Sunday, April 12, 2015
seeking to honor their friend, Tina.
Today we examine a story that exhibits the kindness and compassion of Jesus toward one who has erred. It carries a message we all need to hear.
This story, preserved for us in John 8:3-11,
is set in the temple where Jesus was teaching. Some religious leaders interrupt Him and bring in a woman, forcing her to stand in the temple court before the crowd that had gathered to hear Jesus.
Accusers: Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.
Now what do you say?
We are told that this question is a trap. Perhaps they wanted to see how Jesus would balance the two legal systems that they lived under: the Roman law that did not permit the Jews to execute someone, and the Mosaic law that sometimes called for stoning. What makes this story so captivating is how beautifully Jesus balances grace and truth and addresses the heart.
The accusers persist in questioning until Jesus answers.
Jesus: If any one of you is without sin, let him be
the first to throw a stone at her.
Gradually, the crowd dissipates. The audience disappears one at a time. At last, only Jesus and the women are left.
Jesus: Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?
Woman: No one sir.
Jesus: Then neither do I condemn you,
Go now and sin no more.
It is not difficult for us to imagine the superior attitudes of the accusers, or the woman's shame, humiliation and fear. But Jesus did not have to imagine. John makes it clear that Jesus knew what was in the heart of man in John 2:24. We see Jesus demonstrate his intimate knowledge of others when He speaks to the woman at the well about her husbands, and to Nathaniel about the fig tree.
Here we have Jesus addressing the needs in the heart of each person present. He points the audience in the direction of humility, suggesting that they cannot consider themselves better than a fellow sinner. Without condemning the woman, He admonishes her to stop sinning.
The tender mercy demonstrated here is breath-taking. The gentle nudge toward humility and holiness so inspiring. The kindness from One who knows the depth of sin in the human heart, so divine!
Surely, John's word's from the Prologue are echoed here: "we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." —John 1:14