Sermon – Sham Courtroom, Real Grace (John 7:53 – 8:11) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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John 2021

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The Book of John was authored by one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, John, who features in the gospel. John makes his mission for writing the book plain in 20:31; “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” He details the many words and claims of Jesus, as well as the various responses from those listening; in either faith, amazement, caution or rejection. Listen as Cornerstone preachers unpack the narrative and invite us to reflect on our own response to Jesus.

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Sermon 27 of 58

Sham Courtroom, Real Grace

Ben Read, John 7:53 - 8:11, 26 June 2022

Ben continues our series in the book of John, preaching from John 7:53-8:11. To begin the sermon, Ben speaks on current scholarship on these verses and why they are relevant to our understanding of who Jesus is. We see in these verses that we have a perfectly righteous judge who has shown us mercy that we do not deserve.

John 7:53 - 8:11

53 [[They went each to his own house, 8:1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

If you wanna turn up your church bibles to John chapter 7, and we're gonna be reading the very last verse, John 7 verse 53 through 8 11. And then before Ben comes to preach to us. He's just gonna come up and talk a little bit about this passage just to help our understanding as we come to it before he then pre preaches it to us. So let's have the reading.

John seven:fifty 3, but it may start right next to the big 8 there in your bible. Then they all went home, but Jesus went to the mount of olives. At dawn, he appeared again in the temple court where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the pharisees brought in a woman who was caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, teacher This woman was caught in the act of adultery.

In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now, what do you say? They were using this question as a trap in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to right on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and he said to them, let any 1 of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.

Again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away 1 at a time at the older ones first until only Jesus was left with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her woman, where are they? Has no 1 condemned you? No 1, sir, she said, then neither do I condemn you.

Jesus declared, go now and leave your life of percent. Ben? Thank you, Tom. Good evening, everyone. Good evening, friends.

Nice to see you. If you're new visiting, also welcome from me. I'm Ben. I'm 1 of the pastors here at the Church. Just going to spend a few minutes talking about this passage, which is a bit strange.

We don't normally do this. But this is this is a very famous story. As Tom said, it's an incredible story. So if I don't do it justice, I apologize, because it's an incredible story. But you might have had questions as to why it's sort of presented the way that it is in the bible.

I remember asking this around dinner table when I was younger and not really getting any answer. So if you were like me and thought, why is it sort of strange? Because depending on your translation, It might have the sort of horizontal block lines in your bible. It might have the small font and the sort of italics it might have sort of a big stamp above it, that sort of is like a footnote warning. Everything about it screams a warning, alert.

I want to draw your attention to something. We want to make something super, duper clear. So before we get to the text itself, just a few minutes about what's going on here. And then we're going to sing again. And then after that, I'll get up and we'll dive into the passage.

So You may or may not know that the old testament is really incredibly attested historically. We have over 5000 different portions of manuscripts from the earliest centuries today. They're in an amusing museums all over the world. But there's a center in Germany that's collated them all and sort of catalogued them and identified every single unique 1. And so we have 5000 manuscripts, either of the whole of the new testament, or of whole of books, or of just part sort of fragments, but altogether over 5000.

And if you know anything about history, that is staggering. That's staggering. Comparable events from that time in history, there were only handfuls of manuscripts detailing what happened. We have over 5000 of the New Testament and of Jesus' life and the life of the early church, which is amazing. It is amazing.

And what's interesting is As numbers of manuscripts increase, the numbers of sort of minor differences also starts increase. So if you have 5000 manuscripts, you can imagine, there might be a word here or a sentence structure there or a bit of grammar there that's different. But If you have 5000 manuscripts, you can be really confident what the original is. Because if it's this word here, but in everywhere else it's this word. You're okay, fine.

It's clearly that word. And if it's this sentence structure here, but all over here it's this sentence structure, you can figure out, okay, that's the original. In short, we, as Christians, can be incredibly confident that the new testament we have here in front of us, is the same new testament that the early church had in the first few centuries after Jesus died, raised to life and ascended into heaven. That is amazing that we're reading the same words as our brothers and sisters were in the early church. That's incredible.

