“Home-Study Lesson: John 7–10 (Unit 14)” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)
“Home-Study Lesson: Unit 14,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
While the Savior was in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, some scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Him who was guilty of adultery, and they asked whether she should be stoned. He confounded the accusers and showed mercy to the woman.
Invite students to think of times when they may have encountered or associated with people whose appearance or behavior was not in harmony with the Lord’s standards.
What challenges might we face when we are with others whose appearance or behavior is not in harmony with the Lord’s standards? (Students may respond that we may be tempted to judge such individuals unrighteously or treat them unkindly.)
Write the following question on the board:
Encourage students to look for truths as they study John 8:1–11 that can help answer this question.
Explain that after the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus Christ remained in Jerusalem for a time and taught the people at the temple (see John 8:1–2).
Invite a student to read John 8:3–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened as Jesus taught the people.
What happened as Jesus taught the people?
What question did the scribes and Pharisees ask the Savior?
According to verse 6, what was the scribes and Pharisees’ intention? (They were seeking to discredit Jesus in front of the people and establish a reason to accuse Him because they wanted a reason to arrest Him and put Him to death [see John 7:1, 32].)
Explain that if Jesus said to stone the woman, He would have been endorsing a penalty that was unpopular among the Jewish people and prohibited by Roman law. If Jesus said not to stone the woman, He would be accused of disregarding the law of Moses or treating the accepted practices of the past disrespectfully. (See Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:450–51.)
Invite a student to read John 8:7–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Savior responded.
According to verse 7, what was Jesus’s response?
What do you think the Savior wanted these men to realize when He said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”? (John 8:7).
Invite a student to read John 8:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened as the Pharisees and scribes considered the Savior’s statement.
What do you think the phrase “convicted by their own conscience” means?
What did these men acknowledge by choosing to walk away?
What truth can we learn from this account about how to avoid condemning others? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: Acknowledging our own imperfections can help us avoid condemning others. Write this principle under the question on the board.)
How do you think acknowledging our own imperfections helps us avoid condemning others?
Remind students that this woman was guilty of adultery, which is an extremely serious sin (see Alma 39:3–5).
What feelings do you think this woman may have had as her sin was exposed to Jesus and a large crowd of people?
Invite a student to read John 8:10–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Savior responded to this woman.
In what way did the Savior show love and mercy to this woman?
What instructions did the Savior give to the woman?
To help students understand that the Savior was not condoning this woman’s sin, ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:
“His command to her was, ‘Go, and sin no more.’ He was directing the sinful woman to go her way, abandon her evil life, commit no more sin, transform her life. He was saying, Go, woman, and start your repentance; and he was indicating to her the beginning step—to abandon her transgressions” (The Miracle of Forgiveness , 165).
What truth can we learn about the Savior from John 8:10–11? (Students may use different words but should identify the following truth: The Savior shows us mercy by giving us opportunities to repent. Write this truth under the question on the board.)
How can understanding this truth help us when we sin?
How can the two truths we have identified in this lesson help us respond in situations when we are with others whose appearance or behavior is not in harmony with the Lord’s commandments and standards?
Share the following addition to the end of John 8:11 from the Joseph Smith Translation: “And the woman glorified God from that hour, and believed on his name” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 8:11 [in John 8:11, footnote c]).
According to the Joseph Smith Translation of John 8:11, what effect did the Savior’s mercy have on the woman?
Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals the feelings they have for the Savior because of His willingness to show us mercy and give us opportunities to repent. You may want to provide time for students to share what they wrote. Consider also sharing your testimony of the principles identified in this lesson.
Encourage students to look for answers to the following questions as they study John 11–15: What would it be like to see someone raised from the dead? Why did the scriptures record that “Jesus wept” (John 11:35)? What did Jesus do for His Apostles that servants would normally do? What did the Savior promise His disciples they would receive to comfort them after He was gone?