John 8 Lesson

Mercy and Compassion


Today’s lesson is on the related subjects of mercy and compassion. Our focus scripture highlights the compassion of Jesus:

  • The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” –John 8:3-11.

Jesus did not distance Himself from the world, or from those that are trapped in sin. Instead, He showed them compassion, talked to them, and encouraged them to sin no more.   The world would do well to follow the example of Jesus and look for opportunities to show compassion and not judgment.  

The woman that had been caught in act of adultery had plenty of people judging her.   In fact, they were ready to stone her to death when Jesus stepped in and said:

  • “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” – John 8:7

Nobody threw a stone because they all had sinned.

Jesus asks the woman:

  • “Where are they? Did no one condemn you?” – John 8:10

She said:

Of course, Jesus already knew what her answer would be.   He was positioning Himself to be able to show her mercy in a way that she would never forget.   Jesus said to the woman:

  • “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” – John 8:11.


Can you imagine this sequence of events from the point of view of the woman? Consider the following:

  1. The Bible says that the woman was not only caught in adultery, she was caught in the act itself,
  2. Adultery under the Old Law was a sin punishable by death by stoning,
  3. As she prepares herself for certain and painful death, somebody steps in to help her,
  4. She rightly refers to Jesus as, “Lord,” and then He tells her that she is not condemned!

This must have been such a relief for the woman!

Not only was she saved from a violent death, but she was also told thatthere is still time to get her soul right with God.  This must have given her hope in a time when she most needed it.  


Jesus is the Light of the World!

While everyone else was seeking to judge and condemn this woman, Jesus showed her mercy and compassion. It is this example that we need to follow.   The mercy and compassion of Jesus are things that we should strive to emulate every day.


All of us know how good it feels to be forgiven when we have done something wrong.

The story of the adulterous woman shows us that we are supposed to show compassion and not judgment to others. On Judgment Day, we are all going to plead for mercy. In the same way, we are to show others mercy when they fall short.

Jesus said:

  • “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” - Mathew 6:15.

As we read the remainder of John's Gospel, the Pharisees will continue to challenge Jesus and seek to harm Him.   Pay attention to the way that Jesus does not let their sinful behavior affect what He says and does. Neither should we!    The world may call for judgment and punishment, but as Christians, we are to offer mercy and compassion.

We will end today’s study with the following two verses:

  1. “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” - John 1:5,
  2. “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” - John 8:12.


Virtual Bible Study

Does anybody have a testimony on the subject of mercy and compassion that they would be willing to share?

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Virtual Bible Study

Does anybody have a testimony on the subject of mercy and compassion that they would be willing to share?


Jesus didn't just say, "Don't worry about it" though. He forgave her and then told her to sin no more. I think that's the message. We are forgiven through Jesus' blood, but we are not to continue in our sin. Repent means to turn away. We need to change our sinful behavior to stay in God's graces.


It's important to show mercy and not judgement, because the way that we treat others with respect to mercy and judgment is the way we will be treated by God. At least that's how I interpret the scripture.


Forgiveness is such a powerful thing. I remember carrying around anger for many years and then one day being able to forgive this person. I felt so much better, and I was obeying God's commands. Ever since then, I have worked at being quick to forgive and slow to anger.