Few stories of Jesus are more iconic, gripping, or tender than that of the woman caught in adultery. It’s a story that’s brutally honest, a story of undeniable humanity, a story brimming with redemptive hope, and a story that reveals the forgiveness and love of Jesus in an unforgettable way.
In this sermon, we explore three key points.
1) A Clever Trap: The scribes and Pharisees thought they had Jesus cornered in a trap, but Jesus knew that something was amiss. Would He choose to cruelly uphold the law or compassionately break the law?
2) A Brilliant Escape: Jesus didn’t take the bait, but instead turned the spotlight of conviction upon the accusers’ own sinfulness. Jesus didn’t pretend that the woman was innocent, and He didn’t deny the Law of Moses, yet He compassionately stood up for her against their corrupt and unjust motives.
3) A Transforming Love: In His response to the woman, Jesus demonstrated six liberating moves.
- Jesus separated the sin from the sinner.
- Jesus called out her sin without condemnation.
- Jesus saw her at her worst and loved her anyway.
- Jesus loved her exactly as she was, and too much to leave her as she was.
- Jesus loved her with both truth and grace.
- Jesus loved her into loveliness.
Jesus loved her in her unloveliness. And in His love for her, He made her lovely. He loved her into loveliness.
But how is this possible? If the wages of sin is death, how can Jesus give life? If the law condemns, how can Jesus accept? If judgment is due, how can mercy triumph? How can Jesus be both just and justifier?
Don’t you see? Stones should be thrown, but it was His body that was broken. Judgment should fall, but it would fall across His back. Condemnation should come, but He would carry out the sentence. The wages of sin is death, but it was He who would suffer and die.
- Have you received Jesus’ love? Admit, believe, and commit.
- Are you abiding in Jesus’ love? Rest in it. Abide in it. Root down into it. We can’t change any other way.
- How can you extend Jesus’ love? Having received this transforming love (grace and truth), we now are called to extend it to others.