The first verses of John 8 are highly disputed, not for the message they preach, but for their place in the Bible. At this point, it is widely accepted that John 7:53-8:11 were most likely not part of John’s original letter, but they are a very well loved and oft-referred to story.
It is the story of the woman caught in adultery.
The Pharisees bring to Jesus a woman who has been caught in the act of adultery and attempt to trap Him into either ignoring her sin or condemning her to death. Jesus, seeing through their plans, tells them to stone her if they themselves are without sin. The Pharisees, defeated by Jesus’ wisdom and insight, walk away, perhaps convicted of their own sins, and Jesus tells the woman to go free and uncondemned, exhorting her to “go and sin no more.”
The message that we learn from this passage is really at the heart of the Gospel. Jesus forgives sins fully and completely and calls us to sin no more. His death a resurrection has purchased our salvation from sin’s condemnation. If we believe in Christ, we are freed from death and sin, and if we believe, we will truly “go and sin no more.”
But, if the message of this passage is not disputed, but it’s place in the Scriptures is, what do we do with it?
What do we do with anything that we are told about Jesus that does not come directly from Scripture?
We weigh it against Scripture, and if it proves true, we glean from it and take it as wisdom from God. And this passage is true. It stands up to the critical eye of the Bible and remains true and useful for us. So do not fear to read and rejoice in these verses that so sweetly remind us of the forgiveness of our God and His call to fight against sin in our lives. This is a common and important theme in the Bible and one that we never move away from, no matter how long we have been a Christian. We always need to remember that God has forgiven us of so a great a debt, and that He calls us to a life that brings Him glory in all we do.