"Pastor is it OK to sell
a Bible to a prostitute?"
Laura is a member of a
small church in a small town in central Brazil. She
has sold Avon products for years in the town to
supplement the family income. One of her weekly
routes takes here through the red light district,
and with those business contacts she often shares
her faith in Jesus Christ.
One day after asking her
pastor if it is Ok to sell Bibles to prostitutes she
took a few Bibles with her on her Avon trips to the
red light district.
God opened a door to
present Bibles and Christian books in a house of
prostitutes. Oddly enough, the house was located
directly across the road from a large evangelical
church. Ten of these women gathered around a table
one afternoon as Laura shared with them the good
news of salvation in Jesus Christ. A few Bibles and
some books containing testimonies of transformed
lives were sold that afternoon.
Several months later
there were terrible rains and floods in that part of
Brazil, causing several deaths. With the floods came
mudslides in communities that had been inundated by
the rising rivers. Two prostitutes who had attended
the book demonstration earlier that year talked
about the danger and decided to read the Bible they
had purchased. Perhaps thinking the book to be like
an Agatha Christie mystery novel, they started with
Revelation in order to find the conclusion of the
story. What they read terrified them.
They read with dismay
Revelation 21:7, 8: "He who overcomes will inherit
all this, and I will be his God and he will be my
son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile,
the murderers, and the sexually immoral, the
idolaters and all liars––their place will be in the
fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second
The gal who owned the
Bible became alarmed and exclaimed, "We're lost!
We're lost!" Her housemate replied, "No, you're
lost. I'm not lost because I do penance every day."
Still alarmed and concerned, they continued to read.
A few days later Laura
visited her Avon customers. These two women
literally pulled her off the street and shoved the
Bible into her hands. "Read this part right there!
Tell us what it means!" they ordered. Laura read the
verses and responded, "It means that when you
practice and live in one of these sins, you will not
be permitted to enter heaven." Again, the owner of
the Bible cried, "We're lost! We're lost! I told you
we were lost!" Her friend again assured her, "No,
you're lost. I'm not lost because I repent every
explained, "is when you confess your wrong and
completely turn around. You do not repent. Repenting
is turning from your sin. You only feel guilty for
your sins." Again, the prostitute shouted even
louder, "We are lost! We're lost!" After sharing the
plan of salvation and trying to pray with them Laura
returned home planning to visit again. One week
passed by and she made her way down the muddy and
rutted dirt streets of that little suburb. On
arriving at the home of the two prostitutes, she was
handed a note by the one who had been so assured of
her false repentance.
Enclosed is the money I
owe. Thank you so much for help. After your visit
last week, I returned to my hometown and am living
with my parents. On Sunday I attended an evangelical
church and gave my heart to the Lord Jesus. If ever
I visit your city again, it will only be to attend
your church. Jesus has made me a different person.
We can never estimate the
power of God's Spirit working through His Word to
convict, regenerate and transform lives in Jesus
This amazing true story
of the power of God's Word was adapted from Richard
Jacobsen, "A Miracle in Ipatinga," American Bible
Society Record, (April 1988, Vol. 134, No. 4.),
When Jesus Christ comes
into your life, He sets you free! There is no
greater freedom in all the earth than having all
your sins forgiven and being at peace with God. "If
the Son shall make you free, you are free, indeed!"
John chapter eight opens
with Jesus teaching a crowd of people who were
coming and going in the Temple (8:1-2). It was early
in the morning when Jesus began to teach them. Not
everyone of course was ready to hear Him teach. A
group of Pharisees called for His death, and was
ready to trap Jesus. Some were saying, "Never did a
man speak the way this man speaks" (7:46). Others
were responding, "You have not been led astray, have
you?" (v. 47). One of their own, Nicodemus entered
into the discussion suggesting that no one should
prejudge another without first hearing from him and
knowing what he is doing (vv. 50-51). However, the
Pharisees as a group was ready to entrap Jesus.
JESUS DEALS WITH
Jesus helps people where
ever and in whatever condition He finds them. He was
busy teaching when He was interrupted by a group of
thugs who crash in on Him. They came dragging into
the room a disheveled, hastily clothed, barefooted
and humiliated woman.
A woman was taken
in adultery (vv. 3-4)
The scribes and Pharisees
brought a woman whom they testified was caught in
"the very act" of adultery (v. 4). There is no
question about her guilt. John repeats the statement
twice in two verses, a woman "caught in adultery."
She was "taken with shame upon her." She has lived
in continuous adulterous relationships so long that
she is now characterized as an adulteress.