What's different about this section here in chapter 8, is that none of the earliest copies of John's gospel include these verses. There's just not there in any of them. For the first 500 years or 400 years, these verses just aren't there. In any of them. And this is sort of backed up by the fact that Bible commentators from those first few centuries, when talking about John's Gospel, they'd go from talking about the section in John chapter 7, straight to John chapter 8 verse 12.

And so they sort of skip out that piece entirely. Now, when it does appear in are bible manuscripts in the fifth century. It suddenly appears in 4 different places at once. It appears in a couple of places in John 7, in some manuscripts, in some manuscripts, it appears in John chapter 21. In some manuscripts, it's even in Luke's gospel.

So it's not even in the book of John. And bible scholars, when they look at this section in John's gospel, They acknowledge that the style of writing is different from the rest of the gospel. Words are used here that you don't find in the rest of the gospel, sentence structure is different. It's kind of hidden in our English. So when we read it, we don't really notice it.

But when you're reading the original languages, you it's much more stark. Now all of that is to say that this is actually most likely not part of John's original gospel. There you go. How about that? That is the opinion of bible scholars such as Don Carson.

So if you rate him, that's what he thinks. There's a bloke called Bruce Metzka. He also backs it up. John Piper, pastor, agrees with this. And actually, even our Bible publishers today aren't confident, which is why you have and the warning.

Okay? However, the fact that this is not likely necessarily part of John's Gospel doesn't mean that this didn't happen. And that this isn't an authentic, genuine, real story. With truth in it about who Jesus is, what he did and the results of of his of his ministry to this woman. In chapter 20, John himself says Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his apples, which are not recorded in this book.

So John even concede at the end of his gospel, he says, look, Jesus did so many things that all the books of the world couldn't hold more. And when you read Mark's gospel, you read stuff that's not in this gospel. And when you read this gospel, there's stuff here that's not in Mark's gospel. So there's plenty of things that Jesus did that just aren't included in the 4 gospels as we have them. That doesn't mean he didn't do them.

And so all those people, Don Carson, Bruce Metzka, John Piper, obviously, our bible publishers and us here as an eldership. Believe that this very likely happened. Because it's so Jesus like, isn't it? It's so Jesus like when you read it. And it's so wonderful.

You actually can imagine the early church who have preserved this story, not in John's Gospel, going. This story is so good. We've got to preserve it. We've got to keep it. Can we can we keep it amongst the scriptures somewhere?

Can we pop it in? And it's interesting to think why they might have put it in here, and we'll get to that. Does it illustrate something that John's gospel is really beautifully painting? So maybe we'll see that. So just to summarize, as we look at this in a minute after we sing, we're going to see things that are absolutely true of Jesus.

And the reason we can be confident of that is because of the rest of scripture. So if you see anything tonight that moves you, that is heartwarming, that encourages you, that challenges you. Believe it because it's everywhere in the scriptures, not just not just here. So Hopefully, that clarifies a few things. We're going to sing now.

And then after we sing, I'm going to come up and we're going to look at what happens in this incredible story. Lovely. Take your seat. And let's let's pray before we jump in and have a look at this passage. Father, thank you, for just the scribes and the brothers and sisters who've preserved your word over 2000 years.

Faithfully that we might have it today. Thank you that in your sovereignty, you've kept it for us. And Lord, in your sovereignty, you've allowed this passage to to be in this Gospel. And father, we know we know the Lord Jesus Christ. You've revealed him to us through your words, your holy spirit has given us eyes to see him.

We love him. And father, when we see Jesus here, we see Jesus, and we love him. And so I pray that you would teach us things and show us things that are true about him in Jesus' name. Our men. Our men.

I wonder if you've been to the theater ever or the musicals. And you've seen the changing of the set You know what happens. It's quite amazing, actually. The lights go down. The backdrop suddenly goes up.

People come in and sweep clear the props that are on the stage. And there's like foreground elements on wheels sometimes that spin around and it's a different thing that you're looking at, and then the lights come on suddenly within a few blinks, you're looking at an entirely different set. Well, here in verse 2, it's dawn. The morning sunlight is casting long shadows in the temple courtyards in Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem is just waking up.

