Neither Do I Condemn You
Neither Do I Condemn You
Speaker: Melvin Manickavasagam
Listen to Sermon
Bible Passage: John 7:53-8:11
“Neither Do I Condemn You”
Christ Fellowship, Horn Lake MS July 10, 2022
Opening Illustration: The Story about the boxer Muhammad Ali once while he was on a flight: He was told by a flight attendant to fasten his seat belt. He replied, “Superman don’t need no seat belt.” She coolly retorted, “Superman don’t need no airplane either.”
It is easy to claim to be Superman when you are on the ground, but when one is confronted with the reality of flight, we are exposed for who we really are.
In this story, the reality of who we really are is exposed when confronted with the reality of who Jesus really is
The story here in John 8 has some identity and identification issues:
- Canonical issues; some say it does not belong in the gospel of John; but all say it is authentic
- The story itself
o The woman is unnamed
o It says here in verse 4 “caught in the very act” (v. 4) so where is the other person?
o What did Jesus scribble in the sand?
o What happened after? It ends abruptly.
I think it is important to look at this account not like a story that you read in a book, but more like a New Yorker cartoon. Do you know what I am talking about? When you have a picture like a comic, and below the picture you have a tagline or may be a sentence or two, and that one sentence sets the tone for the whole picture and pulls it together. And the words that really pull everything together are the words found here in verse 11, “neither do I condemn you”.
But in order to get the full force and beauty of those words we need to take a look at this picture. So we will look at three aspects:
- A picture of WHAT sin does (2—6a)
- A picture WHO Jesus is (7—10)
- A picture of HOW grace works (v. 11)
Point 1: A PICTURE OF WHAT SIN DOES (7:53—8:6a)
53 Then they all went home,
1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.
3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court,
4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.
5 “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?”
6a They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him.
- Scribes—Theologians; concern for the letter of the law
- Pharisees—religious conservatives; concern for moral purity in society
- Picture the scene:
- Jesus was teaching like he normally did in the temple
- People are coming to be taught
- Suddenly the whole scene is interrupted; as if someone dragged a young woman right down the middle of the church aisle up the front in the sight of everyone.
- the contrast between the woman and the Pharisees; the woman who knew she was guilty—there is absolutely no question as to her guilt.
- Per the previous verses (7:53), the scribes and Pharisees were supposed to have gone home.
- Per Deut. 22:22-24 “If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of
them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. “If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
- Missing adulterer: If these religious leaders were really concerned about the sin of adultery, and they were supposed to have caught her in the act, they would have brought both the man and woman
- This is a kangaroo court—no business doing it there, no decision could actually be made; Romans had jurisdiction to put people to death, not the Jews. Their motives were tainted—woman was being used
- Sin is not just an act—it is a condition
Point 2: WHO Jesus is (6b—9)
6b But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.
7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.
- Why does Jesus write with his finger in the dirt?
- Exodus 31:18 When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.
- Deut. 9:10 “The LORD gave me the two tablets of stone written by the finger of God; and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken with you at the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly.
- Not important what He wrote—only that He wrote: Jesus was declaring to them who He was—He was no interpreter of the law, nor one who was a religious conservative—He was the Lawgiver of Sinai itself. The LORD God who descended on Sinai and with His finger wrote the Law on tablets of stone, now stops to the ground and with His finger writes in the dirt.
- You cannot get away with thinking if Jesus any less than He is; He will not allow it
Point 3: HOW Grace works (10-11)
10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go.
From now on sin no more.”
- Was the woman guilty? YES. She was caught in the act, regardless of the motives of the religious leaders
- Relient K song, “Be My Escape” gets at this point:
And this life sentence that I’m serving
I admit that I’m every bit deserving
But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair
- Do we realize how much it took for Jesus to say those words? “I DO NOT CONDEMN YOU”?
- Picture another scene from the Gospel of John, this time in John 18
- This is another court.; a real one, where the decision is real
- The one accused is Jesus. And they came and arrested him also at night, while He was engaged in the most intimate act of prayer to His Father
- John 18:38 Pilate: I find no basis for a charge against this man
- The woman is guilty and is declared to be without condemnation
- Jesus is without guilt and is declared condemned
Closing Illustration: Muslim student who came to the United States: She got connected with a Christian campus ministry and came to know Christ. But her family found out about her conversion, and her uncle in particular was furious. When the student returned home, Her uncle met her at the airport, took her back to his home, and proceeded to beat her. The girl survived, and in her testimony as she shared this, said: In that moment, as my uncle was beating me, I knew the difference between being a Christian and what my uncle believed in. He was willing to kill for his faith; I was willing to die for mine
Summary: Three Realities
- What Sin is—not just an act but a condition of my heart
- Some of us are caught in the act; even if no one else knows, our own hearts condemn us
- For others of us, we need to repent of our righteousness, like that of the religious leaders. Before Christ, we are exposed
- Who Jesus Is—He is no less than the God of Sinai. Do you know the One you call “Lord”?
- What Freedom Is—Jesus is condemned so I am freed from condemnation and freed to obey
- Christ is not merely to be encountered once in the past; He calls us to meet with Him again and again. You cannot hang your Christian experience merely on a past event
- Your time of personal devotions may not be earth shattering experience every time, but encountering Christ will never happen without time spent with him.
- Do not think of church as “extra”; If you want to encounter Christ, there is no better place to be
Closing Quote: “Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer