The New Testament teaches nothing New

Richard Anthony

Jesus, the apostles, and the entire New Testament books taught nothing new. They might have taught in new ways, but they did not teach us new laws. Everything they taught was from the beginning, and is found in the Old Testament books. That's why Jesus and the apostles commonly preceded their teachings with “it is written,” or “the scriptures saith,” and then proceeded to quote God's written law from the Old Testament. Jesus might have explained what the Old Testament laws meant in different words, such as by using parables and such, but nonetheless, the truths he taught are all found in the Old Testament.

Remember, Jesus was under the Old Testament law:

Galatians 4:4-5, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law,"

Now, who was "under the law"? Jews. And did Christ refer to himself as Jew? Yes, he did (John 4:9,22).

Matthew 5

We will start our study by examining Matthew 5, which is commonly called “The Sermon on the Mount.” The Sermon on the Mount deals with righteous personal conduct. Many people believe Jesus was teaching new truths here, and that Jesus was laying down new laws, and abolishing Old Testament laws. However, this is not true. Each and every statement he says in this chapter is taken directly from the Old Testament. He was not changing God's Law!

As a matter of fact, in the middle of his Sermon on the Mount, he paused to stress the truth that the Old Testament laws have not passed away!

Matthew 5:17-18, "Think not that I came to abolish the law, or the prophets: I came not to abolish, but to fulfil. For verily I say to you, Until heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle in no wise shall pass away from the law, until all be fulfilled."

Jesus stressed that, in no way, will any part of the Old Testament law pass away, not one jot (dotting of the “i”) or one tittle (crossing if the “t”), no part of God's written law in the Old Testament will pass away until two things happen. One, until heaven and earth pass; and two, until all prophesy is fulfilled (Luke 24:44). Jesus did not come to abolish the Old Testament law…period!

Now, why would Jesus begin his sermon by teaching from God's (Old Testament) Law, and then pause in the middle of his sermon to say that none of the Old Testament law would pass away, and then a few minutes later, tell everybody how the Old Testament laws have passed away, and are replaced with new laws? The answer is, he wouldn't, and he didn't.

Therefore, Jesus was telling his audience, "No matter what you hear from my mouth, do not interpret what I am saying as meaning the written law of God is passing away. Because I am not replacing God's Law!" Remember this. Jesus knew that there would be people who would be mis-interpreting his teachings as saying he was abolishing God's Law, or that some parts of it were no longer binding, or were being changed, but Jesus warned his listeners that this would be a false interpretation.

Remember the context. In Matthew 5, verses 17-18, Jesus said he was not changing the Old Testament law, and in verse 19 He stresses to keep God's Commandments, and in verse 20 He accuses the scribes and Pharisees of being self righteous. Now, verses 21 through 48 will be addressed, because many people believe Jesus was changing the Old Testament written laws in these passages! Let us look at them briefly.

Matthew 5:21-22, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill…But I say unto you…"

Matthew 5:27-28, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you…"

Matthew 5:31-32, "It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you…"

Matthew 5:33-34, "Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you…"

Matthew 5:38-39, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you…"

Matthew 5:43-44, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you…"

First of all, let's get one thing clear. Jesus was not quoting from the written law of the Old Testament in these verses! Let me repeat that. Jesus was not quoting from the Old Testament laws in these passages! Even the choice of words used by Christ indicates that He was addressing a confusion, or a distortion, that was commonplace. Christ used this same “Ye have heard that it hath been said,” or “it hath been said.” figure of speech to straighten out misunderstandings or falsehoods being taught by the religious leaders of the time. In other words, Jesus was dealing with hearsay statements.

Contrast this to Christ's use of the phrase "It is written" or "The Scripture saith" when He was appealing to the Scriptures for authority (for example, see Matthew 4 where on three occasions during His temptation by the devil, Christ answered each one of the devil's lies or misquotes from Scripture with the words: "it is written").

You may ask, “But the laws such as 'an eye for an eye' are found in the Old Testament. If Jesus was not quoting from the Old Testament, then what was he quoting from?” Yes, most of the above laws in verses 21 through 48 are found in God's Law. But even though Jesus may have been referring to God's Law, Jesus was not quoting from God's Law. Jesus was quoting from man's law! Man's laws always have scriptural truths in them; but when someone quotes these truths in man's laws, even though they have reference to God's Law in scripture, they are still being quoted from man's law itself.

In Jesus' case, the Pharisees and Sadducees took God's Law, from the Old Testament, and applied it to situations that God never intended. They had changed God's Laws. They placed their own commandments and traditions above the Word of God (Mark 7:7-9). Jesus was correcting the laws that the people have heard from their religious leaders, and explained these laws as God intended them to be.

  • For example, Jesus said:

    Matthew 5:43-44, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

    Was Jesus teaching something new?

    God's law says, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour” (Leviticus 19:18), but God's law does not say, “hate thine enemy.” The Pharisees were taking God's Law out of context, and added to it, and changed it to mean that we are to hate our enemies, as if the one were a legitimate inference from the other. This is what the people heard from man, but it is not what they read in scripture. However, when Jesus taught we are to love our enemy, Jesus was quoting from the Old Testament (Exodus 23:4-5, Deuteronomy 23:7, Proverbs 24:17-18, Proverbs 25:21-22). He taught nothing new!

  • Another example is when Jesus said:

    Matthew 5:21-22, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill…But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:"

    Was Jesus teaching something new?

    God's law says, “thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13), but it certainly does not teach to hate your brother. The Pharisees were teaching it was okay to hate (be angry at) your brothers. But what does the Old Testament say? Leviticus 19:17, "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him." Again, Jesus taught nothing new! He was quoting from scripture! He was correcting them with Old Testament scripture. Jesus was explaining the spiritual meaning of Old Testament laws, using the Old Testament itself! The spiritual meaning in this case would be that before one can commit murder, one must first be angry and hate the one he wants to murder.

    Jesus was referring to that anger which leads a man to commit outrages against another, thereby subjecting himself to that punishment which was to be inflicted on those who break the peace. As far as being in danger of judgment, that is, to have the matter brought before a magistrate, whose business it was to judge in such cases.

  • Another example is when Jesus said:

    Matthew 5:33-35, "Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King."

    Did Jesus teach something new?

    It was not the intention of Jesus to repeal or abolish this law. God's Law allowed, and in some instances required, the administration of an oath made unto the Lord (Exodus 22:11, Numbers 5:19). But the Jews, looking upon this law, construed it as giving them exemption from the binding effect of all other oaths. According to their construction, no oath was binding in which the name of God did not directly occur. They therefore coined many other oaths to suit their purposes, which would add weight to their statements or promises, which, however, would not leave them guilty of being forsworn if they spoke untruthfully.

    But Jesus showed that all oaths were ultimately referable to God, and that those who made them would be forsworn if they did not keep them. To prevent this evil practice of loose swearing Jesus lays down the prohibition, "Swear not at all."

    Christ does not forbid judicial oaths in this prohibition. This conclusion is also reached when we interpret the prohibition in the light of authoritative examples; for we find that God swore by himself (Genesis 22:16-17; Hebrews 6:13; 7:21); Jesus answered under oath before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:63); Paul also made an oath to the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 1:23) and made solemn appeals to God (Romans 1:9, Galatians 1:20, Philippians 1:8; 1 Corinthians 15:31, 1 Thessalonians 5:27, Revelation 10:5-6).

    Therefore, judicial oaths, and oaths taken in the name of God on occasions of solemn religious importance, are not included in the prohibition. But as these are the only exceptions found in Scriptures, we conclude that all other oaths are forbidden. Looking at the details of the paragraph, we find that oaths "by the Jerusalem...and by thy head" are utterly meaningless save as they have reference to God.

    Jesus says elsewhere that all who swear at all, do in fact swear by God, or the oath is good for nothing (Matthew 23:22). To swear by an altar, a gift, or a temple, is of no force, unless it be meant to appeal to God himself. The essential thing in an oath is calling God to witness our sincerity. If a real oath is taken, therefore, God is appealed to. If not, it is foolish and wicked to swear by anything else.

  • Another example is when Jesus said:

    Matthew 5:31-32, "It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery:"

    Did Jesus teach something new?

    The Pharisees are the ones who said that it was "...lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause" (Matthew 19:3), And Jesus was correcting them by saying, in Matthew 19:8, "...but from the beginning it was not so.” Some may claim that Jesus was changing the law of Moses which permitted divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). However, when one reads the law of divorce carefully, it tells us that when the woman divorces and remarries another, she will be defiled. The only thing removed was the curse of the law, but the law that said she would be defiled if she married another man did not change. It was still a sin, but God permitted that evil, temporarily, to prevent an even greater evil. It was still God's will, in Moses' time, that divorce not happen, and it was still a sin.

    Deuteronomy 24:4, "the former husband who sent her away shall not be able to return and take her to himself for a wife, after she has been defiled."

    Jesus was simply teaching the same law that was from the beginning! Jesus taught nothing new!

  • Another example is when Jesus said:

    Matthew 5:38-39, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you…"

    Did Jesus teach something new?

    Jesus was not saying that the Old Testament law on an eye for an eye has now passed away! Because a few minutes earlier he had just stated that none of the Old Testament law would pass away (Matthew 5:17-18), and Jesus would not contradict himself. So, what was Jesus teaching in this passage?

    The reference to "an eye for an eye" is found in Exodus 21:24-25, which deals with how the judges (magistrate) must deal with a crime (Deuteronomy 19:18-21 explains how the judges were to carry out this eye for an eye judgment). Namely, the punishment must fit the crime. The religious leaders of Christ's day had twisted a passage that applied to the magistrates and misused it as a principle of personal revenge. Christ is clearing up a confusion that had led people to think that conduct proper for the magistrates—that is, taking vengeance—was also proper for an individual. This law of retribution was designed to take vengeance out of the hands of personal revenge and commit it to the magistrate.

    The Pharisees and their followers misused this law as a principle of personal revenge, so that they could give "tit for tat" to those who harmed them, which is contrary to the injunctions of the Old Testament itself (Proverbs 20:22; 24:29). A law that was meant to be a guide to judges rendering judicial decisions and handing down sentences was never meant to be a rule of our personal relationships. The function of magistrates is to administer the vengeance of God upon evil doers (Romans 13:4), but not so with individuals. Our duty is to love our neighbor as the Lord Jesus has instructed us.

    Jesus was teaching from the Old Testament, which specifically stated that if evil is done to us, we are not to do to him as he did to us!

    Proverbs 24:29, "Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work."

    The reason is because this would be personal revenge. Instead, the duty of rendering to man his evil work is the duty of the majistrates. Jesus taught nothing new.

  • Another example is when Jesus said:

    Matthew 5:27-28, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

    Was Jesus teaching something new? No, Jesus was not teaching something new. Just as in all the other examples given in Matthew 5 above, Jesus was teaching directly from the Old Testament. The spiritual meanings of the Old Testament laws are also found in the Old Testament itself.

    Please read God's seventh and tenth commandments:

    7th Commandment: "Thou shalt not commit adultery." (Exodus 20:14).
    10th Commandment: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife." (Exodus 20:17).

    In other words, this 10th Commandment says that whosoever “covets, desires, or lusts” after a married woman, has committed adultery with her already in ones heart!!! Why? Because one has broken the 7th Commandment already in one's heart! This is the spiritual meaning of adultery, and this is exactly what Jesus meant when he spoke in Matthew 5:27-28.

    Let me ask you a question. When Jesus was teaching about “adultery” in Matthew 5:27, "...Thou shalt not commit adultery", was not Jesus also referring to the 7th Commandment and the sanctity of marriage? And when Jesus was teaching about “lusting” after a woman in Matthew 5:28, was not Jesus also referring to the 10th Commandment? Yes, he was.

Remember, even though such precepts were never before expressed with such breadth, precision, and sharpness, Jesus is only the Interpreter of the Law that has been in force from the beginning. His one object here was to contrast the perversions of the law with the true sense of it.

The Old Testament Scripture is still Binding

Christ used the Old Testament law, which were the “scriptures” of their day, to prove the validity of his own teachings and mission (Luke 24:27). Jesus said if people do not read "Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded" to repent (Luke 16:30-31). Jesus said to "search the Old Testament" and it testifies of Him (John 5:39). In Matthew 22:29-33, Jesus charged the Sadducees with the responsibility to understand the concept of the resurrection of the dead from the Old Testament scripture.

Were the Old Testament Scripture abolished at the Cross?

Paul expected believers to test his words using the Old Testament (Acts 17:11). Paul taught that the Old Testament scripture is “able to make thee wise unto salvation”, and is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," so “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim.3:15-17). He said the Old Testament scripture was written for our learning so we might have hope (Romans 15:4). Paul quotes from the Old Testament scripture, saying it's for our sakes (1 Corinthians 9:9-10).