You can hear the market starting to open their stalls, the cry is crying. Dogs barking, birds chirping. The city of Jerusalem is waking up going about its business. Now Jesus appeared And he's in the temple courts, and he sits down, which is what the rabbis would do to show their authority as teachers. And normally people would come and listen to you if you were a good rabbi.

Here we see, as as usual, a large crowd comes and gathers around Jesus to hear him teach. Actually, it's so large, it says all the people. Where is it? Verse 2, at dawn, he appeared again in the Temple Court where all the people. It's like how much food did you eat this often and all the food.

A lot. How many people came to see Jesus? All the people Amazing. All the people came to hear this rabbi Jesus teach, and they're hanging on every word he's got to say. And he begins to teach that maybe today's lesson is, blessed of the peacemakers.

But they will be called children of God. Don't know that? But Jesus is teaching. And he begins to teach. Now suddenly, in verse 3, the pharisees burst in.

Yeah? The lights go down, the backdrop goes up, the props get cleared off the stage, foreground elements turn around. The lights come back on and suddenly, we're looking at a different scene. We're in a courtroom We suddenly find ourselves in a courtroom. And in this courtroom, Jesus is the judge.

He hasn't got that long sort of curly wavy hair though, but he sat down. The crowd have become the jury, the pharisees of the prosecution, and this woman is this suspect on trial. Openening remarks are given straight away. Nobody stands in respect for the judge, interestingly. In verse 3, you'll read just this little summary of this change of scene.

The teachers of the law and the pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, teacher, This woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now, what do you say? Judge, oh, most honorable judge.

What is your judgment, judge? You know the law, you're the 1 with the hammer, You're the 1 who will proclaim authoritatively what should happen. So what do you say? Now this is a trial. It's a trial about God's holy law.

This is a trial about righteousness This is a trial about sin, genuine sin, and about judgment for that sin through stoning. If you know anything about stoning, you'll know it's a very awful way to die. You are pelted with rocks, probably from close range, large rocks, sharp rocks, jagged rocks, heavy rocks, and you were just pelted by an angry mob until you die. And hopefully, you are knocked on before too long. So you don't have to experience that.

It's a horrible way to die. That the trial. The sin in question, the prosecution of bringing this sin to the table. The sin in question is adultery. Now, that's a serious sin, adultery.

It's a serious sin. God has designed marriage. God's made marriage 1 man, 1 woman, he's made sexual union to be between 1 man, 1 woman, to show something about his covenant love for us. Marriage isn't just a nice thing that God's given us. It's the very picture of how he wants to show his love for us.

And so that's how he's made us, in his image, and given us this wonderful gift of covenant and faithfulness and exclusivity and love. Marriage is a wonderful, wonderful thing. And breaking this picture that God has given us is not to be taken lightly. I mean, we watch TV shows all the time, and actually, adultery is kind of glorified. Strange, isn't it?

You watch a TV show and you almost want the protagonist to leave their horrible whatever and and commit adultery. Sometimes we're sort of we're woos towards the idea, but we shouldn't take it lightly. It's not just an offense against God, but it's a perversion of of God's character and his goodness and who he's made us to be. He's he's he's made us to be faithful like he's faithful. He's made us to be committed like he's committed.

It's so ugly, adultery. It's so ungodly, it's so unlike God. And so we we need to to sort of put ourselves in this Jewish mind frame, especially. This is a serious sin that this woman has committed. But as legitimate as this accusation is, the pharisees are coming in with this accusation.

It's legitimate. Actually, what we see is the entire trial is just a sham. It's a sham trial for a number of reasons. Sham courtroom. Firstly, the law that they're quoting and the basis for their accusation, do I have it?

Yes. Due toonomy 22, 22, if a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. That's the law. So here's this woman and quite amazingly, she's been caught in the act She's been caught in the act. So she's literally dragged away from this man, in the act.

And she's brought as she was, that morning. She was in the act that morning and she's brought and dragged. And she's probably barely dressed or scantily. Sort of dressed, and she's brought into into not just public, but into the temple in Jerusalem. There are certain places that are sort of holier and you wanna be a bit more covered I suppose in a way.

