In my groggy state, I tried to read the time off my grandfather’s large and old pendulum clock which sat on the floor of the living room while I dragged my tired body to the armchair. I had my grandfather’s big black bible in my armpit. It was 5:30 AM, probably too early to meet Jesus but well, I could not sleep. I had been tossing in bed for the past hour. I could not help but think it was because I used the bible as a pillow. Silly me. So with a big yawn I opened the bible, half glad my imagination was still snoring in bed; no disturbance today.
Oh, hey, see who was already in the temple courts!
He was teaching the people who had gathered around him. Soon, the teachers of the law and the pharisees brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Man, these guys did not play around; early morning justice? It was dawn for meditation and planning sake but of course anything to trick Jesus Christ.
“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They inquired.
I looked at Jesus. How would he get out of this? Would he fall for the bait? If he said go on and stone the woman, they would accuse him of rebelling against roman authority. If he said otherwise, they would accuse him of being unpatriotic. What a dicey situation! Jesus bent and wrote on the ground with his finger.
What on earth could he be writing? Well, he actually wrote on the earth, only I could never know.
Since justice had to be served, I picked two stones from an uncompleted building site nearby. Oh sorry, we were in a temple court so there could be no uncompleted building. That could only mean one thing; I lifted my head to see my imagination standing in the doorway. He was wide awake. I sighed and ignored him. It was too early to pick a fight with him so I would gently strike through the ‘uncompleted building’ statement. However, I still could not resist the urge to pick up a stone. I drew closer to the scene.
Upon insistent questioning Jesus rose to speak, “Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.“
That was so unexpected.
He stooped down again to write on the ground with his finger.
The mob began thinning, older ones first till no one was left but Jesus and the woman…and I. I was definitely not going anywhere. How else could I have written this firsthand experience just for you? Yeah, you could have read it in your bible. Anyways, I had to see how things turned out.
Jesus straightened himself and asked the woman, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?“
“No one, sir”
“Then neither do I condemn you, Go now and leave your life of sin.“
Interesting. I was so bewildered at the turn of events, I dropped the stone I picked earlier which surprising burst at my feet. Water splashed all over the carpet. I had been holding a sachet of water all along. I really had to get some sleep.
Back to compassionate and loving Jesus. We are usually quick to condemn others for their wrongdoing and mistakes but Jesus Christ, the giver and interpreter of scripture and law upon which we base our flawed righteousness did the unexpected. He chose mercy and grace.
This is similar to the first experience of sinful man. In Justice, man has to be condemned. In mercy, God withholds the well-deserving, ultimate punishment until Jesus takes man’s place. In love, God draws man to the cross. By grace, we are saved and have the authority to live as sons of God and Satan, the accuser of the brethren has no say whatsoever.
By the law of grace and mercy, Jesus does not condemn the adulterous woman but it does not end there, she has to leave her life of sin. She has to shun her old ways – adultery. Love, grace and mercy have a peculiar way of correcting wrong, don’t you think?
I do not know what the woman will do in repentance. Maybe break up with the man? What about any case of pregnancy or heartbreak? She still will have to make things right – do it Jesus’ way.
Jesus’ words still echo strongly in those situations we find ourselves wanting, “I do not condemn you, Go and leave your life of sin.”
I closed the bible and headed back to the bedroom with a heart full of gratitude.
“Thank you Jesus, although you do not ignore my sin, you are able to dismiss it because you readily addressed it on the cross and in your resurrection and set me on a path where I can forever please you. I am sorry I ever hurt you but I will also need your grace to continue on this path…the path which leads away from my sins.”
“Now, what sins do I have to leave behind?” I asked myself as I laid on my bed.
Scriptures (NLT, ESV) John 8:1-11 Featured image credit: Google images