An Adulteress Faces Jesus;
a Christian forgery?

by Guy Cramer

The following passage from John is usually accompanied with the footnote that most scholars believe that this verse was added to John hundreds of years after the book of John was completed. The reasoning is that in the earliest manuscripts of John these verses cannot be found. It is not until the 5th century manuscripts in which this passage can be found. Does this passage belong in the Bible?

(John 7:53-8:11) And everyone went to his own house.
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down, and taught them.
Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they say unto Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.
"Now Moses, in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned. But what do You say?"
This they said, testing Him, that they might have something to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down, and wrote on the ground with His finger , as though He did not hear.
So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up, and said to them, "He who without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first."
And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the oldest, even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
When Jesus had raised himself up, and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?"
She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

This passage is not a forgery, what really happened was that some of the early manuscripts omitted this passage because the passage was misinterpreted as false doctrine.

This passage can be found in translations that date from the second century. This can be confirmed by the comments on this passage by the Early Church teachers which range from Didascalia (third century) to Saint Augustine (430 AD). Saint Augustine gives us a little more insight into the problems of this passage by many of his time;

This proceeding, however, shocks the minds of some weak believers, or rather unbelievers and enemies of the Christian faith: inasmuch that, after (I suppose) of its giving their wives impunity of sinning, they struck out from their copies of the Gospel this that our Lord did in pardoning the woman taken in adultery: as if He granted leave of sinning, Who said, Go and sin no more! (Saint Augustine, De Conjug. Adult., II:6.).

Note from The Student Bible on this passage; "The Pharisees trying to trap Jesus were not following the Law which required the woman's partner in crime to also appear."

I found another interesting aspect about this passage is that in the original Greek version of this passage Jesus says to the men "The sinless one among you let him cast the first stone at her."

Of course if He had said, "if anyone here is sinless then let them cast the first stone" he himself would have to cast the first stone because he was sinless. This is one aspect I love about Jesus teachings, He does not contradict these situations with errors in his speech.

As Chuck Swidoll points out in John 11:43, Jesus resuscitates Lazarus with the command "Lazarus, come forth."

I love the country preacher's comment. "If He hadn't limited that command to Lazarus, every corpse in the graveyard would have come forth!" It was if He said, Just Lazarus, this time, just Lazarus." Some day He'll bring them all back! (Charles Swindoll, Growing Deeper in the Christian Life (Multnomah Press, 1986) p.148

Recently, a Christian friend of mine and his wife (He is a Pastor looking for a Church) ran into another Christian telling them that they must have some sin in their life or background that must be the reason that they cannot find a Church to Pastor in.

This reminded me of a story my wife told me about a Pentecostal church group she was with before she meet me. Many of the group began to speak in tongues when it came to her she could not speak in tongues. The group told her that she must have some sin in her life that was not allowing her to speak in tongues, sound familiar! This was the beginning of rebellion against the church for my wife that lasted a few years until she meet me.

Nothing will turn off an individual more than a Christian telling that same individual this kind of reasoning. This would be one of things I would classify as a Christian Cancer. A Cancer attacks the body from the inside.

Was it not Christ that said;
(Luke 6:37-42) "Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
And He spoke a parable to them: "Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye." (NKJV)

To those that believe that God limits those with sin just look at what the Lord has provided to me in the last year. I am a sinner and yet God still provides. Just because I'm a Christian does not mean that sin is no longer in my life. I am not talking about major sins in my own life such as murder or adultery but thoughts and actions that I know are wrong even in the smallest terms. Still God equates sin as sin if you think about it you have committed it.

(Matthew 5:27) "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You Shall not commit adultery.'
But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
"If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members parish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off...

What is Jesus saying here? He is saying; Stop, Stop, Stop, go and sin no more.

As Christians we all sin, I will guarantee it,
I was surprised to find a close Christian friend tell me how he would look twice at an attractive woman walking the other way and feeling guilty about these same feelings, I admitted the same thing to him. At a church meeting he found that all the men in the group also did the same thing. Even Billy Graham admitted this to Larry King in an interview. But Billy Graham also stated that the difference between himself and someone else is that he would not act on those feelings because of his faith and understanding of God's word.

