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Woman Caught in Adultery, Forgiven, Part 3 - Daily Treasure - April 6

  • 2022 Apr 06

Woman Caught in Adultery, Forgiven, Part 3

Sharon Betters


Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on sin no more” (John 8:10-11).

The young wife wailed and repeatedly hit her head, sobbing, “How could I be this person? I never meant to hurt anyone. I have no excuse.”

Repentance flowed from her lips, eyes, body language, and heart. Seldom have I witnessed such sorrow over sin. She needed to name her sin, and we needed to allow her to vomit it all out. What an excruciating, heartbreaking scene. One I will never forget. I could not deny how egregious her sin was evidenced by the damage her choices caused those she loved. They might never forgive her. But seared in my heart, even more, is how genuine repentance followed by forgiveness filled her with hope. 

I wonder if the woman caught in adultery experienced such sorrow, especially after her private meeting with Jesus.

Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him (John 8:9).

Think of the trauma this woman experienced. Religious leaders dragged her from her adulterous bed, leaving the man behind. Perhaps she fought hard against them, screaming, begging for them to let her go. We don’t know if they even allowed her to wrap herself in a blanket. They throw her into the center of a crowd at church that most likely included her neighbors, maybe the wives of some of her clients. People stood with stones in their hands, ready to kill her. Suddenly, everything stops. Her accusers gone; she stands alone before Jesus. What were her thoughts? Would He condemn her and shame her further? Did she stand before Him, knowing she deserved stoning according to the law of Moses? What happens next is one of the most tender interactions of Jesus with a woman:

Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on sin no more” (John 8:10-11).

Notice that Jesus speaks gently and respectfully when He calls her “Woman”, the same title He used when He spoke to His mother (John 2:4; 19:26), Mary Magdalene (John 20:13, 15), and the woman at the well (John 4:21). How differently He treated women than the Pharisees.


I don’t want to take too much liberty with this story, but I think this woman might have been hyperventilating. How do you calm down a hysterical person? You speak calmly, quietly, and you try to bring them to their present reality.  In essence, Jesus says, “Woman, look around. Your accusers are gone. No one threw even a pebble at you.” He speaks this truth in the form of a question so that she has to take a deep breath and respond, “No one, Lord.” She calls Him “Lord”. Is this her declaration of repentance and surrender? Jesus forgives her with His life-giving words: “Neither do I condemn you.”

What is our response when Jesus confronts us, whether through His Word or a truth-speaking friend, about our sin? Do we call Him Lord? We don’t hear this woman claiming innocence or even blaming the Jewish men. She doesn’t deflect blame by saying, “But they didn’t treat me the right way.” How often do we quickly blame the other person’s flawed exhortation, concluding they have sinned in the way they exhorted us, so we minimize our own sin? 

Note that Jesus did not tell her that if she promised not to commit adultery again, He would forgive her. Jesus extended forgiveness as a gift of grace:

For by grace are you saved, through faith and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not by works, so that none of you can boast. 

Ephesians 2:8-9

Salvation is all of grace. Yet, Jesus exhorts her, “Go and sin no more.” Sometimes we minimize sin because we are forgiven. We abuse grace! Paul reminds us: 

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1-2).

There is no threat on the part of Jesus that if this woman commits adultery again, He will take back her forgiveness. Rather, Jesus encourages her to know that holiness is a response to salvation. Implied in Jesus’ words is that she has a choice, as do we. If we continue to sin the way we did before Jesus entered our hearts, with no remorse, we need to examine whether we really understand the gift of grace and if we have truly experienced it.


Oh Lord, what better time than today to acknowledge my own sinfulness. I call You Lord and know obedience is a grateful response to the salvation that You achieved for me by Your death on the cross and by Your resurrection.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sharon W. Betters is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, pastor’s wife, and cofounder of MARKINC Ministries, where she is the Director of Resource Development. Sharon is the author of several books, including Treasures of EncouragementTreasures in Darkness, and co-author with Susan Hunt of Aging with Grace. She is the co-host of the Help & Hope podcast and writes Daily Treasure, an online devotional.

For more from Daily Treasure please visit MARKINC.ORG.

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