The apostle Paul kept stressing that the law of Moses was written for their well being. 1 Corinthians 9:9-10, "For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn…For our sakes, no doubt, this is written." Obviously, Paul did not look at the Mosaic Law as abolished after Jesus died.

Acts 17:10-12, "And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed..."

The brethren in Berea validated the apostles Paul and Silas every day. They verified their words with scripture. Dear reader, what scripture were they testing their words with? With the Old Testament scripture! What happened after they read the Old Testament scripture? Many of the believed! How? This is how:

Romans 10:17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

The Word of God, at that time, was the Old Testament scripture. It was not abolished at the cross!

The first disciple of Christ to be killed for his faith was Steven. He preached to his accusers just before he was stoned to death by them, and he preached directly from the Old Testament scripture (Acts 7).

Why should Christ tell the disciples to "Go and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20) when most of what he had spoken was irrelevant because the old covenant was only to be in force while he was in the flesh? Turning to Paul, the clear implication of his citation of Genesis 15:6 and Habakkuk 2:4 (such as in Galatians 3:6, 11) is that men are saved the same way under both the Old Covenant and the New. He noted that "David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works" (Romans 4:6) before citing from Psalms 32, which implies that salvation of the Old Testament was like that of the New Testament.

The role of the law or obedience relative to salvation or justification was the same for the Jews before the crucifixion as it is for bondservants of Christ today in God's sight, even if Jewish tradition and the oral law saw it otherwise. Consider that when Paul wrote this to Timothy that parts of the New Testament did not yet exist, or at least had not been likely all gathered together: "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness..." (II Timothy 3:16). Having made in the preceding verses a reference to Timothy being raised a believer in the true God through the "sacred writings" (II Timothy 3:14-15), Paul obviously primarily had the Old Testament in mind when he wrote this. If the Old Testament is so largely irrelevant to believers in Christ, why would Paul say this, after citing the Exodus and Israel wandering in the wilderness: "Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come" (I Corinthians 10:11; compare I Corinthians 10:6 and Romans 4:23-24).

Salvation is of the Jews

An interesting verse which bears consideration is this, spoken by Jesus Christ himself:

John 4:22, "...we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews."

Jesus was intimating to the samaritan woman that Salvation was not a thing left to be reached by any one who might vaguely desire it of a God of mercy, but something that had been revealed, prepared, deposited with a particular people, and must be sought in connection with, and as issuing from them; and that people, "the Jews."

This they knew because God had commanded it; because they worshipped in a place appointed by God, and because they did it in accordance with the direction and teaching of the prophets. They have the true religion and the true form of worship; and the Messiah, who will bring salvation, is to proceed from them (Luke 2:30; 3:6). Jesus thus affirms that the Jews had the true form of the worship of God. At the same time he was sensible how much they had corrupted it, and on various occasions reproved them for it.

This does not mean that all the Jews were saved, nor that it was not possible but that many of the Gentiles and Samaritans might be saved, for in every nation he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted of him; but The author of eternal salvation comes of the Jews, appears among them (Romans 9:5), and is sent first to bless them. The means of eternal salvation are afforded to them. The word of salvation (Acts 13:26) was of the Jews. It was delivered to them, and other nations derived it through them. This was a sure guide to them in their devotions, and they followed it, and therefore knew what they worshipped. To them were committed the oracles of God (Romans 3:2), and the service of God (Romans 9:4).

Jesus was referring to "we Jews" when he spoke to the samaritan woman, and placed himself in the category of "Jews." The Messiah, God's Son, was a Jew. The Messiah was to spring from the Jews - from them, the preaching of the Gospel, and the knowledge of the truth, were to go to all the nations of the world. It was to the Jews that the promises were made.

More Old Testament laws that Remain

The New Testament command to be circumcised of heart (Romans 2:29; Colossians 2:11) is an Old Testament doctrine (Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Jeremiah, 4:4, Leviticus 26:41).

James 2:10, “sin in one, guilty of all” (see also Galatians 3:10 and Matthew 26:66) is from Deuteronomy 27:26.

1 John 3:4, "sin is the transgression of the law" (see also Romans 4:15 and James 2:9) can be seen in 1 Samuel 15:24 and Daniel 9:11.

The command for believers to not marry unbelievers (1 Corinthians 7:39, 2 Corinthians 6:14) is found in Deuteronomy 7:3.

