Only Jesus Can Judge, But He’d Rather Forgive Instead – The Woman Caught in Adultery
Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids about how Jesus forgave them and to not judge others.
Needed: Bibles, drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils
Game: If You’ve Never – This game is similar to Upset the Fruits Basket. Students sit in a circle with one less chair than players. The person without a chair stands in the middle of the circle and names something that some of the players might never have done.
They might say something like, “If you’ve never worn a pink sock…” Or, “If you’ve never ridden on a plane…” Anyone sitting down who has never done what the person in the middle says has to get up and run to a different chair. The person in the middle also tries to find an empty chair. Whoever doesn’t find a seat is in the middle.
As the last criterion, get up and say, “If you’ve never sinned…” No one should move. If someone does, explain what sin is so that they understand that everyone has sinned.
Lesson: (Note: Always allow students enough time to think about and to give their answers to the questions before clarifying the teaching.)
Ask students, what are we supposed to do when we see someone doing something wrong?
What if they’re breaking the law, then what should we do?
(Read John 8:2-4.)
“At dawn He appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around Him, and He sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.’”
The Pharisees said that the woman was caught doing something bad and breaking the law. (If students ask, tell them that she was cheating on her husband, or kissing another man even though she was married.)
(Read John 8:5.)
“’In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’”
What was supposed to be the woman’s punishment for breaking the law? (She was supposed to be stoned.)
When you stone someone, that means you throw rocks at them until they’re dead.
(Read John 8:6-8.)
“They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing Him.
“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.”
Did Jesus tell them they could throw rocks at her and kill her? (No.)
What did Jesus say? (He said that if anyone had never sinned, then they could throw the first rock at her.)
Jesus was telling the people that they couldn’t judge the woman–they couldn’t kill her for doing something wrong–because they all had done wrong things too.
Just like us. We all do things that are wrong sometimes.
Only God and Jesus can judge people because They’re the only ones who have never done anything wrong.
God and Jesus never sinned. They’re perfect.
(Read John 8:9-11.)
“At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
“’No one, sir,’ she said.
“’Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’”
Did Jesus judge the woman and kill her for the wrong thing she did? (No.)
Jesus didn’t want to kill her. Instead, He forgave her and told her not to do it again. That’s the same thing Jesus does for us. When we do something wrong, He doesn’t want to punish us. He forgives us and tells us not to do it again.
So, remember, only God and Jesus can judge other people, but Jesus will only judge them if He has to. He wants to forgive them instead. And Jesus can forgive anyone if they repent and believe in Him.
Craft: Attitude Comparison – Give student drawing supplies and have them draw a picture of the mean people who wanted to throw rocks at the woman, and of Jesus who wanted to forgive her.
Ask them to draw the kind of faces that the people and Jesus would have been making.
Game: Forgiveness vs. Judgment – Print out or write the words Forgiveness or Judgment on a set of index cards. You should have an equal number of cards that say Faith as Fear.
Divide students into two teams, and have the teams line up on separate sides of the room in single file lines. Mix up the cards and give each student a card that says Forgiveness or Judgment. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes, depending on how many students you have. When you say, “Go!” the first two students run toward each and show each other their cards.
If one says Forgiveness and the other says Judgment, the student with Forgiveness scores a point for their team. The person with Judgment does not score. If both say Forgiveness, both score a point, and if both say Judgment, neither does. Both return to the back of their lines and trade their cards for a new card.
As soon as they leave the center, the second two players run up and do the same thing. Play continues until the timer runs out. The team with the most points at the end wins.
Game: If You’ve Never – Play the intro game again and remind students that Jesus said that they only who have never sinned are the only ones who are allowed to judge other people.
Closing Prayer: Jesus, we thank You for not wanting to judge us but forgive us. We pray that You’ll help us not to judge other people, either.
Recommended ExtraPointing Fingers and Throwing Stones – free object lesson, along with free coloring and activity pages
This lesson is included in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus: Volume 2.