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Bible stories of hope: an unfaithful wife - by James Archer






Bible stories of hope is a series comprising a reading about someone's encounter with God, some notes about how they may have seen it, and a prayer.  This one also has newspaper headlines about the story.

Reading – John 8:3-11

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery.  They forced her to stand before the people.  They said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught having sexual relations with a man who is not her husband.  The law of Moses commands that we stone to death every woman who does this.  What do you say we should do?”  They were asking this to trick Jesus so that they could have some charge against him.


But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finder.  When they continued to ask Jesus their question, he rose up and said, “Anyone here who has never sinned can throw the first stone at her.”  Then Jesus bent over again and wrote on the ground.


Those who heard Jesus began to leave one by one, first the older men and then the others.  Jesus was left there alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus rose up again and asked her, “Woman, where are they?  Has no one judged you guilty?”


She answered, “No one, sir.”


Then Jesus said, “I also don’t judge you guilty.  You may go now, but don’t sin any more.”



She couldn’t care less what they did with her.  They’d never let her see Reuben again.  What was there left to live for?  She hoped it would be quick, and that the stones wouldn’t hurt too much.


She kept her eyes closed and her head down as they hustled her along the streets and into the temple court – she wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of reacting to anything.  They found a rabbi and bypassed the formalities of a trial, telling him she’d been caught red-handed, and what was he going to do with her.  Everyone knew the answer.


Silence.  Eventually a slight scratching.  Despite herself, she couldn’t help half opening an eye.  Was he writing something in the dust?  No, it was just a doodle.  What did it mean?  Was he embarrassed?  Maybe he felt trapped into saying something he didn’t want to.


Eventually, he stood up and gave his judgment.  Then the scratching started again.  She braced herself for the stones.  Nothing.  Just a gentle rustling of clothes and the scratching.  She waited.  What was going on?  It seemed like an age, but was probably only five minutes.  The scratching stopped.  Silence.  Eventually she could bear it no longer.  She opened her eyes and looked up.


“Woman,” he said, “where are your accusers?”  She looked round.  The place was empty! She looked back at him in amazement.  He smiled.  Her heart soared.  She was alive!  There was a God who cared for her!


“Has no-one condemned you?”  “No sir.”  They were the first words she had uttered.  “Then neither do I.  Go and leave your life of sin.”


Tears streamed down her face.  Tears of joy.  His command set her free.  “Thank you, sir,” she beamed at him as she turned and left.



Lord Jesus, teach me to love you and to flee from sin with all my heart.  Amen

Newspaper headlines

The Jerusalem Star


  • Jesus turns the rat-trap on his accusers!

  • Saucy Sharon walks free from certain death!

  • Shamed “sinners” scurry away like rats!

  • Help us find the love-rat!

The Pharisees set a trap for Jesus.  Would he condemn Saucy Sharon to death for her steamy affair, or instead defy the law? But he turned the tables on them.

“If you are so holy and perfect, throw the first stone,” he challenged them.  No one dared.  Instead they turned tail and fled, with their tails between their legs.

“It’s a miracle!” said Saucy Sharon.  “There is a God who cares.  Unlike my accusers.  If they really cared about the law, why just pick on the woman?”

So who is the love-rat who cheated on his family with Saucy Sharon?  Help the Star track him down.  Call us on 0800 800 800 if you think you know.


The Zion Express


  • Sex-crazed woman freed to destroy more families!

  • Jesus takes a wrecking-ball to the law!

  • He accuses the police of being no better than her!

Jesus of Nazareth showed his true colours today.  When the police brought a woman to court after catching her red-handed, what did he do?  He put the police on trial and sent her away scot free!

Police Commissioner Jacob was furious.  “Jesus is a danger to society,” he said.  “He has just undermined all aspects of law enforcement – the police, the courts and the law.  It is an outrage to public decency.  He should be defrocked before he can let any more criminals free.”


The Temple Observer


Jesus gives hope to persecuted women

The radical Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth caused fresh controversy yesterday when he freed a woman who was in danger of a judicial lynching at the hands of hardline conservatives.

Calling on them to consider their own failings and to examine their consciences and their motives, he challenged them, “Let whoever is without sin be the first to condemn her.”  No one dared.

The case is a welcome corrective to aggressive and biased law enforcement targeted at the weak and the vulnerable.  If the crime was so heinous to require the severest punishment, why was only one of the two people involved brought to court?  Where was the fair hearing, the collection of evidence, or the time to consider an appropriate verdict?

Alas, the case bears all the hallmarks of a witch-hunt, not against the accused – she was just regarded as disposable collateral damage – but against Jesus.  This was a trap – would he follow the letter of the law, undermining his reputation for compassion?  Or would be undermine the law, and therefore his own authority and credibility?  Jesus was clever enough, not just to spring the trap but to turn the tables on his opponents – this time.  But they will surely be back, and we can expect a barrage of dirty tricks.

Printable and editable Word version

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