New Creation Project
How they were caught is never revealed. But now that their illicit relationship served to advance the agenda of the religious elite, they were stalked and she was brought to justice. Her accomplice? Suspiciously absent.
Snatched from the arms of her lover, she stands terrified before a leering crowd. Her accusers grab stones. Tension drips like the threat of a midday monsoon.
How will the carpenter-turned-rabbi respond? Will he show compassion to the woman and break the religious law? Or will he enforce the law and let her die?
At first, ignoring them, he scratches the dirt with a stick. When they persist, he stands and says with a piercing look, “Let the one who is without sin throw the first stone.” He returns to his stick drawing.
The crowd holds its collective breath. One by one the religionists drop their weapons and back away. When he looks up again, he and the woman are alone.
“Where are your accusers?” he asks. “Does no one condemn you?”
“No one, sir,” she answers.
“I don’t condemn you either. Go, and leave your life of sin.”
Religion says, “Change your ways and God will forgive you.”
Jesus says, “I forgive you; go and change your ways.”
Religion says, “If you don’t measure up, God will condemn you.”
Jesus says, “You can’t measure up. Admit it and I will accept you.”
Religion says, “Here’s what you must do to get right with God.”
Jesus says, “Here’s what I’ve done to make you right with God.”
The Woman? She thought her sin would be her death sentence. Instead, face to face with both Jesus and her sin, she received forgiveness and a new life. She came into his presence trembling and ashamed; she left him forgiven and free.
The Religionists? They thought their beliefs gave them the right to condemn others. Instead, face to face with both Jesus and their self-righteousness, they received a powerful lesson in humility. They came to him accusing and confident; they backed away ashamed and humiliated.
The Crowd? They thought they would see a public lynching. Instead, they witnessed new life born right before their eyes. They discovered that the safest place for sinners is right in the presence of Jesus.