John begins his gospel saying, “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (Jn. 1:9 see also vv. 10-13). Jesus, the light of the world, came to lead us out of the darkness of sin. Some preferred the darkness and rejected Jesus; others accepted Him. All who walked in His light Jesus gave the right to be called children of God.
The woman’s accusers were exposed to the light recognizing they too were guilty of sin. Those who wanted to trap Jesus now found themselves speechless. . .
Jesus was at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem where He revealed Himself as “the light of the world” (Jn.8:12). Each year at Tabernacles the Temple would be illuminated by four 75 foot tall menorahs. These would burn brightly all night providing light to Jerusalem. It was a reminder of how the LORD’S presence shown above the Tabernacle in the wilderness as a pillar of fire.
Jesus would use the familiar celebration of God’s appointed times to help people know Him as He truly is. It is during Tabernacles that Jesus also shows us that He brings us into the light to lead us out of the darkness of sin.
Our passage today is no doubt authentic, but there is question to when it took place. I believe it happened during the feast following the debate in John 7:32-36, but before “The Last and Greatest Day,” which follows in John 7:37. Enough textual criticism; now on with John’s story.
Everyone returned to their homes, but Jesus went out to the Mt. of Olives where He most likely spent much of the night in prayer as was His habit. The next morning during Tabernacles the religious leaders and Pharisees (experts in the law) brought a woman caught in the very act of adultery to Jesus at the Temple. They thought for sure they had Jesus between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place.’
That’s when Jesus turned the tables on them. Jesus who was silently writing with His finger on the ground stood up and said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (Jn. 8:7). Then He again stooped down and continued writing on the ground. Many wonder what Jesus may have been writing. I believe He was writing their names; the woman’s accusers were exposed to the light recognizing they too were guilty of sin. Those who wanted to trap Jesus now found themselves speechless; dropping their stones they all turned and left confirming Jeremiah’s prophecy (see – Jer. 17:13).
Jesus was left alone with the woman. Now don’t miss this. Jesus was the only one without sin who could throw the first stone. More than that, Jesus knew the woman was guilty and according to the Law deserved to die. But Jesus did not condemn her but told her, “Go, and from now on sin no more” (v. 11). Jesus, the light of the world was leading her out of the darkness of sin.
Later on “the Last and Greatest Day” Jesus addressed the watching crowd and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (v. 12). Jesus is the LORD’S Servant who came as the light of the world to lead us out of the darkness of sin.
Let’s pause today and thank Jesus for the light that He sines into our lives giving us sight to see. The Holy Spirit enables us to see ourselves as we truly are, dead in our sin and in need of a Savior. But Jesus does not leave us there; His light also gives us life. By our faith in Christ the Holy Spirit lifts us out of the darkness of sin empowering us to truly live.
And as we pray let’s also dedicate ourselves to walk in the light He has given, to be holy just as God is holy. Like the woman, the Holy Spirit catches us in the very act of our sin; we know we are guilty because as Jesus said the Spirit “will convict the world concerning sin” (Jn. 16:8).
Although we too are guilty and deserve to die, Jesus does not condemn us. Instead He gives us light to see telling us, “Go, and from now on sin no more.”