“Jews celebrate this holiday [Sukkot], also called the Festival of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths, in the fall, four days after Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is a joyous celebration of the harvest and a time to remember Israel’s wandering in the Sinai desert before entering the Promised Land.” IFCJ.org
John 8 opens with a story made famous by the subtitle added by modern publishers, “The Woman Caught In Adultery.” This added subtitle does a couple of things: First, it distracts us from the greater story, and second, it puts an idea in our mind that clouds how we read this section of John.
If we could back up and read John 7-8 without the subtitles, we would discover the greater story is about Sukkot. It’s harvest time, and people are enjoying the fruit of their labor … and yes, the “fruit of the vine.” People are celebrating, living in tents next to each other, listening to various rabbis teach, and yes — experiencing what often happens when you put a bunch of humans together in a festival: Behaviors often based on bad choices.
But, as my parents used to say, “It takes two to tango.” By the way, that might be a better subtitle if we feel we need to add one.
Sunday, we will go back to Sukkot and this interesting story from scripture. We will also explore who is “caught in the act” and discover the profound nature of God’s grace through it all!
See you Sunday.