They Called Her a Whore. Jesus Called Her a “Woman”

He had told her he loved her. Said she was beautiful. Promised her she would be special. Next thing she knew she was being dragged out of bed by the friends of him who had dragged her into bed, and he who had praised and flattered her just stood and watched her being dragged away.

Now she was kneeling half naked, humiliated before a popular religious icon. Eyes closed not wanting to be confronted by this religious leader, and not wanting to see the stones that would soon be crushing her head. She waited in terror. It seemed like eternity. When would it be over?

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Barely peeking through one eye she sees the popular religious icon doing something in the sand. Not sure what. She hears footsteps as men walk away. What is going on? Then she hears a word she had not heard in years directed at her.

“Woman…”

The new popular religious icon didn’t address her as “slut,” or “whore.” He called her “woman.” He was addressing her with the same title of respect that He gave to his own mother, who had spoken with angels and given birth to the Son of God.

“….where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” John 8:10 NKJV

She opens her eyes and looks around. They are all gone! She makes no accusations against the men. We know little about the background of this woman. She may or may not have been a victim of sex trafficking. But we do know that, terrified as she was, she was ready to face the consequences without blaming anyone else for the choices she had made, and the role she had played, which now brought her half-naked and humiliated into the presence of a Man of righteousness. Yet incredibly, as guilty as she was, it was her accusers who slunk away. As she lay helpless at His feet, there was no one to condemn her! Whoever this man was, she knew He was a savior to her. But He was more than a savior. He was the Savior!

He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10 NKJV)

She said, “No one, Lord.” (John 8:11 NKJV)

What was next? A sermon? A lecture? Nowhere is it recorded, but I can imagine Jesus placing His coat over her near-naked body.

The Holy One Who would be hanging naked on a cross in front of the entire universe one day, takes off His robe and covers this woman, protecting her human dignity more than just covering her sexuality. He doesn’t preach to her. He ministers to her.

Did you know you don’t have to be a preacher to be a minister? Ministering to sinners doesn’t always have to include a sermon. An-ill timed sermon can do more harm than good. The popular religious icon named Jesus could preach with the best of them, but He knew when to preach and when not to preach. He also knew when to minister.

He called her “woman.” He placed His coat over her near-naked body and gave her the sense of dignity she had been promised by the man who betrayed her trust. Then He did not preach to her with words, He ministered to her with words.

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:11 NKJV

His words were brief and clear, yet somehow we get them mixed up. Have we ever told someone “Go and sin no more, and then I will stop condemning you!” That’s not what Jesus said.

Jesus said clearly, “Neither do I condemn you.” Present tense.

“Go and sin no more.” Future tense.

The world told her they would stop condemning her once she stopped sinning. Jesus promised not to condemn her, so she could stop sinning.

They called her a whore and a slut.
Jesus called her a woman.

A man promised her she would be special and then humiliated and betrayed her.
Jesus gave her dignity back and then made her special. 

Amen!(93)

19 comment(s) for this post:

  1. William Earnhardt:

    10 Feb 2014
    I believe it is important to note that when Jesus said “Let he without sin throw the first stone” That He was not meaning someone free of sin in general. Remember these men were trying to trick Jesus. However they were wrong even by Levitical law. First the husband was the one to make the accusation, not a bystander. So these men were already in the wrong making a request only the husband could make. (Contrast this with Joseph who was trying to break up with Mary very discreetly so as not to embarrass her.) Secondly it was witnesses who was suppose to do the stoning, and these men were not witnesses they were participants according to Desire of Ages “Among Snares.” So when Jesus said let “He without sin” He meant this specific sin. How often do we condemn others when we see our faults in them! So in the New and Old Testament sin must be dealt with, but in a right, loving and redeeming way.
  2. Maurice Ashton:

    11 Feb 2014
    The story of Jesus compassion and understanding is worth remembering next time I feel the urge to judge someone in the church of not living up to the standards. Or when I feel compelled to ignore someone because they do not have the same educational background as me. Assertive judgment is much easier than compassionate understanding, isn’t it? Ouch!
  3. Victor Otieno:

    13 Feb 2014
    I have discovered that her accusers, who decided to slunk away, were even more sinful than her. But wait, instead of sitting at the feet of the most compassionate, they run away. I believe that if they could have but waited, they could have gotten mercy too. O God, am I like them?
  4. William Earnhardt:

    13 Feb 2014
    A very vital observation Victor! Reminds me of those crying for the rocks and stones to fall on them and hide them from the Lamb. Rocks and stones? Hmmmm…anyway I believe according to the chapter “The Feast at Simon’s House” in Desire of Ages, Jesus did finally get through to Simon. Hopefully the others as well. Both in front of the temple that morning, and later at Simon’s house, Jesus did His best to convict them of their sin without publicly humiliating them. Sin should only be dealt with publicly as a last resort. Remember, in John 2 Jesus worked His first miracle for no other reason than to save the host from public embarrassment.
  5. Andrew Legall:

    13 Feb 2014
    Hello Robert, you said the following:
    “Repentance must take place before forgiveness is offered.”

    I would like to disagree.
    Forgiveness is always offered first. Repentance may or may not follow. It’s up to the guilty party to accept forgiveness (which includes healing) or not.

