Leviticus 20:10 Adultery
Leviticus 20:10 KJV And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
You wouldn’t think a law about adultery would ever have anything to do with the prophecies about Jesus, but we all know Leviticus 20:10 leads directly to Jesus’ meeting with a woman in the temple courtyard.
John 8:1-11 NLTse Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, (2) but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. (3) As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. (4) “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. (5) The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (6) They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. (7) They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (8) Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. (9) When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. (10) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” (11) “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Looking at the scene we see Jesus going to the temple to teach. As a crowd gathered around Jesus, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees were about to unleash another plan to trap Jesus. What did the religious leaders do before Jesus arrived at the temple? They brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. How did they catch this woman in the act? Which one caught in the act was married, the man or woman? We don’t know, but the situation offers three conclusions. The religious leaders either arranged for the woman to have sex with a married man. In which case, they convinced a married man to commit adultery to carry out their plan to trap Jesus. The second possibility may have involved a married woman. In this case they would have convinced a man to commit adultery with a married woman. In the first case the religious leaders were breaking the marriage vows the man was involved in. In the second case they would have ruined the marriage the woman should have been committed to. In either case, the Pharisees would have proved their status and goals were more important then the law, and family values. The third circumstance of course involves the possibility that the religious leaders happened upon a man and woman committing adultery by some sort of random check. But the law called for both to put to death. Where was the man? Why did they neglect to bring the man to Jesus?
How the religious leaders caught the woman in the act of adultery is of course a mystery. We do know how Jesus reacted to the situation. This is the detail we need to pay attention to. Jesus did not do what the Pharisees wanted Him to do, which is enter into a debate about the law. When we look at the text we see Jesus went to the temple to teach. Instead of listening to Jesus, the religious leaders were busy setting a trap for Him. John tells us the religious leaders interrupted Jesus as He was speaking. They were not seeking Jesus’ opinion about the welfare of the woman. Instead they structured their question in a manner to draw Jesus into a debate about the law. They asked Jesus, “The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
Jesus would not debate them. He knew, no matter what the real circumstances involved, adultery always involves lies. Jesus also knew how one lie led to another. It would be useless to debate the matter. Instead Jesus bend down and began writing in the dust. We have no idea what Jesus wrote. The religious leaders were certain their plan would succeed, so they demanded an answer. This is when Jesus provided the answer no one expected. “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
We don’t know if Jesus’ answer turned them all away, or if it was what He wrote in the dust. If we look back at the previous texts we see something very interesting. The religious leaders sent guards to arrest Jesus. When the guards came back without Jesus, they were scolded. The guards tried to explain they could not arrest Jesus after they heard Him speak. They took time to listen and something touched their hearts. Was Jesus able to plant a few seeds?
The Pharisees were not happy their orders were not carried out. The asked the guards; “Have you been led astray, too? Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!” (John 7:47-49 NLTse).
The Pharisees didn’t want anything to go wrong that day. They took matters into their own hands. Instead of trusting others, they faced Jesus themselves. Why did the Pharisees abandon their plan, turn and walk away from Jesus?