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11. JESUS AS A JUDGE (John 8:1-11)

BACKGROUND: According to the law of Moses, both the man and the woman caught in adultery should have been stoned to death (Lev.20:10). The Romans, however, had assumed the right to preside over capital punishment in occupied Israel.
  1. What makes a person commit adultery? Think of various reasons.
    • Imagine the life of this woman after she had found “a new love”. What kind of happiness, what kind of pain did this relationship bring to her life?
  2. What do you think could be the worst aspect of being caught right in the act of adultery?
    • How do you think the woman might have felt about her partner after he fled the scene?
    • What do you think was the most difficult thing in this situation for the man, who was probably also married?
  3. There were many people involved in this incident. Think how the following people may have felt about the adultery and possible death penalty: the husband of the woman – her children – her parents (if they were still alive)? What about the wife of her lover, and his children?
    • How might this incident have affected the future of the children involved?
  4. How did the woman possibly feel about Jesus when she was dragged before Him (verses 3-5)?
    • How do you think the woman felt about her adultery at that moment?
  5. Why did the Jews drag the woman in front of Jesus even though they knew that the death penalty was something only the Romans presided over?
    • Why didn’t Jesus simply answer: “None of you has the right to throw a stone at this woman”, instead of what he actually said in verse 7?
  6. Why do you think the accusers left the place in the order stated in verse 9?
    • Why didn’t Jesus want to observe the effect his words had on his audience, choosing, instead, to bend down and write something on the ground?
  7. Why did Jesus, and he alone, have the right to condemn this woman to death?
    • Why didn’t Jesus act according to the Law of Moses in this case?
    • What happened to the punishment this woman should have suffered after having ruined the happiness of so many people?
  8. Why do you think the woman didn’t flee the scene while Jesus was writing on the ground for the second time and she had the chance to do it (verses 8-9)?
    • When do you think the woman started to believe that her sins had been forgiven?
  9. Why, do you suppose, Jesus wanted to say the words in verse 11 to this woman?
    • Jesus is also saying the words in verse 11 to you. What might they mean to you in your present circumstances?
GLAD TIDINGS: We are not told what Jesus wrote on the ground. Perhaps he acted like a judge and firstly wrote out the capital punishment that the law pronounced on adultery. And bending down for the second time, perhaps he may even have added these words: “I will suffer her punishment in her place.”

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