When Jesus said, at Matthew 7:14, "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." this was a different way to re-phrase Deuteronomy 5:32.

Matthew 22:36-40, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." is taken, word for word, from Deuteronomy 6:5, "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." and Leviticus 19:18, "...thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself..."

Jesus did not replace the Law, nor give any new commandment, which is why He said:

1 John 2:7, "Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning."

Your Questions Answered

1) You claim that Jesus taught nothing new, and that Jesus did not change the penalty of adultery. But Jesus did change the penalty of adultery! He did not condemn a woman caught in the very act of adultery!

John 8:3-11, "And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

Answer: This passage clearly shows us that Jesus was following God's Law, not changing it. It would have been strange if Jesus, when he was not a judge (verse 15), and had not the witnesses before him to examine them (verse 10), nor a confession from the accused, and when she had not been tried and condemned by the law and legal judges, should have taken upon him to condemn her. This being the case, it appears why Jesus avoided giving an answer to the question of the scribes and Pharisees.

What took place in John 8 follows the Old Testament law on punishing adultery. A woman accused of adultery could not be stoned to death if:

  1. She did not confess her crime, or
  2. There were no witnesses (Numbers 35:30, Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15), and
  3. There was no judge to pronounce sentence (Deuteronomy 19:17-21).

When Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn thee," this is to be taken in the sense of judicial condemnation, or of passing sentence as a magistrate, for this was what they had arraigned her for in front of him. It was not to obtain his opinion about adultery, but to obtain the condemnation of the woman. As he claimed no authority to magistrate, he said that he did not exercise it, and should not condemn her to die.

This is proven by Jesus' statement a few verses later, when he said, "I judge no man" (John 8:15). Elsewhere, Jesus said, "who made me a judge or a divider over you?" (Luke 12:14). Jesus also said, "for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world" (John 12:47). Jesus was not a judge, so he could not pass judgment upon the woman. And even if he was a judge, God's Law prohibited him from passing judgment without any accusers or witnesses.

When Jesus said, "He that is without sin among you [He that is not guilty: his own conscience being the judge], let him [as a witness] first cast a stone at her" (verse 7), he was actually confirming God's Law, not changing it. Under the law, the witnesses were to cast the first stone (Deuteronomy 17:7-8). Jesus maintained and vindicated the law, but imposed a condition which they had overlooked. The one who executed the law must be free from the same crime, lest by stoning the woman he condemn himself as worthy of a like death.

This was in order that the witness might feel his responsibility in giving evidence, as he was also to be the executioner. Jesus therefore put them to the test. Without pronouncing on her case, he directed them, if any of them were innocent, to perform the office of executioner. This was said, evidently, well knowing their guilt, and well knowing that no one would dare to do it.

Jesus considered her act of adultery to be a sin, he did not change that. He told her, "Go, and sin no more." In other words, Jesus basically told her, "You have sinned. You have been detected and accused. The sin is great. But I do not claim power to condemn you to die, and, as your accusers have left you, my direction to you is that you sin no more."

Therefore, this passage teaches us:

1st. That Jesus claimed no authority to magistrate.

2nd. That he regarded the action of which they accused her as sin.

3rd. That he knew the hearts and lives of men.

4th. That men are often very zealous in accusing others of that of which they themselves are guilty. And,

5th. That Jesus was endowed with wonderful wisdom in meeting the devices of his enemies, and eluding their deep-laid plans to involve him in ruin.

The scribes and Pharisees were the prosecutors and they brought her before Jesus to be the judge. They argued that Moses commanded that such a woman should be stoned. But they wanted to know how this new King Jesus would respond.

Verse six reveals their evil intent. They were tempting him, that they might accuse Him. Jesus stooped down and with his finger wrote on the ground as if he had not heard them. Finally Jesus said, "He that is without sin among you, cast the first stone." Jesus was putting them on trial first. If they wanted to judge her, then they needed to be on trial first. The scribes and Pharisees must have been outraged. "Hey, she didn't pay the full penalty of the law." But, they left her alone because their lives were also in sin.

Jesus also knew full well that none of them could even pretend to be sinless with any degree of believability. In bringing the woman accused of adultery, they had all conspired to sin! A woman cannot be found in the act of adultery without also a man being found with her, yet no man was brought with the accused. Also, as far as the guilty are concerned, Moses’ law says that “they” shall surely be put to death, not that “she” alone shall be put to death.

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