Here's this woman bought straight into remember all the people around Jesus, she's bought interview of all the people in the temple courts, and that's devastating for this woman. But where is the man? If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. If they're able to catch this woman in the act, By definition, that means there's a bloke there, doesn't it? It's in the act.

So why have they grabbed her, taken her, shoved her in front of a bunch of people in her nakedness and shame and left this bloke where he was. The emphasis of this law is if a man is found sleeping with another man's wife. Do you feel that emphasis? It's actually more his responsibility than it is hers. Then he should both the man and the woman's side.

It's almost the woman is almost a thing at the end. But it's the bloke's responsibility. It's the bloke's ultimate fault. But where on earth is he? There's actually a strong possibility that this guy was on the whole thing.

Can't notice for sure. But it's very fishy. Because in this law, in Jewish law, you had to have 2 witnesses in order to accuse someone or something. 2 witnesses. Now, which 2 blokes are just looking into another bloke's bedroom, waiting on the off chance that someone's going to be committing adultery.

And why isn't this bloke here? Smells fishy to be. But look, whether or not that's the case, the pharisees appear to be very zealous, don't they? They've rushed in. They've stopped Jesus.

Jesus, I know you're teaching. I know this is probably very important what you're about to say, but this is more important. Pause what you're saying, Jesus. We've got to deal with this because we love the law. God's law is very important.

We must obey the law, we must deal with the law properly, So they've come in, they've changed this lovely, Jerusalem, the morning seat into a courtroom. But actually in reality, they don't care about the law at all. If if the above, you know, wasn't enough, in verse 6, we see plainly that the whole thing is a sham. They were using this question as a trap in order to have a basis for accusing him. They're accusing this woman in order to accuse Jesus.

You see there double accusing. They accuse this woman in order to have a basis to accuse Jesus. Now, Why would Jesus be accused through the judging of this case? Interesting question. Well, actually, this is this is typical faricisism.

And actually 1 of the reasons why this is probably a real story, because this is just classically, pharisee. They think they've got Jesus trapped Because if they say Jesus, this woman was caught in adultery, the law says, which has stoned her, what do you say? And if Jesus says, let stone her, then they can go to the Roman authorities and report Jesus, because in those days, it was the Romans who had the authority to inflict capital punishment. Is that the right way around? Yeah.

Capital punishment, not corporal punishment. Capital punishment. It was only the Romans you could do it. So if Jesus had stoned her, then they could say, ah, pilot. Look.

Look at this guy. Look at this rioter, this guy causing problems. You should you should have him arrested and killed. So that's the first trap. Second trap is if Jesus said now let her off, don't stone her.

Then they can say, ah, he's not a prophet. Told you. He doesn't obey the word of God. He doesn't care about the word of God. And actually, they'd be in error even there because the law doesn't disipulate death by stoning.

So if Jesus has just said don't stone her. But anyway, so that's what the pharisees do. It's a sham. The whole thing is a sham. It's just accusing this woman in order to accuse Jesus.

Now there is in the scriptures, another accuser, and that is the devil. Revelation says that the devil, day and night, accuses the believers before God. Day and night. It's day now. So what is Satan doing?

He's accusing you. He hates God, Satan. And he hates God's people. It's interesting. The only weapon I know we've said this before.

The only weapon Satan has against God's people is the judgment of God. Satan is toothless. What can satan do about your eternal soul? Nothing. But what can he do?

He can tempt you to break the law of God so that God, the judge who can do something about your eternal soul. Brings judgment upon you. And so what does Satan do? He's relentless in temptation, and he's relentless in his subsequent declaration of guilt. Yeah, come on, do this.

It'll be good. It'll be good. Look, look what they did. Look God. Look what they did.

If you know the book of Job, that's basically a big courtroom scene between Satan and Joe. And Satan is just trying to get Job to slip up, tempt him to curse god and commit idolatry. And that's what Satan does. And so what that means is that this sort of scene that we see here in John chapter 8, Actually, it's it's kind of much more about that than it is just this woman. And just these varices.

Because this is exactly what happens here is exactly what happens to us. And so the scene's gonna change again. Yeah? The backdrop's gonna go up, the lights have gone down, the props have been cleared, the foreground elements are swapped around, the lights are back on, now you. Are in court.

