Friday, October 28, 2011

Who's Up For a Good Old Fashioned Stoning?

John 8:1-11 is the story of Jesus, the religious leaders, and the woman caught in adultery. This passage is often considered one of the more "controversial" passages in the New Testament. It's controversial because of the content of the story, as well as because of the questionable nature of it's place in the gospel of John. It's one of those passages about which the footnotes say, "The earliest and manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11".

I'm not going to go into detail regarding the textual controversy. If you want to learn more about it, here are some sources:

The other aspect of controversy regarding this passage is the way it is often misinterpreted(some think the reason it wasn't included in the original manuscripts was because some church leaders were concerned about the possibility it might be used to excuse sin). This morning, I'm just jotting down a few thoughts about what this passage DOES NOT teach:
1. It does not teach that sin is okay. Jesus never excused or condoned the woman's sin.

2. It does not teach that the law is obsolete. Jesus never said the law didn't apply to this situation.

3. It does not teach that we should not point out sin. Jesus never condemned the Pharisees for accusing the woman of adultery.

4. It does not teach that sin does not have consequences. Jesus' mercy did not eliminate the relational and familial consequences of the woman's sin.

5. It does not teach that organized religion is bad. I wish I didn't even have to point that one out.
So... what does it teach? I suppose I'll address that another time...

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