To discredit Jesus' teaching thus humiliating him in public, his opponents set a trap, hoping to catch him off guard. It was more likely a set- up scene, rather than coincidence, because gathering a large number of the Scribes and the Pharisees took time. Further the Scribes, and the Pharisees differed on many fronts but joined together to work out a plan against Jesus. They brought a woman before Jesus asking:
Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses has ordered us in the Law to condemn women like this to death by stoning. what have you to say? They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him. vs. 3-6
There was a stark contrast between Jesus and his questioners. The woman was the victim of the absolute majority of the people's court. They had already given her a death verdict before they brought her to Jesus. They made her stand in the full view of the crowd. There was no cross examination. She said not a single word, only her accusers stated the judgement. According to the Law, the woman received a death sentence by stoning. They asked Jesus' opinion simply because they believed, that Jesus would share the same fate as the woman's. Whatever he said, he would land in trouble. If he agreed with them, Jesus would betray his teaching about love and forgiveness; If he disagreed with them, Jesus would betray the law of Moses. In both cases, Jesus would be condemned and condemned by his own words. The woman's accusers were standing and waiting for Jesus to answer them; while Jesus was bending down, writing on the ground with his finger. The woman was standing dumbfounded, shaking. Fear and fright were invading her whole body over the death sentence, and the crowd were watching to see how the drama would unfold. The accusers put more pressure on Jesus, demanding for an answer. Jesus cast his eyes on his opponents' faces before telling them to look deep into their hearts, examining their own consciences. 'If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her'. v. 7. He then bent down and wrote on the ground again. Nothing is mentioned about what Jesus scribbled on the ground. My guess would be, that Jesus listed the sins of each of the accusers without names attached to who had committed what? This anonymous list of sins would spare them from any public humiliation. Those who had committed sins understood that Jesus knew them from inside out. Seeing their past sins written on the ground, they felt ashamed and began to depart, one by one, beginning with the eldest. Jesus freed the woman and gave her a warning to sin no more. Jesus freed her from the power of sin and empowered her to resist temptation to sin. Majority opinion rarely aligns to Jesus' teaching, and the people's court judgement may often be manipulated by the faceless figures.