Monday, March 18, 2013


Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" ... Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear ... He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." ... Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst ... He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." John 8:3-11 (selected)

I've always thought this was a total set up and all the accusers were guilty of the same sin as the woman. Oh, she was guilty and she was, indeed, a sinner. She knew it. Her guilt constantly reminded her of that. What could she do now? She could never change what she had done. She was condemned, condemned by her family, by society and by herself. Now, she is brought before the purest, truly the holiest man she had ever met. Her guilt just intensified. Her tears flowed out of deep shame. This went far beyond any level of embarrassment or any sense of conscience. She was unclean; Jesus was holy. She was darkness; Jesus was pure light. She was condemned; Jesus was the Judge.

But then she heard something she never expected to hear. "Neither do I condemn you..." She heard a voice of compassion granting forgiveness, cleansing, and mercy. Jesus is about forgiveness. The cross is about forgiveness. Easter is about forgiveness. Jesus didn't overlook or excuse her sin, he canceled her debt of sin. But then she hear Jesus speak something else, "Go and sin no more." It is out of his grace Jesus says, "Your sins are forgiven," but out of his holiness he commands, "Go and sin no more." Jesus speaks those same words to us.

Lord, we are so thankful for your forgiveness. May we never take it for granted or presume upon it. Help us to never cast stones of condemnation, instead may we be forgiving, as you are forgiving. May we be willing to protect those who are in the line of fire of those who want to throw stones of judgment. May we be ready to always offer your grace to those who so desperately need it. And may your Holy Spirit help us who have been forgiven, to "go and sin no more." Amen.

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