1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.
3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,
4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”
6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
John 7:53-8:11 aren’t included in some early manuscripts. Here’s what my sources say:
Scofield — Yes, because 8:12 seems to be speaking to the Pharisees conviction in 8:9 and it makes sense in light of 8:41.
Gaebelein — Yes. He says it was removed by those who prefer legalism to grace and who think it will lead to license. Also, 7:53 says that everyone went home, so 8:12 makes no sense without the passage.
Ironside — Yes. In some manuscripts where the passage is missing, there’s a space, which shows that the scribes knew something was supposed to be there.
Comfort — No, because it isn’t in early manuscripts. He says it interrupts the flow of the narrative, that Jesus’ reference to water (7:37) and light (8:12) were connected to the rituals of the Feast of Tabernacles. He says the account was part of an oral tradition.
Pink — Yes. Without it, it doesn’t read smoothly.
If we omit the first eleven verses of John 8, and start the chapter with verse 12, several questions will rise unavoidably and prove very difficult to answer satisfactorily. For example: “Then spake Jesus” — when? What simple and satisfactory answer can be found in the second part of John 7? But give John 8:1-11 its proper place, and the answer is, Immediately after the interruption recorded in verse 3. “Then spake Jesus again unto them” (verse 12) — unto whom? Go back to the second half of John 7 and see if it furnishes any decisive answer. But give 8:2 a place, and all is simple and plain. Again in verse 13 we read “The Pharisees therefore said unto him”: this was in the temple (verse 20). But how came the Pharisees there? 7:45 shows them elsewhere. But bring in 8:1-11 and this difficulty vanishes, for 8:2 shows that this was the day following. — Exposition of the Gospel of John, by Arthur W. Pink, page 7-8
John 7:53 — Everyone went home, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives because He had no home (Matthew 8:20).
stoning (verse 5) — Leviticus 20:20; Deuteronomy 22:22
test (verse 6) — If He said no, he rejects the Law. If He says yes, He’s in trouble with the Romans because Jews weren’t allowed to put anyone to death.
writing on the ground (verse 6) — perhaps in reference to Jeremiah 17:13 — O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You shall be ashamed. “Those who depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.”
throw a stone at her first (verse 7) — according to the law, the witnesses were to be the executioners (Deuteronomy 17:7) and two witnesses were needed (Deuteronomy 19:15).
Jesus did not ask the woman about her sin. He already knew.
Writing on the ground a second time (verse8) — The second time the law was given to Moses, it was placed under the Mercy Seat, showing that an innocent substitute would be sacrificed — Jesus Christ.
She believed in Him because she called Him Lord (verse 11).
No witnesses remained (verse 11) — The law was powerless, but grace and truth could act.
Neither do I condemn you (verse 11) — For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17).
Where was the man who committed adultery with the woman? The law said both should be stoned.
A short time later, Jesus went to the cross and took on Himself the punishment the law demanded for the woman.
The woman was a picture of Israel — For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned (Matthew 12:37).
Finally, note the order of these two words of Christ to this woman who owned Him as “Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:3). It was not, “Go and sin no more, and I will not condemn thee,” for that would have been a death-knell rather than good news in her ears. Instead, the Savior said, “Neither do I condemn thee,” and to every one who takes the place this woman was brought into, the word is, “There is therefore now no condemnation” (Romans 8:1). “And sin no more” placed her, as we are placed, under the constraint of His love.
This incident then contains far more than that which was of local and ephemeral significance. It, in fact, raises the basic question of, How can mercy and Justice be harmonized? How can grace flow forth except by slighting holiness? In the scene here presented to our view we are shown, not by a closely reasoned out statement of doctrine, but in symbolic action, that this problem is not insoluable to Divine wisdom. Here was a concrete case of a guilty sinner leaving the presence of Christ un-condemned. And it was neither because the law had been slighted or sin palliated. The requirements of the law were strictly complied with, and her sin was openly condemned — “sin no more.” Yet, she herself, was not condemned. She was dealt with according to “grace and truth.” Mercy flowed out to her, yet not at the expense of justice. Such, in brief, is a summary of this marvelous narrative, a narrative which, verily, no man ever invented and no uninspired pen ever recorded. — Exposition of the Gospel of John, by Arthur W. Pink, page 18