch another church member doing something wrong and I want you to do something…What do you think we should do...should we stone them.
I went to a church meeting in Denver one time that was expected to be so ugly that they gave everyone that came a stone in a box and reminded us not to cast stones at one another.
Nothing like arming your church family with stones to throw when you expect an ugly meeting
Jesus - this woman was caught in the very act of adultery and the Bible says we are to stone her - what do you say Jesus?
Which is what the Pharisees were expecting right?
5 “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.
Some times we are like Jesus
The Scribes and Pharisees weren’t there to accuse the woman of adultery - they were there to test Jesus
The law of Moses says that both people caught in adultery were to be stoned
10 ‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
If she was caught in the very act of adultery - where was the man? If the law says that both are to be put to death
Here is the trap:
If Jesus says no do not stone her - He is going against the Law - , , and
If Jesus says “yes” stone her - He is going against the Roman Law because only the Romans were allowed to execute during their occupation of Jerusalem
So if Jesus answers “No” they got Him, and if He answers “Yes” they got it Him.
Let me ask each of you a question.
Have you told your friends and family that you are racist?
See the trap?
If you say yes - you admit to being a racist.
If you say no - you admit to being a racist that hasn’t told anyone yet.
Either way you are racist.
It’s the trap the Scribes and Pharisees set for Jesus - Yes and No are bad answers, there is not a good answer that won’t get you in trouble
We can also experience this when we are sharing our faith - people can try and ask us really hard questions.
Rusty Wright wrote “7 Questions Skeptics Ask” for Christianity Today - these are the 7 questions in his article
Seven Questions of Skeptics
Why is there evil and suffering?
How can there be a God that allows such evil and suffering in the world.
What about contradictions in the Bible?
Luke says two angels at the tomb, Matthew says one angel doesn’t that mean that the Bible contradicts itself?
What about people who never hear the name of Jesus?
Does that person go to Hell just because they never heard the name of Jesus?
How can Jesus be the only way to God?
Aren’t all religions the same?
Isn’t Christianity just a crutch for the unintellectual?
This is the excuse my brother-in-law says - Religion is just a crutch.
I could never take the blind leap of faith that believing in Christ requires.
It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere.
For some of us these are really hard questions and objections to overcome when we are talking with non-believers.
The Pharisees were trying to put Jesus between a rock and a hard place and we can feel that way sometimes too.
7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
There will be times in our lives when we are the woman.
When we have been caught in the very act of a sin
How are we going to respond when we are caught in our sin
The Pharisees didn’t care about the sin - if they had when she was caught in the very act of the sin - they would have brought the man before charges
So how do we respond when we are caught
To who are we responsible?
We can sin against God - and when we do we ask for forgiveness and repent
We can sin against each other - and when we do we ask for forgiveness and repent
This text is disputed - and yet nothing in this text goes against Jesus or what he does.
“I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
This verse is consistent with scripture
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
The church is not the place for condemnation - Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save the world
We can rest easy that as believers we are not condemned - even when we are caught in the act of sinning
It’s because we are covered in the blood at Calvary that our sins are washed clean.
Who do you relate to today?
Are you a Pharisee on the look out to see when someone is sinning and waiting to catch them in the act?
Are you like Jesus - people constantly trying to paint you in a corner and set a trap?
Are you like the woman - recently caught in a sin wondering if your condemned?
Jesus didn’t come to condemn you - He came to save you
Will you accept that salvation today?