“Neither do I condemn you.” (John 8:11)
Could you imagine sitting in a courtroom listening to a criminal case and you hear all the witnesses and you observe all the evidence. With all you hear and see, there is no doubt in your mind that the accused is guilty, in fact the criminal was even caught in the act of committing the crime. But imagine how you would react that even with all the evidence and witnesses pointing to this person’s guilt, the judge decides to let the criminal go free? You would more than likely be horrified and angry!
Well, in John 8:1-11, this is exactly what Jesus does. There are some Pharisees and scribes who have caught a woman right in the middle of committing adultery and during the time of Jesus the Jewish Law allowed for stoning one to death for such a crime. As they begin to stone her they see Jesus and ask Him what He thinks should be done to the woman. But instead of answering their question, Jesus could see right through them, He knew all their sins and He flips the spotlight off of the condemned woman and turns it on them. “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7).
Those strong words serve as a reminder to each and everyone of us that we all are sinners. Just like the scribes and Pharisees we too can sometimes forget this very powerful and fundamental truth about ourselves. However, we all need to understand just how clear Jesus is about this woman, to Him she is just as precious and valuable to God as any of us are, there is no difference in His eyes. It is important to Jesus that He teaches us that she should be forgiven just as completely as we all have been. In His gracious and loving eyes there is absolutely no difference and there should never be any difference to us either.
It is God’s desire for us to treat everyone with the exact same dignity, honor and respect that His Son showed this very woman accused of adultery. We must listen to Jesus and instead of casting that first stone, He wants us to open up our arms. Instead of talking to Him about other people’s sins, He’d rather that we repent of our own sins. And instead of trying to trick Him like the Pharisees or look for loopholes in His loving commandments, He asks us to spend more of our time and energy trying to follow Him unconditionally and without question. This is simply the only way in which we are going to grow and prosper in our Lord.
After all, isn’t that what the Church is suppose to be all about? Forgiveness and growing closer as a member of the Family of God? The Church is not some club that only some people are invited to join. Everyone is warmly invited, should be invited in without question. Everyone in this world needs to be forgiven and they need healing whether they want to believe that or not. And this is exactly what Christ’s Church is all about and what it was created for. It is exactly what He came for!
So, even if we consider ourselves worthy or not of His endless love, we still need to come to the Lord and ask Him for a taste of His glorious mercy so we can then be better able to extend that incredible gift of His open heart to every person we meet, whether they are a saint or a sinner!
“Lord, give me a soft heart, just like Yours. You forgive all of my sins; help me to be just as generous as You are with showing mercy.”
Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62
Lord, open our eyes to our own sins and help us to humbly offer them up for Your forgiveness.
Help us to not be like the scribes and Pharisees grabbing stones to throw at those we feel have sinned.
Instead show us how to drop those stones and show compassion just as Jesus did.
Help us to understand that everyone in this world needs both forgiveness and healing, no matter who they are.