“Come with us!” One of the men grabbed her arm as the man on top of her rolled out of the way.
The woman screamed as they lifted her to her feet. “Where are you taking me? How did you guys get in here, anyway? Can I get some clothes first?”
She freed an arm loose and grabbed a robe as they moved through the room.
The man in charge of the group turned around. “Are you married to that man?”
She slipped her free arm into a sleeve. “You know I’m not.What’s this all about?”
His gaze dropped below her head. “You’ll find out soon enough.”
She continued to struggle with the men to get her robe on as they walked through Jerusalem toward the temple. The group slowed as they reached a large crowd. The men pushed their way through. Two men pulling a cart loaded with stones joined them.
When they reached the man teaching the crowd the men pushed the woman into the opening created by the dispersing crowd. She finished putting her robe on and watched Jesus stand and look at the men.
Her eyes grew wide as she saw of all the men holding the stones that were brought in.
The Pharisee in charge pointed at her as he addressed Jesus. “According to the law as it was given to Moses we’re told to stone anyone caught in adultery. We just caught this woman in the very act. What do You say we should do with her?”
Jesus stooped down and traced in the dirt with His finger.
“She’s been known to do this before. The law says she must be stopped. What do You say we should do with her?”
The woman cringed as she saw some of the men raise their stones.
Jesus stood and looked at the men. “The man who is without sin among you can cast the first stone. Even if you’ve never committed this sin in your mind with such a woman, then follow through with the commandment.”
Jesus stooped back down and drew in the dirt, again.
The woman looked from Jesus to the men. The gray-haired leader of the group dropped his stone first. Thud…thud, thud, thud…stones were being dropped by each man now. They all walked away.
The woman watched the youngest member of the group disappear into the crowd. She looked at the stones on the ground, then at Jesus.
He stood and faced her. “Where are those who accused you? Is there no one left who condemns you?”
She looked into His loving eyes and shivered in the morning chill. “No one is here, Lord. They’ve all left.”
Jesus picked up a cloak that one of the men dropped and placed it over her shoulders. “Neither do I condemn you. Go and make a fresh start. Leave this sin behind you.”
The woman nodded as she turned and walked back home.
The ultimate show of grace was on display in this story. Jesus knew these men were only using this woman to test Him, yet again. But, He used the incident to show His love to the least of the members of society.
I love the fact that Jesus was the only man in the crowd–no make that the whole world–who was without sin, yet, He didn’t condemn her for the obvious sin she had just committed. He was the only qualified judge who could give a just decision.
They were right, she deserved to be stoned. The law was established to put a stop to such behavior in Jewish society. But Jesus knew they weren’t trying to rid this corruption from their midst, this was another ploy to try to trap Him into something they could condemn Him for.
They had too many strikes against them for this to be anything else.
1. They were too near the temple to carry out a legal stoning. Stonings were to be conducted outside of the city not anywhere near the dwelling place of God.
2. They didn’t produce the other member of this sin. It takes two people to carry out this indiscretion. The man was nowhere to be found. Both partners in this sin were to be stoned to put a stop to it.
3. Jesus was only a rabbi, not a member of the Sanhedrin. He couldn’t carry out the execution order even if He wanted to at this point.
Some of you are hoping I clear up exactly who this woman is. Some people say she’s Mary Magdalene. I don’t think it was her. But, I could be wrong. It really doesn’t matter who the woman actually was in real life, because…
The person being accused here is you. That’s right. The reason we’re not given the true identity of this accused woman is so we can put ourselves in her place. You may have not blatantly committed this exact sin, but you have done something wrong.
We’ve all done some act of evil that will keep us from enjoying the experience of being in the presence of God when this life is over. It may be a lie told. You may have taken something you know wasn’t yours to have.
Each of us has done something wrong. It’s in our nature to do it. We’re born this way.
So, why am I being judged for something I can’t help?
Because God calls the shots and He can only allow perfect beings in His presence. Yeah, I know, it sounds hopeless for us; and it is…until…
Jesus steps in and gives us the only way into God’s presence. He’s the only person who never sinned yet He gives us a second chance. Just like this woman.
Jesus went even further by giving His own life up so we can come to God in a way that God acknowledges us as perfect.
All you need to do is admit your shortcomings and receive Jesus’ gift of grace offered to you.
I’ll see you later. Wade