John 8:11 MEANING

John 8:11
(11) She said, No man, Lord.--She simply answers His question. There is no plea for forgiveness. There is no attempt at defence. We know not what passed in her heart; we know not what was written upon her countenance. We know not whether the word "Lord" was simply the "Sir" of courtesy, or whether it contained something of the reverence of worship. He knew all.

Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.--Or, more exactly, and be no longer a sinner. There is no expression of forgiveness or peace as we find in other cases. (Comp. Matthew 9:2; Luke 7:48.) He does not condemn her, for "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17). His words must have come to her as words of mercy in contrast to the angry words of those who dragged her before Him. He does not condemn her, and yet by these words she must have been condemned more truly than by any words of accuser. He does not condemn her; and yet the very words which bid her go are the condemnation of her sin. (Comp. John 5:14.) As in the case of the woman of Samaria (John 4), there is something in the tone and manner of dealing with this woman which goes beyond all words; and as we read the narrative the heart completes the picture, and we feel it preserves for us a real incident in our Lord's ministry of mercy. It is a mark of truthfulness that the narrative tells us no more. It has not the completeness of an apocryphal story. We feel we should like to know more. She passed from His presence as her accusers had before. What came afterwards to her and to them? Did she, in obedience to the words now heard, go forth to a new life, rising through penitence and faith to pardon, peace, purity? Did they who shrink from His presence now, so learn His words as to come to that Presence again, seeking not judgment on others, but pardon for themselves? Over all the veil is drawn. We may not trace the history of lives known only to themselves and to God; but the lessons are patent, and remain to condemn every human judgment of another's sin; to condemn every sin in our own lives; to declare to every sinner the forgiveness which condemns not.

8:1-11 Christ neither found fault with the law, nor excused the prisoner's guilt; nor did he countenance the pretended zeal of the Pharisees. Those are self-condemned who judge others, and yet do the same thing. All who are any way called to blame the faults of others, are especially concerned to look to themselves, and keep themselves pure. In this matter Christ attended to the great work about which he came into the world, that was, to bring sinners to repentance; not to destroy, but to save. He aimed to bring, not only the accused to repentance, by showing her his mercy, but the prosecutors also, by showing them their sins; they thought to insnare him, he sought to convince and convert them. He declined to meddle with the magistrate's office. Many crimes merit far more severe punishment than they meet with; but we should not leave our own work, to take that upon ourselves to which we are not called. When Christ sent her away, it was with this caution, Go, and sin no more. Those who help to save the life of a criminal, should help to save the soul with the same caution. Those are truly happy, whom Christ does not condemn. Christ's favour to us in the forgiveness of past sins should prevail with us, Go then, and sin no more.She saith, no man, Lord,.... No man said a word to me, or lift up his hand against me, or moved a stone at me:

and Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee; Christ came not into the world to act the part of a civil magistrate, and therefore refused to arbitrate a case, or be concerned in dividing an inheritance between two brethren, Luke 12:13. Nor did he come into the world to condemn it, but that the world, through him, might be saved, John 3:17; nor would he pass any other sentence on this woman, than what he had done; nor would he inflict any punishment on her himself; but suitably and agreeably to his office; as a prophet, he declares against her sin, calls her to repentance, and bids her

go and sin no more; lest as he said to the man he cured at Bethesda's pool, a worse thing should come unto her. Wherefore the Jew (s) has no reason to object to this conduct of Christ, as if he acted contrary to the law, in Deuteronomy 13:5. "Thou shalt put the evil away from the midst of thee"; and also to the sanctions of all civil laws among men, which order the removal of evil, by putting delinquents to death; and he observes, that those that believe in him, do not follow him in this, but put adulterers and adulteresses to death; and that indeed, should his example and instructions take place, all courts of judicature must cease, and order be subverted among men: but it should be observed, that our Lord manifested a regard, even to the law of Moses, when he bid this woman's accusers that were without sin, to cast the first stone at her; though as for the law in Deuteronomy 13:5, that respects a false prophet, and not an adulterer or an adulteress; nor do the civil laws of all nations require death in the case of adultery; and did they, Christ here, neither by his words nor actions, contradicts and sets aside any such laws of God or man; he left this fact to be inquired into, examined, and judged, and sentence passed by proper persons, whose business it was: as for himself, his office was not that of a civil magistrate, but of a Saviour and Redeemer; and suitably to that he acted in this case; he did not connive at the sin, he reproved for it; nor did he deny that she ought to suffer according to the law of Moses, but rather suggests she ought; but as this was not his province, he did not take upon him to pronounce any sentence of condemnation on her; but called her to repentance, and, as the merciful and compassionate Saviour, gave her reason to hope pardon and eternal life.

(s) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 47. p. 435, 436.

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