Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Jesus Really Is Sinless! Pt. 1

Examining the Story of the Woman caught in Adultery

Sam Shamoun

It is that time again to expose Sami Zaatari’s deliberate and gross manhandling of God’s inspired Scriptures. Here we are going to address Zaatari’s attempt of twisting the story of the woman caught in adultery in order to show that Jesus thought that he was a sinner.

Here is the account of that event:

“But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. 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 8:1-11

Zaatari claims that since Jesus didn’t stone her this confirms that he too was a sinner, or at least thought of himself as one (God forbid such blasphemy!).

In order for Zaatari’s assertion to work we have to forget or brush aside the following factors.

Forget the fact that the verse which comes immediately right after this story has Jesus identifying himself as the Light of the world,

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, 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

A title and function which even the Quran acknowledges belong to God:

God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! God doth guide whom He will to His Light: God doth set forth Parables for men: and God doth know all things. S. 24:35 Y. Ali

Forget the fact that Jesus in the same chapter claims to be the Son who not only always (not merely sometimes) does whatever is pleasing to the Father and whom no one could convict of sin, but is also the One who can set a person free from slavery to sin:

“So Jesus said, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, FOR I ALWAYS DO THE THINGS THAT ARE PLEASING TO HIM.’ As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, “You will become free”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’… Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?” John 8:28-36, 46

Forget the fact that in the previous chapter Jesus says that there is no unrighteousness in him, in contrast to the Jews who do not keep the Law:

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” John 7:18-19

Forget the fact that he went on to say that whoever believes in him shall be given the Holy Spirit,

“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.’” John 7:37-39

A point he made early on to a Samaritan woman:

“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’… Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.’" John 4:10, 13-14

Forget the fact that Christ also breathed the Holy Spirit upon his followers,

“So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” John 20:21-22

All these happen to be divine functions according to both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Quran:

“This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven. Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.’” Genesis 2:4-7

He Who has made everything which He has created most good: He began the creation of man with (nothing more than) clay, And made his progeny from a quintessence of the nature of a fluid despised: But He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him something of His spirit. And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): little thanks do ye give! S. 32:7-9 Y. Ali

Forget the fact that Jesus further claimed to be the Son who can only do what the Father does, and can even do everything that the Father does such as give life and raise the dead by the sound of his sovereign voice:

“For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.’ For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for WHATEVER the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son EVEN AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear HIS (the Son’s) VOICE, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.’” John 5:16-30

And forget the fact that since the Father cannot sin, the Son also cannot sin since he can only do what the Father does.

Let us also forget the fact that Jesus’ disciples, including John himself, testify that Christ is the Holy One of God who is absolutely sinless, righteous and pure:

“So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?’ Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.’” John 6:67-69

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; AND IN HIM THERE IS NO SIN. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:1-9

But that’s not all we are supposed to forget, since Zaatari seemingly wants us to also forget that this is the very same Gospel where one of the disciples confesses that Jesus is his Lord and God, a confession which Christ accepts and blesses,

“Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ Thomas answered AND SAID TO HIM, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.’” John 20:27-29

Or that John starts off his Gospel by identifying Christ as the eternal Word who has eternally existed with God (the Father) and as God (in essence), being the One that brought the entire creation into being, and who eventually became flesh in order to dwell among mankind:

“In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. And with this Word, God created all things. Nothing was made without the Word. Everything that was created received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone… The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. The Word was in the world, but no one knew him, though God had made the world with his Word. He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him… The Word became a human being (sarx egeneto – lit. “flesh became”) and lived here (eskenosen – lit. “tarbenacled/pitched his tent”) with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us… No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like.” John 1:1-4, 9-11, 14, 18 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Now that we have forgotten all these facts from the very same inspired author who recorded the story of the woman caught in adultery, we can proceed to address Zaatari’s two main objections. He writes:

Now a Christian might reply back by saying well Jesus didn't stone her because Jesus was all about love and forgiveness, he was bringing a new message, well such a response is very weak for two reasons. (A) This response is from silence, there is no evidence for it, the context of the story is clear, Jesus tells the one without the sinner to cast the stone, no one does including himself, hence he too is a sinner, saying he didn't stone her because of compassion and a new message is not shown anywhere in the context, Jesus could have easily said I wont stone you because I have brought a new way, he says no such thing.

The only thing that is weak is Zaatari’s utter desperation of trying to make this Gospel testify that Christ was a sinner like the rest, or like his own false prophet who was constantly being rebuked and threatened by his god:

Allah forgive thee (O Muhammad)! Wherefor didst thou grant them leave ere those who told the truth were manifest to thee and thou didst know the liars? S. 9:43 Pickthall – cf. 4:106-107; 40:55; 47:19; 48:1-2; 110:1-3; 80:1-10; 110:3

And they indeed strove hard to beguile thee (Muhammad) away from that wherewith We have inspired thee, that thou shouldst invent other than it against Us; and then would they have accepted thee as a friend. And if We had not made thee wholly firm thou mightest almost have inclined unto them a little. Then had we made thee taste a double (punishment) of living and a double (punishment) of dying, then hadst thou found no helper against Us. S. 17:73-75

Say: I am only a mortal like you. My Lord inspireth in me that your God is only One God. And whoever hopeth for the meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous work, and make none sharer of the worship due unto his Lord. S. 18:110 Pictkhall – cf. 17:93; 39:30-31; 41:6

And verily it hath been revealed unto thee as unto those before thee (saying): If thou ascribe a partner to Allah thy work will fail and thou indeed wilt be among the losers. S. 39:65 Pickthall

