Imagine sitting somewhere in these temple courts in this image of Mount of Olives above. A group is gathered to listen to Jesus share story, probably a lesson on how we should be living. Not to far into this lesson, voices and sounds of mockery, crying, and unwanted insults are being hurled at a person as they are brought closer and closer eventually, right in front of the group. There are scribes and Pharisees who have brought a woman caught in an adulterous act and taken, in that moment, to go face to face with Jesus. While we sit there, the questions being pondered in our heads include, “Who is this?, What have they done? How long have they been doing this? or Who have they impacted by their actions?” We watch this public judgment brought by the teachers of the law and Pharisees. I imagine her outfit, the sweat, tears, dirt, and blood that is present from being dragged, manhandled, and throw down on the ground at the feet of Jesus. On the inside I can feel her pain, for her it is probably embarrassment, guilt, a helpless feeling that death could be on the way. Her face is looking down with shame that won’t allow anyone to read it on her eyes. The last sounds we hear is sobbing as she gasps for air waiting for her fate to be decided. Others keep asking what should we do with her? Can you picture it?
Now, think in our current lives, have you been in a similar spot? Maybe not the same situation but the same level of pain, same level of embarrassment, same level of struggle. Are you here today? Have you been here ever? Do you know anyone who is going through a hard situation?
Jesus said in John 8:7, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
I think about being there, seeing, hearing, and witnessing Jesus’s grace. Watching as one by one, those present start to leave. Verse 9 says that when they heard this, one by one they started to leave. Older ones first until Jesus and the women were left alone. The mention of the older ones makes me reflect on why they put and order on this event. For me, I’m left with the thought, “I get it, who hasn’t messed up?” Our earthly lives can bring about desires that can leave you at times helpless until you lift up your head, open your heart, repent, allowing God’s grace to fill your heart.
Who am I to judge if I were to look at my own life?
Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn, you; go, and from now on sin no more”
My study bible emphasizes the word order of this statement pointing out the significance of, “go now and sin no more”. That, in Christ, the pardon is given first, Jesus is quick to forgive, but we as individuals are accountable to stop sinning. (Jeremiah Study Bible)
I also looked back at some of my notes on a sermon that was preached on these verse once at Eastview Cristian Church where pastor Baker said, All of us are guilty. Why do we condemn?
So I ask myself, Am I quick to pick up stones? We have all been given God’s grace. It’s not too late. Share this with someone today. As you head into Thanksgiving show God’s love with grace. Let’s not condemn or pass judgement.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, As God in Christ forgave you.
Thank you for your grace you have given to all of us even though we don’t deserve it. You love us and shown us by sending your son to die for all of us. This story of your love, compassion, and grace fills our hearts and is an example of the love you have for us all.
John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Go share that light of life with others! Happy Thanksgiving.
For more on this chapter read Throwing Stones by Jon Harris