Why did John write his Gospel? Does it matter why he wrote it, it’s the inspired word of God.
Yes, it does matter. It helps us to understand. John tells us why he wrote his Gospel.
“But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.” (John 20:31)
John wrote his Gospel for people who already believe in Jesus. It isn’t written for non-believers. It’s purpose is not to cause people to believe in Jesus. John wants those who already believe to keep on believing. That’s also what he says in the famous passage John 3:16 – “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
The way the original Greek works is that this has a slightly different meaning than the English. So we might say it means that whoever ‘goes on believing’ will ‘go on having eternal life’.
Today’s story about the woman caught in adultery is related by John so that those of us who already believe that Jesus is the Messiah will continue to believe in Jesus. His hope is that we keep on believing that Jesus is the son of the living God who brings life.
John 8:12 – Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
You are a frail jar of clay. We spoke about that last week. You are not an empty jar. No jar is empty. All jars contain something. If you believe in Jesus, you contain the light that leads to life.
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Those who don’t have faith in Jesus don’t have this light. Those who don’t believe live in darkness and are filled with darkness. We are either dead or alive.
I feel so sad at the knowledge that 30 of every 100,000 deaths in South Korea is by suicide. That is the second highest suicide rate in the world. About 730 South Koreans die every day. And 40 of them die by suicide, making it the nation’s fourth-highest cause of death in 2012.
People are living in darkness, filled with darkness, and dying in darkness. Every day, people without hope are entering eternal darkness, eternal death.
Jesus is the light. John wants those of us who have the light to continue in the light. He wants those of us who are alive to continue to be alive.
That’s why John tells us what happened when Jesus met a woman who had been caught committing adultery. This is a story to help us continue in faith and continue in life.
Who was this woman? She was not a happy person. She was not living in the light and she was not filled with the light. She was looking for happiness and pleasure outside of her marriage. Maybe her marriage was miserable and her husband did not love her. Perhaps she thought she had found love at last with another man, perhaps a married man who was himself sad.
When the darkness in our lives feels so great, when we cannot see any light, the smallest flicker of light can seem so bright. Satan masquerading as an angel of light has lead many astray.
2 Corinthians 11:14 – “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
Betrayed, deceived, tricked, humiliated and hopeless, this woman is dragged out of the arms of her lover to be killed with stones.
Deuteronomy 22:22 says, “If a man is discovered committing adultery, both he and the woman must die. In this way, you will purge Israel of such evil.”
Leviticus 20:10 says, “If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.”
The reason for all the dragging is not justice. These people are not trying to obey the Jewish Law, which clearly says the man must be killed. These people are motivated by darkness and are trying to attack Jesus. John says, “They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him.”
The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus and stood her in front of the crowd. They then said, “The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
What Jesus said was nothing. He was silent. He scribbled on the ground. The religious leaders demanded an answer so he said, Go ahead. Stone her. Anyone who has never broken the law may stone her. Verse 7, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
In front on God, breaking one law is no different than breaking another law. Adultery, murder, and greed are all the same in front of God. Stealing and telling lies are just as bad as dishonesty and idolatry.
This woman represents all of us. She is Everywoman. And Everyman. She is everyone who has ever lived in darkness. She is all of us.
The Christ looks at her as he looks at us. He knows you have sin and darkness in your heart. He knows how deep your despair is. He knows how empty your life his. This is why he came.
He looks at her with eyes of love and says, “Where are your accusers?” The only one who has the right to accuse her, does not. He knows why she lives in darkness. He knows too our despair and our darkness. He desires only to defeat it, not condemn us.
Implicit in this story is that the woman is repentant. She is sorry for her sin. She wants to receive forgiveness and start again. She wants to be filled with love and light and to enjoy life eternal.
So Jesus gives her what he has and sends her away, telling her to sin no more. Jesus forgives her sin. He pours light into the fragile clay jar. The religious leaders have all run away. They remain in the darkness, never asking forgiveness.
This is our Messiah, who were are called to follow. This is the man we are trusting in. This is who we are to be like.
So I put it to you, that John is showing us that to stay in the light and walk in the light we should try to have this attitude to the sinners around us. Every day we meet people like this woman who are lost in the darkness of this world. All of the people who are thinking of suicide every day are lost in this darkness. How do you treat them?
We live in the light. The light lives in us. The light in us is not our own light, it is the light of God that drives out the darkness.
Jesus said, “If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
We keep on believing. We keep on being filled with the light. We keep on following Jesus. The light within us shines and so those in darkness can see the light. They can come to Jesus and have the light and the life.
When you see a drug addict, see a person who needs the light. When you see anyone in darkness, remember the mercy of Jesus and share the light with them. That way we can continue to dwell in the light and the light will remain in us. We will be of one heart with God and we shall continue to have life eternal.