John 8:1-11 finds Jesus faced with a challenge. Religious leaders bring a woman they've caught in the act of adultery. We know this because they literally tell Jesus she was caught in the act. This wasn't gossip or rumored affair. Someone literally went to wherever this act of adultery was happening and witnessed it and then dragged this woman before Jesus.
I'm not going to lie, just the first few verses of this story make me angry. Furious, in fact. For a variety of reasons...
- These religious leaders were so serious about someone else sinning that they had to literally seek her out.
- Where is the man in this situation? It takes two to tango, eh?
- The self-righteous manner in which they approach Jesus with this woman, believing they've put him in his place.
This story illustrates one of my favorite aspects of Jesus, though. When confronted like this, Jesus doesn't fall into a trap of trying to give a systematic answer to debate the religious leaders. Instead, he kneels down and begins writing something in the sand at his feet. We don't know what he wrote, but it is believed that he wrote the sins of the men who were ready to stone this woman. He then said some of the most powerful words spoken in Scripture: "He who has no sin can cast the first stone." And one by one, they dropped their stones and left until it was just the woman before Jesus.