Where is the man? If I
remember correctly, it takes two! Verse four says
she was "caught in adultery, the very act." Should
there not have been have been two sinners? Is this a
lynching party? Where is the man? Who is trying to
get even with the woman? Who set the deliberate trap
for her? Her husband, or a former lover? Perhaps the
husband set her up to divorce her or have her
George MacDonald wrote in
his poem "Sweet Peril":
"Alas, how easily things
A sigh too much, or a
kiss to long,
And there follows a mist
and a weeping rain,
And life is never the
She was guilty. There is
no question about that. But it is also a candid
reminder that "all have sinned and come short of the
glory of God" (Romans 3:23). No one rises up to meet
the divine expectation for mankind. This woman was
not the only one who had a problem; we all have a
spiritual problem. We have all failed in the sight
of God. We all got an "F" on our spiritual report
What will you do
with this sinner (vv. 5– 6)?
This is a well-rehearsed
plot to "test" Jesus with the idea of proving Him
false. They were skillfully laying a trap. It was a
The Pharisees demanded,
"Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such
women; what then do You say?" (v. 5). I am sure they
were ready to misquote Deuteronomy 22:22ff. They
stressed stoning the woman in the recorded quotes of
their conversation with Jesus, but the Law demanded
that both parties be stoned. It was only under the
condition of persistence after previous warning and
after the actual witness of the act of adultery by
two competent witnesses that a couple was to be
The Pharisees and scribes
continued to press their point. They were not after
the poor woman as much as they were after Jesus.
They were saying this "testing" Jesus (v. 6). They
wanted grounds for "accusing" Jesus. He is the one
they are really after.
self-appointed judge and jury were out to hang
Jesus. We are determined we are going to get rid of
you, one way or the other, no matter what it takes.
They were filled with self–righteous hatred toward
They kept stressing their
point. "They persisted in asking Him" (v. 7a). They
kept the pressure on Jesus. Come on, tell us
teacher, what do You say?
JESUS THE SAVIOR
As the Pharisees kept
pushing their question, with the intent of trapping
Him, "Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote
on the ground" (v. 6b). I don't know what He wrote.
No one does. I have heard many wild ideas in my
life, but none are of any value. We simply don't
know what He wrote in the sand. It is really not
important to us. What is crucial is what follows.
Jesus, will you kill the
woman or kill the Law of Moses? Will you compromise
your religious principles or kill the person?
My wife and I with some
friends watched the summer performance of the epic
tale of King Author and Queen Guenevere. You will
recall in the play that King Author's most trusted
and renowned knight Lancelot gingerly slipped his
toe across the marital boundary. It started with an
innocent look. Just a look, without premeditation or
an evil intent. However, it was a short, slippery
step from a look to lust, from infatuation to the
bed of infidelity. The look led to a touch. The
touch sometime later led to a kiss. The kiss led to
adultery. And the adultery led to tragedy.
Mordred, who caught
Guenevere and Lancelot in their unfaithfulness
taunted the King. Of course, Lancelot escaped, but
Guenevere was captured and sentenced to death by the
court. In the climatic scene where Arthur is called
upon to give the signal to commence the execution,
Mordred taunts him with wicked joy.
"Arthur! What a
magnificent dilemma! Let her die, your life is over;
let her live, your life's a fraud. Which will it be,
Arthur? Do you kill the Queen or kill the law?"
Ok Jesus, what will You
do? You are the teacher of the Law. You teach with
authority. Let us hear Your answer. Kill the Law or
kill this sinner?
Jesus stooped wrote
in the sand (vv. 6b-8).
As these religious
leaders persisted in questioning him, Jesus stood up
and invited any one among them who was sinless, not
guilty of general sinfulness, to throw the first
stone. By this statement they could not possibly say
Jesus rejected the law. Jesus specifically enjoined
them to throw the first stone. Go ahead, you are
right, the Law says stone her. She is guilty. Now,
you, which one of you, is sinless? Moreover, if they
threw the stone they would have been guilty of
breaking the Roman Law against capital punishment!
Only the Roman government in Jesus' day could
execute a criminal. That is why the Jewish religious
leaders manipulated Pilate to execute Jesus! They
didn't have the authority to execute Him.
Jesus straightened up,
and said to them, "He who is without sin among you,
let him be the first to throw a stone at her" (v.
7). Then Jesus again "stooped down, and wrote on the
ground" (v. 8).
The Silence (vv.
I think a deathly silence
fell over that crowd. The audience who had been
listening to Jesus, the Master Teacher, anxiously
listened for His answer. They had been in rapt
Then the Pharisees and
scribes who hauled the woman in suddenly abandoned
her, one by one. "They began to go out and continued
one by one." They were preoccupied with their own
sin! "And when they heard it, they began to go out
[and continued] one buy one, beginning with the
older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman,
where she had been, in the midst" (v. 9).
