The Woman Caught in Adultery

They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.

– John 7:53-8:4 

The story of the woman caught in adultery smells like a set-up by religious people who care about power a lot more than they care about piety.

First, the timing is suspicious. As Jesus’ fame is growing and He is present at the Temple to teach the crowds during a major feast it just so happens that His most vicious and vocal critics catch a woman in the very act of adultery. For maximum scandal and shock value, they drag her from the bedroom to the packed Temple, likely half clothed and placed in shame on display for all to see in front of all the worshippers.

Second, the fact that the woman was “caught in adultery”? This is a very private matter that occurs in secrecy. How in the world did a group of religious men just happen to all watch a woman and man commit adultery?

Third, where is the man? Adultery is not a solo sport, and if only the woman is brought forward for justice and the man is nowhere to be found this has all the makings of a setup.

In this story, are you more like the woman who got caught doing evil, the man who did evil but was not caught, or the religious leaders looking for a way to profit from the pain of others?

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