    I offer for this the common (and correct) observation that God never tells us to forgive only those who are sorry or ask us for forgiveness.

    Finally, I would also like to suggest humbly that the sinner only sees his or her sinfulness as a result of the working of the Holy Spirit on their heart; and not because of the law. The law may condemn all day long, but an unrenewed heart will never sense it.

  6. Robert Whiteman:

    14 Feb 2014
    Let me clarify this more Andrew. If we need to state this in the clearest of terms, the meaning of my comment is in agreement with you. As we read in scripture; the grace of God was “given in Christ Jesus before the world began”, which is a promise of forgiveness before there was sin. But pardon cannot benefit the unrepentant heart. When Jesus said to forgive “seventy times seven”, He was saying to forgive until the offender no longer repents, which was in reference to the prophecy of Daniel concerning the 70 weeks given to Israel to repent of their transgression against God’s covenant with them.

    I believe that forgiveness offered and forgiveness received are two separate issues. The cross is continually offered, but few accept it’s terms, meaning few will receive it’s cleansing power. In the story we are discussing, Jesus never “forgave” her, meaning that He did not say she had received forgiveness, only that He did not condemn, which was followed by “go and sin no more”. I believe the forgiveness came immediately after she confessed and repented. By His very manner during this situation He was offering pardon to her and her accusers, probably praying they would accept it.

    The Holy Spirit speaks “according to the law and the testimony”, or how can we tell what spirit it is? God gave the law to condemn sin, and the Holy Spirit is the one promised to “convince the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment”. Paul said clearly that “when the law came, sin revived and I died(was condemned)”. They work together wouldn’t you say? That is my meaning. I don’t separate the two.

  7. William Earnhardt:

    14 Feb 2014
    Robert, Romans 2:4, the verse you refer to says God’s goodness leads us to repentance, and not our repentance leads to God’s goodness.
  8. Robert Whiteman:

    14 Feb 2014
    We would need to define that “goodness” though I think it’s obvious. He sent the accusers fleeing from themselves and did not condemn the guilty as another witness, which He could not do justly.

    The goodness of God is seen in so many wonderful ways, and will lead us to repentance once we realize how good God is to us. But none of this will forgive or pardon before sin is repented of. Repentance is an act of faith in God’s offered pardon which can only be realized once we repent of our sin. Otherwise God’s “goodness” would save everyone without needing to repent. Keep reading in Romans to see the balance, along with 1 John 1:9. Also check out Ex 34:5-7.

  9. Robert Whiteman:

    14 Feb 2014
    Read Revelation 2 & 3 to see how important it is to Jesus that we repent. What happens if we don’t? Are we forgiven if we don’t repent?
    This needs to be rightly understood as the Bible presents it. There is no argument that forgiveness is freely offered, but with conditions.
    The vast majority of mankind will be forever lost by failing to meet the appointed conditions, not for lack of pardon being offered.

    What was Peter’s reply to those who asked what they must do to be saved? (Act 2:38)

  10. Inge Anderson:

    14 Feb 2014
    Robert, Jesus prayed at the cross that the Father would forgive those who killed Him. (Luke 23:34)

    Do you think the Father said NO to that prayer?

    In the story of the Prodigal Son (Lu 15:11-24), it was clear that he had already forgiven the son and rejoiced to see him return. He ran out to meet him and welcome him home before he confessed. In that story, too, the Father’s goodness was the basis of repentance – a turning back to the Father’s house. I get the distinct impression that the verbal confession wasn’t what made the son acceptable to the Father.

    Confession is necessary for us, insofar as it helps convict us of our sin and move us in repentance. And repentance is always in response to the Father’s goodness. It is also an acceptance of the pardon already supplied by Christ’s death on Calvary.

    In US history there is an interesting judicial record that demonstrates that a pardon is not effective for the criminal unless it is accepted. A prisoner on death row received a presidential pardon, but refused to accept it. The court ruled that the pardon was not effective unless accepted. And the prisoner was executed.

    I believe that’s exactly the way it works in our relationship with God:
    Jesus has already provided the pardon, but it is not effective unless we accept it by acknowledging our need (confession) and accepting it (turning back to the Father/i.e. repenting).

