A defendant is allowed to act as his or her own expert witness during a court trial; no law expressly bars a defendant or someone related to that person from qualifying as an expert witness. There are, however, pitfalls to doing so. The most obvious is that the testimony can be suspected of bias. The best witnesses are independent experts with no direct ties to the person on trial.
In our passage today, the Pharisees wanted to judge two people. The first is the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees accused her of breaking the Law and wanted her stoned (v. 5). Even more than doling out punishment for this woman, they wanted to trick Jesus into publicly denying the requirements of the Mosaic Law. But instead of speaking or picking up a stone, Jesus bent to write on the ground.
We are not sure what He wrote, but one by one, her accusers left. Finally, the judgment came down to two people: Jesus and the adulterous woman herself. In that beautiful moment, Jesus declared her free of condemnation and set her free, instructing her to leave her life of sin behind (v. 11).
Jesus Himself also faced judgment. When Jesus “spoke again to the people” (v. 12), He claimed to be the light of the world. The religious teachers demanded to know on what basis He claimed deity: “Your testimony is not valid” (v. 13). They asserted that He needed two witnesses, not just His own claim.
They didn’t understand three important truths. First, Jesus was the sovereign Lord of the universe—the most credible witness in history! Second, He had the validation of God the Father (v. 15). And third, they had no right to pass judgment on Jesus—He was God, and they were not.
We often want to assume God’s role and pass judgment on others, including ourselves, refusing to forget the wrongs we have done. When you ask God to forgive you your sins in Jesus’ name, He has promised to forgive you. There is no more condemnation. Like that woman, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (v. 11).