How many people would argue that Billy Graham has been limited by God because of sin? Billy Graham acknowledges that he should not be put on a pedestal but belongs in the ditch with the rest of humanity because of his iniquity.

As Christians we must have restraint, we must try not to commit any sin. Is it possible all the time, probably not. Can we try, Yes. Does it make a difference, Yes.

Hugh Ross at a speaking engagement, pointed out that it probably didn't take long for Adam and Eve to commit the first sin. Hugh told the story of a teacher at a University conducted a small research project with his class. He placed a closed box in the classroom and told the students that under no circumstances were they to look inside the box while he was gone for the next hour. Hidden cameras revealed that every student in the class looked inside the box within something like 40 minutes. What happened when Adam was told not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? How long did it take?

Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within every person who believes that Jesus is the son of God. You and I have a piece of God within us. We can call upon Jesus to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us out of sin. If you feel guilty about something in your life then that may be the Holy Spirit of God telling you, "Stop, this is wrong."

Do not feel guilty about something in your past which you have asked for forgiveness, for it has already been forgiven as long as you repent and do not recommit that sin..
Are we condemned because of our sin?
Not if we believe who Jesus was and what he did.

You may ask, "Then why should we even try to stop sinning?"
Here is one way I like to look at it;
God is transcendent of time. We are not.
When Jesus died on the cross, God the Father placed upon Jesus all the sins of the mankind. He became the sacrifice for us. He took all our sin and guilt at the cross and cleared our debt. For us to be in the Lords presence he demands purity. I wonder how empty heaven would be of mankind if Jesus never came to take our sins. Our purity with the Lord can only be found in what Christ did for us at the cross.

How painful a time for Jesus must this have been. Take all the guilt and iniquity in your life and add it up into this moment, now take all the people who ever lived and who ever will live and add that guilt and iniquity from all of them into the same moment. We cannot even imagine the pain Jesus felt. Remember though that he died for all our sins even for the sins that you will commit in the future.

Jesus was a man and also God. As the Son of God He took all our sins; past, present, and future and as Jesus the man He suffered for them. We know before we sin what we are about to do. Does it make a difference knowing that the sin you commit in the future will be added to the pain of Christ almost 2000 years ago. By not committing that sin we don't add to the tremendous load he must bear.

Is the end of mankind determined by how much sin Jesus could bear at the cross?

(Matthew 24:36) "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only."

Other translations have added "nor the Son," after the word heaven based on other manuscripts of the same passage.

Was God merciful to his Son in limiting mankind to a certain time in the future? Is it just before Jesus is about to break on the cross that mankind and their sins in the future are put to an end?

What does Jesus say to his Father while bearing all those sins?

(Matthew 27:46)... "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (NKJV)

God the Father could not be a part of sin and at this moment had to turn away from Jesus. This was the only time in all of time that God the Father and God the Son were separated from each other. As Chuck Swindoll points out;

We need to be carefull not to overdo the physical agony of the cross to the exclusion of the spiritual impact. Actually, the physical pain was not the worst part. It was the awful seperation that occured between the the Son and the Father when "all our sin was laid on him." At that moment the Lord Jesus felt the crushing weight of all mankind's iniquity. (Charles Swindoll, Growing Deep in the Christian Life, p.252)

Does Jesus make a reference to the time when all sins end?

(John 19:30) "It is finished!" and bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (NKJV)

At some future time, only God the Father knows, He will place a limit on the pain that His Son, Jesus Christ had to endure for the sins we have committed and will commit.This limit will be then end of sin in this world.

I don't know about you but I don't have any reason to look Christ in the eyes one day, with anymore sin then I already have placed upon Him to this point in my life.

Thank You Jesus, for taking my sins and telling me to go and sin no more.

For further information on this topic I highly recommend Chuck Swindoll's paper "MR. SMITH, MEET YOUR SUBSTITUTE"

For more papers on this and other related subjects;
Go back to the Main Page (XWALK.CA)

1997 Trinity Consulting, All Rights Reserved
Presented by Trinity Consulting