  11. Robert Whiteman:

    14 Feb 2014
    Inge, now I know I’m being misunderstood. Yet I think my comments are very clear and you should find no disagreement with any of what you are saying. The very fact that Jesus was on the cross was proof God had offered forgiveness. Jesus was not on the cross to appease God, but placed there by God to reconcile us to Himself. Jesus was the “Lamb of(from) God”, remember? Having already seen the future, the very words “Let their be light” were words of offered forgiveness. Who can argue that?
    This discussion comes from the original story of the woman and her accusers, and the fact that Jesus, while not condemning, could not overlook or pardon her sin, as of yet unrepented of.

    The father’s forgiveness of the prodigal would have been meaningless if the prodigal had not come home to accept it. He had to “turn around”(repent) to come home and find acceptance. This act on the son’s part has no bearing on the fathers part, accept to make it valid. I believe that this is why Jesus did not tell the woman right there that she was forgiven, because without her change of action(repentance) it could not be received. Jesus counsel to “go and sin no more” was a call to repent. What else could it mean? With the paralytic in Mark 2, it is clear he had already repented as Jesus’first words to Him were “Son, your sins are forgiven.” You see, Jesus could read every heart and makes no mistakes. Her now public record needed a public show of repentance so God could be glorified. She did so and found salvation and peace.

    Those very people that Jesus asked His father to forgive were among those who asked Peter what they must do to be save, and Peter’s reply is recorded for us to realize that while Jesus forgave, they could not be forgiven until repenting of their sin. I don’t see why there is difficulty with this Bible truth. Perhaps our understanding of the word “forgiven” is not the same? I don’t know. I only know that as long as I cling to a sin, I can find no pardon/forgiveness for it. I see the two words as one. Forgiveness means to remember no more.(Isa 43:25) Yet every sin unrepented of remains in the heavenly record and will condemn the unrepentant. So how is it forgotten(forgiven)? God’s forgiveness is only an offer until accepted by the appointed means; repentance. (Prov 28:13)

    Re-read my comments and realize I understand and agree with God offering forgiveness to anyone willing to turn from (repents of) their sin. How can even God forgive (keep no more record of) the sins that have not been repented of, all written in the books of heaven? Sins repented/forsaken are removed from our record, cleansed by Jesus blood. That’s why He died. Yet every unrepentant sinner will pay for his own sin at last. Jesus cannot pardon the sin held on too. That would make the law void.

    What were the first words Jesus said when He started to proclaim the Gospel after His baptism and days in the wilderness? (Mark 1:14, 15) God’s forgiveness cannot apply to anyone who does not repent, thus showing belief in Christ. This is simple to understand and I am puzzled by the objections being presented by some here. Again what is the urgent message to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3? What are all but two of the churches urged to do? This means the other two have done this, because it is the prerequisite for receiving the pardon of all sin(again, Prov 28:13). Even one small sin clung to will keep the entire life’s record of wrong intact. It’s all or none. God does not forgive 99%, but 100%. Either we believe in Jesus or we don’t. No one in heaven will be only 99% saved…(according to the light they have had available to them. Please, no arguments about “perfection”.)

    I sincerely hope this is clear.

  12. Jay Ilaoa:

    14 Feb 2014
    Thank you Robert for sharing this vitally important truth. I believe this story is a demonstration of God’s salvation plan for us. Jesus with God’s unmatchless power commanded the accuser(s) to consider their own guilts and He conveyed to the victim the Hope of Glory that is available to us when we understands the love of. God for us that will move the sinner to choose repentance and therefore will receive forgiveness that leads to eternal joy and true peace. It is also important to keep in mind, that everything Jesus did is of profound demonstration of the Divine salvation plan and was the making of His desibles into fisher of men and the same for us today. Thanks be to God, for His mercy endures forever. Amen!!!
  13. Jane Sirignano:

    14 Feb 2014
    This is a post that reminds me of some of my own history. I know what it is like to be sexually abused. At the tender age of 16, a 47 year old hair dresser knew how to seduce young, pretty girls. A few years later, another womanizer told me I was special and then humiliated me and betrayed me when I found myself pregnant. Yes, I let the man into my apartment. Sexuality and pregnancy were topics I had never discussed with anyone so I didn’t know what to do. I thought if I let a man do with me what he wanted, then maybe he would love me. I was love-starved through and through. When the man died, I had to see him in his casket knowing he would no longer hurt any more women or children, and to forgive him in whole, for his part.

    Knowing Jesus loved me gave me value. It didn’t come from church members. Realizing that my sin wasn’t any worse than any one’s else’s sin, brought my dignity back. I had struggled with feeling I was a horrible person for decades.

    William, I am very grateful for your God-given insights that you are brave enough to write about difficult topics. You give people acceptance and hope. Thanks so much!

  14. Hugh Dalhouse:

    14 Feb 2014
    Inge,
    The question about Jesus’ prayer is a good one.

    What would you say the answer was?

