If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.

Here the teachers of the law and the Pharisees bring to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery.

They want to put Jesus on the spot. What will He advise to do with this woman when the Law of Moses called for death by stoning? Probably they know He will react with grace instead of demanding the letter of the law.

After all, they know Jesus has been showing grace instead. At the very least they hope to demonstrate Jesus’ disregard for the Law and so have reason to accuse Him.

At first Jesus ignores their question, but they keep pressing for His answer. Finally, He utters this famous and gracious judgment - If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.

Perfect! He doesn’t show disrespect for the law. He doesn’t say what the woman has done is not deserving of severe punishment. Instead, He invites anyone who is not also worthy of similar punishment to go ahead and be the first to cast a stone at her.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left with the woman still standing there.

Here in one scene is the mission of Jesus revealed.
He has not come to earth to condemn people for their universal failure to keep the God's Law, but to extend grace and forgiveness. He will go the cross to show the extent of His commitment to be merciful.

He will personally take the punishment of every sin of every person who ever lived. Including the sin of this fallen woman!

“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."


  1. The woman was what about the man. Things haven't changed much in that part of the world.

  2. We are all like this woman in the sense that of course we are all sinners, but we all have our accusers too. When we try to live righteous lives the world looks on, always ready to find fault. But we also have an accuser who accuses us before God day and night. This one we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. The others; sometimes all we can do is to not say a word like Jesus did and wait for the time when we will hear Jesus say," I don't condemn you, come you chosen of my Father and recieve your inheritance that been prepare since the foundation of the world". And don't be surprised when you see this woman and others like her there with us.

  3. There may have been yet another aspect to their trap: The Romans ruled the area. While they allowed local courts to still exist (Sanhedrin) there were limitations. Had Jesus said, follow the law and put her to death, the Jews would certainly have ran to the Roman government and turned him in. If he doesn't, then they would have bases to say he isn't following the law.

    Jesus again has the perfect answer.

    He doesn't cower to the Roman government

    He doesn't direspect God's Law.

    He does point out that no one there was qualified to cast the stone (except himself - which he doesn't)

    And still today - we all need His grace and mercy!