This is now your courtroom. You are the sinner, You have broken God's Holy Law, and I know you have, because I have. And I'm just like and you're just like me. So let's not pretend here. We've broken God's Holy Law.

We're sinful. This is our court. And look, to be honest, Satan's wasted no time in catching you in the act. He's caught you in the act. He's actually set you up.

He's tempted you. He's allured you. And you've sinned. And now he's dragging you naked before the throne of Jesus and saying, look, you know, we're not we're not really aware of this, you know, half the time are we, most of the time, we aren't aware of this, but there's a there's a giant court case going on in heaven every time that we sin. There's an accuser, there's a prosecution, and he's accusing us.

So the last time you swore violently at someone, you care about. You were caught in the act when you did that. You were caught in the act. As you swore, you were dragged before Jesus. The last time you lied to cover your back, you were caught in the act of lying.

Last time you were jealous for another man or woman, you were caught in the act and you were taken right before Jesus. And your sin was laid out by the accuser. We can make no mistakes here. The pharisees were pretty detailed. Lord.

They didn't say lord. They said teacher, she was caught in the act. You can make no mistake that Satan is not gonna forget any details of your sin. He knows the time, the date, the location, he even has witnesses, Do you know who Satan calls as the main witness to your sin? Isn't it the Lord?

Doesn't he say, look, you can see what they did. You were there. You saw it. He calls on God himself as the primary witness to your sin. Day and night, he stands before God accusing you of your sin, and reminding God of the law.

What do you say? The law says they should die. The law says they should die. Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women.

Now, what do you say, God? You're gonna go against your word. So here's the thing. God's Lord does say she should be put to death this woman. Notice what Jesus says in response to this woman sin.

Notice what the judge actually decrees after hearing the evidence. What does the judge say? The judge says, let anyone of you who's without sin be the first to throw Stone at her. Any 1 of you who's without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. He says guilty.

Jesus says. He says, guilty. Yes. You're right. Deserving of death.

Yes. In fact, stones should be thrown at her, most shockingly. Jesus doesn't in this nice little story, Jesus doesn't sweep the sin under the carpet and say, oh, it doesn't matter. Let her go. You're being a bit harsh.

Doesn't say, well, she can make up for it. She can't make up for it. She is deserving of nothing short of death. The pharisees are right about this. Actually, Satan is right about this.

And Jesus is right about this. And if we think that's too harsh, then maybe we need to hear this morning, sermon. We need to see just how foolish we are and how deserving that is of our final destination. The wages of sin is death, the Bible says, and you, I'm afraid to say it, are a sinner. You are guilty.

And according to judge Jesus, you should be stoned. I should be stoned. So this is where we are. We're standing before God We're naked. We've been caught in the act.

We've been dragged before Jesus. Satan says, I've got them. I entice them to sin. I know what their weakness is. And I allured them, and I got them, and now I'm accusing them before God, according to his law and they will certainly die.

And now this woman, if you could imagine her, she's probably terrified by this point. She's had a horrific sort of thing happen to her being dragged away anyway, into public, into the temple courts. But now she's standing, and Jesus has said, yeah, you should stone her. And she's probably sat there or stood there waiting for the first stones to start hitting her, sort of bracing herself, clenching her eyes. She's terrified.

She can't run away. But then something incredible happens. And isn't this why the early church wanted to keep this story? We must preserve this story among the Scriptures. Because this is the story of the cross.

It's the story of grace. This is the story of the Lord Jesus said, that any 1 of you who is without sin be the first to throw the stone at her, yes, your judgement is correct, yes, she's a sinner, yes, she's guilty, but judgment must be righteous. And it must come, not from sinners, but from a just perfect sinless judge. Only a blameless judge can bring judgment upon this sinner. And at this, you can imagine the the pharisees were like, yeah, we're it, and then they were thinking about it.

They were about to fling and they thought, oh, Have in a minute. And they're sort of zeal. Their readiness to kill her is sort of slowly extinguished. It's like a flame that slowly dies. And they lower their hands with the rocks in them, and they realize that actually none of them can throw even a single pebble against this woman.