What would you say to
this poor humiliated sinner? What word of hope would
you offer her? Would they be biting words of
indignation and scorn? Would you take the
opportunity to really scold her and set her
straight? How do you deal with sinners, caught in
the very act?
JESUS FREELY OFFERS
"And straightening up,
Jesus said to her, 'Woman, where are they? Did no
one condemn you?'" (v. 10). "No one, Lord" (v. 11a).
This condemned woman
needed grace. (Jn. 8:11, 12:46-47; Rom. 8:1)
I can hear the legalists
now screaming, "You liberals preach grace!" Jesus
preached grace! Paul preached grace! A world of lost
sinners needs grace! We need God's free gift of
eternal life. We need salvation by grace alone
through faith alone in Christ alone.
The woman did not make
any excuses (v. 11). She was guilty. She knew it.
She stood condemned. She didn't have to be convinced
of that fact. She needed grace. She did not deserve
it. "The wages of sin is death." "The soul that sins
will surely die." She couldn't earn it. She was a
spiritual pauper in the need of the riches of God's
Jesus said to her,
"Neither do I condemn you; go your way; from now on
sin no more" (v. 11). Let those words soak in.
"Neither do I . . . " "Neither do I condemn you."
How could Jesus offer
such a sinner no condemnation? He did it the same
way He does to us. He knew that He was going to the
cross to die for her sins. "For while we were still
helpless" sinners. That is the way all sinners are.
Helpless. A helpless sinner doesn't merit
forgiveness. A helpless sinner doesn't earn
forgiveness. "For while we were still helpless
[sinners], at the right time Christ died for the
ungodly" (Romans 5:6).
demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (v. 8).
To every guilt-ridden
sinner who puts their trust in Jesus Christ as their
savior the LORD God comes today and whispers in your
ear "neither do I condemn you." "There is now no
condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"
Do you have that sense of
peace and forgiveness? "Therefore having been
justified by faith, we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). You can have
that peace right now by acknowledging your need of
God's forgiveness and putting your faith in Jesus
Christ alone to save you. "For by grace you have
been saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result
of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians
2:8–9). Ask Him to save you right now believing that
He died for you on the cross and rose from the dead.
Now that you are saved
what is your responsibility as a saved sinner? It is
the same as the woman in our story. Jesus told her
literally, "Stop your sinful habit." Make a clean
break with sin. A. T. Robertson observes it is
imperative of prohibition, "No longer go on
Jesus did not tell the
woman to clean up her act and then He would forgive
her. He said, "Neither do I condemn you; go your
way; sin no more." He said, now that you are saved,
don't continue with your sinful lifestyle. He didn't
say be obedient and then I will save you. He forgave
her. He saved her by grace alone through faith alone
in Christ alone.
When you are saved by
grace you want to live Christ now that you have been
Even a wicked sinner can
be saved today. There is salvation for all who will
put their faith in Christ.
I don't care what
happened last night, last month, last year, or
whenever in your life. What I do care is that you
will come to Jesus and receive the free gift of
eternal life right now. Acknowledge to Him that you
need His saving grace and forgiveness. "Believe on
the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall saved."
"Whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have
eternal life." "For God did not send the Son into
the world to judge the world; but that the world
should be saved through Him" (John 3:17). "He who
believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who
does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the
wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36).
Resolve in your own heart
that from this day on to live a life consecrated to
Jesus Christ. "Go . . . sin no more." You live the
Christian life the same way you began, by grace
through faith alone in Christ alone. You have the
Holy Spirit within you to strengthen you and deliver
you from temptation.
Correcting wrong starts
with forgiveness, not rebuke. There is a keen
reminder here that whenever we confront wrong we
must be truly humble, not proud. We must take a long
hard critical look at our own lives. Galatians 6:1
reminds us, "Brethren, even if a man is caught in
any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a
one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to
yourselves, lest you too be tempted." Never were
those words truer than in our day. Don't let the
temptation of religious pride ensnare you. If you
are in a position where you deal with those who are
trapped in sin ask God for wisdom, and do not try to
bring healing by yourself. Have an accountability
group. The privilege of condemning wrong is based on
righteousness, not knowledge. Are you without sin?
Any sin? Are you spiritual enough to restore the one
caught in a trespass? If you're not, then don't. Let
a more mature believer be the caregiver (Matthew
Take a few moments right
now and celebrate your freedom in Christ. "It is for
freedom that Christ set you free; therefore keep
standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke
of slavery" (Galatians 5:1).
Title: John 8:1-11
Neither do I Condemn You
Series: People in Life of