Gospel Rewrite: Jesus and the Death Penalty

To read an intro to this series, click here. To read the original Gospel story, click here

John 8: 1-12: The Woman Caught in Adultery


Painting by Eugene Higgins. Taken from Sacred Art Meditations

And Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he returned to the temple. All the people gathered around him, and he sat down and taught them.The legal experts and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. Placing her in the center of the group, they said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone women like this. What do you say?” They said this to test him, because they wanted a reason to bring an accusation against him. Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger.

They continued to question him, so he stood up and replied, “All of us here are more righteous than this woman. She must suffer the consequences of her sin. If Moses said penalty should be death, then let the penalty be death.” The legal experts and Pharisees were pleased with this reply and some left to gather stones. Jesus walked closer to the woman, until they stood next to one another. 

10 Then he said to her, “Woman, where are they? Where are the men who brought you here?”

11 She said, “They’ve gone to get the stones so they might kill me.”

Jesus said, “Indeed. The wages of sin is death. We can’t have justice if we show mercy to all evildoers. May your death be a lesson to all gathered here to go and sin no more.”

12 When the men returned, they each hurled their stones at the sinful woman until her bones were broken and she was dead. Jesus oversaw her execution, and then he left the temple.

How does this Gospel Rewrite speak to you? Leave your thoughts below.


  1. Paula says:

    The death penalty is barbaric. He who is without sin cast the first stone.

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