They'd so easily condemned her with their tongues. She deserves to die, and then they can't bring themselves to do it with their hands. And at verse 9, at those – at this, those who began – those who heard, began to go away 1 at a time, the older ones first. It's interesting detail. The older ones leave first, isn't it?

It's an interesting detail. Maybe they're just a bit Why is it include up to their sin? They've been alive longer. They go, yeah, that rules me out then. Whereas the younger ones are there, go, come on.

Yeah. Who's who's gonna throw the first stone? Maybe rabbi Woodcock. Rabbi I Woodcock. He's sinless.

He'll do it. Yeah, go on rabbi. Go on rabbi. Oh, he's not. He's leaving.

Okay. Rabbi Dryden. Yeah. There's a sinless brother if I ever saw 1 going through the first stone mate and then I can love mine. Nope.

He's gone as well. Rabbi, rabbi sweet man. Come on. Look at that rabbi there. Look at him.

He'll chuck that stone. Where is he? Oh, he's walking away. And so the young ones waiting for anyone to throw the first It doesn't All the A Sindler's person said to throw the first stone. He didn't say you couldn't throw the second stone.

It's just 1 little stone. Come on. Who's Sindler's here? Come on. Everyone eventually leaves.

It's interesting. Even sated there with his rock in his hand, under this direction from Jesus can't throw a single crumb at this woman. And so in the end, it's just Jesus and the women standing here. Now, it's obvious, who is the only 1 without sin, who could have flung rightly? That first stone.

It's Jesus. Jesus is the only 1 who is without sin. He's the sinless judge. He's the only 1 qualified in all of creation to throw a stone in judgment at this woman. And not only is he qualified, but actually he must do.

He must throw a stone. God cannot leave a sin unpunished. He's not that kind of God. He's not buddha who smiles serenely and lets anything happen. He's not even Allah who just lets things arbitrarily go.

He must deal with sin. And so what is this woman thinking? She she's terrified of angry men, but really, she should be more terrified now. Because now she's left in the company of a sinless God who must deal with sin in wrath. And yet, Jesus does nothing.

He bends over. He starts drawing on the ground. Why? Why doesn't Jesus fling a stone? The reason is because this is this is the reason he's come into the world.

He came into this world to bear the stoning of the world on himself. He doesn't need to fling a stone at this woman, Because soon, the stone that should have been flung at her is going to be flung at him. He has come to take the stoning of this woman. That's why he's here. So she doesn't have to be stowed.

He will soon be on the cross, taking the stones of God's wrath for for the world upon himself. And so that's why he doesn't need to throw a stone at this woman. That's why he's not just sweeping it under the carpet, not even disregarding the law of God, not even just giving us a nice moral story about second chances. Or not judging others. Don't judge lest ye be judged.

It's none of that. Jesus is showing us here exactly what he's about, exactly what he's come to do, and it's all about grace. We sang that song earlier. I will run the race by grace and grace alone. That's what's going on here.

It's amazing. Jesus simultaneously acknowledges the sin, declares the guilt, condomes the judgment of her death, and then declares, neither do I condemn you. Her salvation has got nothing to do with her own righteousness, nurses in Tatters. Her salvation has got nothing to do with the promise to live differently. She'll struggle in all sorts of ways.

Her salvation in this moment is 1 because of the grace of the lord Jesus Christ, who's come to stand in front of her as the rocks are pelted and he's gonna take them on the cross. So she doesn't have to take them here in this moment The law is satisfied. The judge is just, but through a move Satan could never believe or conceive of. The guilty parties declared innocent. And so here's the defense in your courtroom, back to you.

Satan, right now, day and night is accusing you before the Lord. Here's your defense. That's the prosecution. Here's your defense. Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?

Who? It is God who justifies. Who then is the 1 who condemns? We've just seen Christ is the only 1 who can condemn. And he does not.

So the question, who then is the 1 who condemns? No 1, who has crushed Jesus who died, more than that, who was raised to life is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us, who shall separate us from the love of Christ. The only person who can condemn you is the person who says, neither do I condemn you. In fact, the only person who can condemn you is interceding for you. The only qualified prosecution against you in heaven becomes your defense and is interceding for you day and night.

