The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 91

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 5

In our last post, we learned about Spiritual Drinks and more. In this post, we will learn that Nakdimon (Nicodemus) Counsels Caution and about the Women Caught in Adultery.

Nakdimon (Nicodemus) Counsels Caution

45 The guards came back to the head cohanim and the P’rushim, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring Him in?” 46 The guards replied, “No one ever spoke the way this man speaks!” 47 “You mean you’ve been taken in as well?” the P’rushim retorted. 48 “Has any of the authorities trusted Him? Or any of the P’rushim? No! 49 True, these ‘am-ha’aretz (people of the land) do, but they know nothing about the Torah; they are under a curse!”

Has any of the authorities put their trust in him? Or any of the P’rushim? The questioners suppose a negative answer, but Nakdimon may have already trusted in Yeshua (see vv. 50–52); by 19:39, he indeed had. Have any modern-era Jewish authorities put their trust in Yeshua? Of course! There are multitudes of Messianic Jews in the world.

50 Nakdimon, the man who had gone to Yeshua before and was one of them, said to them, 51 “Our Torah doesn’t condemn a man – does it? – until after hearing from him and finding out what he’s doing.” 52 They replied, “You aren’t from the Galil too, are you? Study the Tanakh, and see for yourself that no prophet comes from the Galil!” [1]

Study the Tanakh and see for yourself that no prophet comes from the Galil! One need not study it deeply to find that the prophet Jonah came from Gat-Hefer in the Galil (2 Kings 14:25).

Nakdimon (Nicodemus) Counsels Caution

Most scholars believe that 7:53–8:11 is not from the pen of Yochanan. Many believe it is a true story about Yeshua written by another of his talmidim. I have chosen to include it as most of us are familiar with the story.

53 Then they all left each one to his own home. 8 But Yeshua went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak, He appeared again in the Temple Court, where all the people gathered around Him, and He sat down to teach them. The Torah teachers and the P’rushim brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery and made her stand in the center of the group. Then they said to him, “Rabbi, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now, in our Torah, Moshe commanded that such a woman be stoned to death. What do you say about it?” They said this to trap Him so that they might have ground for bringing charges against Him, but Yeshua bent down and began writing in the dust with His finger. When they kept questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “The one of you who is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then He bent down and wrote in the dust again. On hearing this, they began to leave, one by one, the older ones first, until He was left alone, with the woman still there. 10 Standing up, Yeshua said to her, “Where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, sir.” Yeshua said, “Neither do I condemn you. Now go, and don’t sin anymore.” [2]

How many have wondered what Yeshua wrote in the dust? Leave a comment as to what you think it might have been.

Bruce Metzger, in A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, ad loc., writes that

“the account has all the earmarks of historical veracity. It is obviously a piece of oral tradition which circulated in certain parts of the Western church and which was subsequently incorporated into various manuscripts in various places.”

Namely, into Yochanan’s Gospel after 7:36, 7:44, or 7:52, and into Luke’s Gospel after 21:25 or 21:38. On the strength of its apparent “historical veracity” the JNT includes it here in its traditional location, with the asterisked note explaining that some scholars doubt whether it was initially part of this Gospel.

Then they all left, each one to his own home (7:53). If this remark is in chronological order, it seems to refer to the return of the pilgrims at the end of the Sukkot holiday to their homes in regions and countries distant from Jerusalem. At the same time, Yeshua went to the Mount of Olives (8:1) instead of going down to Nazareth. Perhaps he stayed in Bethany, on the flanks of the Mount of Olives, at the home of His friends Miryam, Marta, and El’azar (11:1–2) at least until Chanukkah (10:22) and probably until He left to go to the East Bank of the Jordan River (10:40). The interchange with the woman caught in adultery took place after daybreak (8:2) the next day, which was still Hoshana Rabbah (7:37&N) since Jewish days begin at sunset. Later the same day, He said, “I am the light of the world,” which relates to Hoshana Rabbah customs (8:12&N). [3]

In our next post, we continue with our new series on Yeshua’s Journey to Yerushalayim for the Feast of Sukkot. In our next post, we learn that Yeshua says, “I am the Light of the World,” and more.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Yochanan 7:45–52.
[2] Yochanan 7:53–8:11.
[3] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary.

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