    Those (Jewish leaders)involved in the crucifixion of Jesus will be singled out for special treatment at the end of time. They will be resurrected to witness Christ’s coming on account of the very sin for which Christ prayed for forgiveness (Revelation 1:7). Were they forgiven, but are still required to pay the penalty for the forgiven sin?

    God is willing to forgive even without prayer requests, but He does not impose it. The intent of Jesus’ heart, expressed in prayer was not realized, but another prayer was answered; that of the Jews, in particular the leaders, when they prayed in the form of a response to Pilate, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). God respects our choice and grants our wish in relation to forgiveness. Otherwise every opportunity we get we should be praying (requesting) for forgiveness of others to ‘make sure’ (on the basis God has to comply) all sins everywhere are forgiven. God initiates, but the deal is not closed without our conscious positive participation, which seem to be Robert’s point.

    We often note and celebrate the grace received by the woman and probably think, “good for those accusers,” but it pained Jesus that so many others (accusers) turned away. He loved them just as much, and longed for them to repent. It should do something to us when any turn away, even while we rejoice at the one who repents.

    On a quick note, our forgiveness is not the same as God’s. Only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:7-10). Our forgiveness is really addressing our attitude, so it does not require or depend on the repentance of the offender.

  15. Robert Whiteman:

    15 Feb 2014
    Hugh, I would only differ on the point of our forgiveness; which is to be as God’s forgiveness.() This is where we are to reflect Him the most. God’s forgiveness brings pardon. This restores the peace between God and the sinner. Our forgiveness to others brings pardon, and restores peace between us and the offender. Forgive means to forget and live as if “it” never happened. NEVER will it come back up in a conversation or influence our actions towards the one forgiven in any way. God has said “I will remember(bring up and remind you of…) your sins no more.” This way only can we be found “faultless in the presence of His glory” forever. And if we and the one we have forgiven is there too, we will see them as faultless as well. Forever!

    Sinners forgive like God forgives?!! That is what the Gospel can do! 🙂

    I would add this, since I’m sure it will be pointed out; our forgiving each other does not pardon sin against God. Yes, only God can bring peace between Himself and the sinner. But we can forgive like God in our sphere of influence. By His grace we can treat the forgiven one as God treats us; like a prodigal son who has come home again. Nice story!

  16. Hugh Dalhouse:

    15 Feb 2014
    Robert,
    Permit me only to point out – you made a fine comment.
  17. Robert Whiteman:

    13 Dec 2015
    Melinda, there would have been no need for the test since there were more than two eye witnesses to her sin. There would be no need prove something already established.

    Repentance is the act of sinning no more, or turning from sin. It is the goodness of God that leads to this repentance, the goodness that Jesus demonstrated toward this woman. As for requiring an intercessor, how did Enoch live sinless? Moses for nearly 40 years? Noah, Job, Daniel? There was not yet an Intercessor. Faith is the victory as we believe and act on the exceeding precious promises of God whereby we become partakers of His divine nature. This comes through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the same power Jesus lived by as one of us, as well as all others who will live the victorious life by faith.

  18. Deja Mercedes Robinson:

    23 Apr 2016
    This really revived me I was ready to give up on myself thinking acceptance was far within my reach god exalts amen (;!!!!
  19. Alexandria (full name please):

    09 Oct 2017
    Your exactly right..I grew up with A mother that rarely showed emotion or love not that Im blaming my child hood because clearly I made my own decisions..As A teenager til now I spent my life looking for love in the wrong places always getting with men that reflected my bad self esteem. Men with addiction,abusive who always told me the right things and I thought I could help them overcome their problems and it always ended in hurt.

    Now I’m A single mother of 6 children, 5 different fathers.. I never cheated on any man that I was with, but I did have premarital sex and I wasn’t as choosy as I should have been after time I always realized I couldn’t live with their addictions or lifestyle and that they wouldnt change just to choose another man with the sane issues. I think self consciously I thought I couldnt find better and after every abusive one I felt worse about myself. I was naive and quick to be in A relationship with anyone who said they loved me instead of examining their actions.

    All of my childrens fathers are men with addiction problems or other problems I couldn’t live with. Now I’m older doing all I can to show all my children the love they deserve and trying to teach them askmake better decisions then I did. I work hard and provide for all of them and show them all of my love they’ve always lived with me and its been hard but I still feel that God has been merciful.It could be worse.Ive made it out of every bad situation. I’ve turned to Jesus and asked for forgiveness for my bad judgment,for being easy and for looking for love in men, when I should have looked for love in Christ.

    Please pray for me Im trying my best to live A better life and give my children the future they deserve. I thank God everyday for the blessings he has already given me and Im praying he will continue to have mercy on me.. I pray someday god will present me A husband that is A good person and tries to be Christian if Im worthy. Sometimes I think my relationships are doomed and Im going to be lonely and single forever. I pray for guidance. I know we serve A merciful God reading these gives me more hope and faith.

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