Isn't that amazing? There is no prosecution for those who are in Christ Jesus because he himself is their defense. The judge gets off his little podium. Comes down next to you in your little box and says, I'm going to vouch for you. I'm going to fight for you.

Look at these wounds. Look at my blood. Look at how you're cleansed. Who condemns? No 1.

And because of that, on the precipice of death, this woman finds that she's got a new life now. And the scene is going to change 1 last time. The backdrop goes up. The fore grad, I don't spin around. The courtroom is gone, and we're back to Jerusalem and and the morning and the sunlight coming through the pillars and the sound of the market.

She's back in the temple courts, and she's free to go. She's declared innocent. She's given a new life to live. It's amazing. Jesus says, go now and leave your life of sin.

She can leave her life of sin. Because her old life of sin in a way did die here. She didn't die. In a way, she died. And now she's got a new life, and she can leave her life of sin.

She finds herself standing in this sort of new land of grace She didn't have anything to do with it. This is just the grace of the lord Jesus Christ. I want to say this is exactly where we find ourselves as well. This is exactly where we find ourselves. The Bible says, while we were still sinners, dragged in the act before the Lord, Christ died for us.

And so the scene of our life changes as well. And we find ourselves in a new life. I really don't blame the early church for sticking this in there. Lastly, I just want us to notice something. As a point of application.

All parties in this courtroom are guilty of sin. All of them were in that morning in Jerusalem, except Jesus, obviously. The woman is clearly guilty. But the fact no 1 could throw the first stone also tells us the pharisees and this proud were guilty too. But it's only the woman who's forgiven in this story.

So when our sin is exposed, like this whole massive group in Jerusalem. There are 2 ways to respond and only 1 way that results in forgiveness actually. The first way is to do whatever the crowds did. We can leave Jesus. We don't like being exposed.

We want to hide like Adam and Eve in the garden. We want to hide ourselves. We want to feel good about ourselves by saying, look, Jesus, this person is caught in adultery. How horrible are they? How righteous am I?

And we can we can hide, we can we can leave. And I wanted to ask, is that your tendency? When you sin and you're caught in the act, is your instinct to go away from Christ. Are you sort of then a bit more distant to the people of God? Are you more hesitant to come and sit under the word of God?

Does your prayer life sort of diminish when you're caught in the act? It's interesting. Even the crowd who came to hear Jesus teach eventually abandoned him when they're sins exposed. So you can like hearing Jesus speak. And yet when his – when he exposes your sin, you can dislike it and leave him.

Thought this morning sermon was a really good challenge for that. We love coming to Cornerstone Church. We love hearing the word of God. Oh, my sin has been exposed. Not sure how I feel about That's the 1 way you can respond, or we can be like this woman.

And that's what we need to be, isn't it? We need to be just like this woman. We have to just stand there, that we have to know that there's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, we can't pretend that we are in a better situation than we are, and we have to put our life and our trust and our future in the hands of this judge who says neither do I condemn you. We've got to come to him not leave him. So when your sin's exposed, do that.

Don't run away. Stay with Christ. Has no 1 condemned you. He'll ask you 1 day. And you'll say, no 1.

It'll say, neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin. So what sin are you being caught in recently or even tonight? What sin would this be for you if this was you being dragged before Jesus? Are you gonna run away?

Or are you gonna stay with the judge who becomes your defense? Who is your salvation? Let's pray. Father, we thank you so much for this story. We thank you for the truth that we see in it about ourselves.

We thank you for the truth we see in it about the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you, that though he's the only 1 who could have flung a stone at this woman. He's the only 1 who could have flung a stone at us. He came to have the stones of your wrath flung at him in our place. We thank you for him.

Help us not to run away when we sin, when our sin is exposed. Help us to be people who stay near, who trust, and put our future hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. And I pray father that in this new world, we find ourselves in in this grace land. We would be people who leave our old life of sin. Keep us from going back and being caught in it again.

Help us, I pray by your spirit, transform us, mature us, grow us more into the likeness of your son. I pray in his name, amen.

Preached by Ben Read
Ben Read photo

Ben is a Trainee Pastor at Cornerstone and lives with his wife Ceri who is a youth leader and helps run the women’s ministry in the church.

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