Say: I am no new thing among the messengers (of Allah), nor know I what will be done with me or with you. I do but follow that which is inspired in me, and I am but a plain warner. S. 46:9 Pickthall – 7:188; 72:20-25

And if he had invented false sayings concerning Us, We assuredly had taken him by the right hand And then severed his life-artery, And not one of you could have held Us off from him. S. 69:44-47 Pickthall – cf. 10:15

Now can you imagine what Zaatari would do if such threats and statements were made against the Lord Jesus in the Holy Bible? He would be plastering them all over the internet, and citing them in all his debates and lectures ad nauseam ad infinitum. However, since he knows that no such statements exist he is forced to find whatever he can from the Holy Bible, no matter how weak or desperate, in order to turn Jesus into an imperfect, fallible human being so as to make him resemble his false prophet.

Yet unfortunately for Zaatari, the evidence we just presented conclusively proves that Christ is the farthest thing from being a sinner. Rather, the explicit witness of John’s inspired writings, as well as the NT as a whole,

“You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” Acts 3:14-15 New International Version (NIV)

“"Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become;” Acts 7:52

“And he said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. Acts 22:14

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:14-15

“who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life… but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” Hebrews 7:16, 24-27

“how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself WITHOUT BLEMISH to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14

“knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:18-19

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:21-24

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;” 1 Peter 3:18

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:” Revelation 3:7

Is that the risen and glorious Lord Jesus is absolutely sinless and pure.

Therefore, the reason why Christ didn’t stone her is not because he was a sinner like Muhammad, but because he came into the world for the specific purpose of saving people like her, just as he himself stated on more than one occasion:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did NOT send His Son into the world TO CONDEMN THE WORLD, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18 New King James Version (NKJV)

“From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified,’ He told me all the things that I have done.’ So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.’” John 4:39-42

“And Jesus cried out and said, ‘He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; FOR I DID NOT COME TO JUDGE THE WORLD, but to save the world.’” John 12:47

In fact, this is the message of the entire NT, as the following verses amply testify:

“And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, ‘Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners? And hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Mark 2:15-17

“He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, ‘Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’ And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’ Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.’” Luke 19:1-10

“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31

“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” 1 Timothy 1:15

“We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14

Zaatari continues with his rant:

(B) Jesus himself stated that he came NOT to break the law, hence if Jesus isn't breaking the law this means he must carry it out, not say I am bringing something new, because if he is bringing something new that doesn't punish an adulteress by stoning then that means that the law has been broken since that is what it calls for!

Zaatari’s comments expose either his ignorance, since he has no clue what the Holy Bible actually teaches, or his blatant dishonesty since he does know and yet still chooses to pervert the Holy Scriptures to his own shame and humiliation.

In the first place, by preventing her from being stoned, Jesus was actually upholding the Law which demanded that BOTH the adulterer and the adulteress be put to death for their crime:

“If a man is found lying with a married woman, then BOTH OF THEM shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring THEM BOTH out to the gate of that city and you shall stone THEM to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.” Deuteronomy 22:22-24

“If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, THE ADULTERER AND THE ADULTERESS shall surely be put to death.” Leviticus 20:10

The fact that the Jews only brought her before Jesus, and didn’t bother to also bring the person with whom she had committed adultery, shows that they really weren’t concerned with the Law. They were only interested in trying to trap Jesus by either having him go against the revelation given to Moses, or by pitting him against the Roman authorities, since the Jews had no authority to put anyone to death:  

“They answered and said to him, ‘If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.’ So Pilate said to them, ‘Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.’ The Jews said to him, ‘We are not permitted to put anyone to death,’” John 18:30-31

Secondly, and more importantly, Jesus’ statement that he had not come to break the Law didn’t mean that he came to merely obey it, but rather to fulfill it just as he himself stated:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18

Fulfilling the Law and Prophets according to Jesus meant that he would fulfill all of the promises made concerning himself and the people of God, just as the following texts explain:

“Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms MUST BE FULFILLED.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’” Luke 24:44-47

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life… Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:39-40, 45-47

As such, the purpose of the Law and the Prophets is to bring people to Jesus by making them aware of their sinfulness and therefore their need of the salvation which Christ brings. Once a person comes to that realization, s/he is ready to accept Christ and obey his commandments:

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I COMMANDED YOU; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20

“‘If you love Me, you will keep MY COMMANDMENTSHe who has MY COMMANDMENTS and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.’… Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep MY WORD; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep MY WORDS; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance ALL THAT I SAID TO YOU.’” John 14:15, 21, 23-26

This brings us to our final point. The Lord Jesus did something which, when viewed in light of the Torah, points to his divine identity: 

“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… Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.” John 8:6, 8

Jesus’ action of writing with his finger echoes what God did when he revealed the Law to Moses:

“When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.” Exodus 31:18

“The Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written by the finger of God; and on them were all the words which the Lord had spoken with you at the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly.” Deuteronomy 9:10

In light of these texts, we believe that the reason why Jesus used his finger to write something on the ground is because he was basically identifying himself as the very God who had written the commandments for Moses on Mount Sinai. As such, he would have known the exact meaning and application of the Mosaic Law, especially as it relates to the case of adultery, since he is the One who revealed such commands in the first place! This in turn shows the utter futility of the people in trying to trap Jesus by using the very Law that he himself revealed against him!

We come to the conclusion of this first part. Time to proceed to part 2.