The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So, what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:3-11
The Pharisees used this woman’s act as a test for Jesus. He upheld the law of Moses by asking those without sin to throw the first stone. As her accusers walked away one by one, Jesus, the sinless son of God, was left. He didn’t throw a stone either. Instead, he offered her much more: forgiveness, restoration and a new life. “Go and sin no more.” And I believe she did. The holy confrontation with Jesus changed her.
Lysa Terkeurst writes from the testimony of her own broken life and shattered heart, “God has the power to not only put pieces back together, but a pile of dust.” Jesus makes all things new, even a pile of dirt. Isn’t it interesting that the creator, Jesus, goes back to the ground, not once but twice to communicate? In this gospel story he is not condemning the woman or condoning. He values her and shows her worth. Jesus is loving her and lifting her out of her old circumstances. He is giving her a new heart and bringing her new life.
Jesus amazes us with his wisdom. Yet again he shows a new way. He respects the law but brings a new covenant. He’s showing us the why behind the law not the what. Each person in the story is impacted by Jesus’ love and forgiveness. Isn’t that the way God wants us to be? Impacted and then impacting others, extending the love extended to us. We can have a holy impact and influence when our hearts of stone are made into a new heart of flesh by Jesus; forgiveness. Let him help you drop the stones in your hand and fill your open hands with love to extend to others.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17
By Donna Burns