John 8.1-11. John, 37
Have you ever done something you would not
want anyone to know about?
That’s the case with this woman caught in the act. Her story has something to say to us about our personal freedom.
Consider with me again the apostle's words from John eight: Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 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?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 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. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, 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.” Jn. 8.2-11
In “A Contest of Wit vs. Wisdom,” I called the woman Reason – a reason for the Jewish leaders to trap Jesus in the crosshairs of Jewish law and Roman rule. He had to say ‘stone her’ as the Law required, but the Jews were forbidden to do so under the Roman government.
Jesus offers another way ~ the way of grace.
Could I have your attention, please?
What if you were Reason, cast on the ground,
literally in front of God and everyone,
your sin exposed for all, waiting for your sentencing,
sure of your own guilt?
And then, you cannot believe your ears as you hear Jesus say, ‘Neither do I condemn you, go your way and stop sinning.’ After you collapse with shuddering relief, even your shoulders on the ground … you would eventually have to pick yourself up and walk away. How then would you live?
For surely, I am that woman. There are times when my sins, shortcomings, failings, ‘should haves’, ‘ought-to-haves’, and general self-centeredness have dashed me to the ground, until I wonder how I will get off the ground . . . how do I get up and accept the grace of Jesus Christ? Hmmm.
There is nothing in this whole world as sweet or amazing
as the grace of God.
One day in Heaven we can ask Reason how she got up, went her way and stopped sinning, for surely she did! For now, we can just imagine that she slowly looked up at this loving Rabbi who spared her from death. Maybe Jesus reached out a hand and helped her up … maybe not, because rabbis were forbidden to touch women, (but then Jesus wasn’t much for manmade rules). Then she probably looked rather long in his face, and turned and ran from the Temple courtyard. Upon arriving home, she stripped soiled sheets to wash them and bleach them in the Eastern sun … eager for a clean bed on which to lie, symbolic for her life.
And then Reason set her course to walk in grace. She prayed the prayer she knew from her youth, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”* She chose to walk a new way when she went to the market to avoid temptation; she chose to think on that which filled her mind with good and right things and . . . and, she prayed again! After all, Reason was a new woman, her sins had been forgiven and she was free to begin anew.
What’s your guilt? Reason just showed you how to be made new in the grace of God. Confess your sin. Turn from it. Accept God’s forgiveness and begin each new day, walking in the freedom of God’s grace—a new creature, guilty no longer. Simply the best.
Let your guilt go . . . give it to God.