Saturday, March 21, 2015

Will Jesus Throw a Stone at the Adulterous Woman? (Maybe. Maybe Not. Only If You Know)

Jesus was in the Temple. “The religious scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?’ They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him” (John 8:3-6, The Message).

They want to trap Jesus. They had caught a woman committing adultery and they wanted to know what Jesus would do. By the way, where was the man who committed adultery with the woman? Get away freely? Controversy. Just like today’s controversy. Another story. But now, how would Jesus treat such a foul sinner? What would Jesus do?

The Scripture says, “Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him” (John 8:6-7, Msg). I suspect, there was a long silence while Jesus looked at the ground and doodled his finger in the dust. They repeated their question (so annoying!) and eventually Jesus “straightened up and said, ‘The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.’ Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt” (John 8:7-8, Msg). Or if you like ESV translation, Jesus simply said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Very clear and direct. What was their response to Jesus’ challenge? Well, “hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone” (8:9, Msg). Now, since Jesus is the most qualified Man on earth to throw a stone at her, what would Jesus do next? Do you think Jesus would do it? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe if you know Jesus, you already know the answer…

Jesus stood up and spoke to her, “’Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?
No one, Master.’ ‘Neither do I,’ said Jesus” (John 8:10-11, Msg). What is happening here? This is how I see the situation, that: judgment and punishment belong to God – and before Him all men and women are equally guilty. That was why everyone starting with the oldest ones walked away. The accusers were accused! They understood it! Do we? Understand this, in the light of God’s holiness nobody can classified one person as good and another as bad, because all people are equally sinful in the face of God’s absolute perfection, and all are in equal need of His forgiveness. Everyone need God’s forgiveness through faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. ALL.

This woman, though she had committed a terrible sin, was no worse in God’s eyes than any of the religious leaders who were condemning her. In God’s eyes, sin is sin. There is no small or big sin – just sin. That mean, she was also no more sinner than anyone of us since everyone sin against God (no need Bible verses here. We know it alright). But in God’s grace and mercy, Jesus didn’t pick up a stone. Jesus didn’t asked her if she was sorry. Jesus didn’t say that his love is conditional. Jesus told her that he didn’t condemn her. Jesus only told her, “Go on your way.” Jesus, after his words of forgiveness, he told her, “From now on, don’t sin” (John 8:11, Msg). Jesus as Son of God, with authority, forgive her.

Ah, Jesus = Forgiveness. Mind you, forgiveness is not a reward offered to those who promise not to sin anymore or who have stopped sinning. Forgiveness is not given to those who feel sorry and hope to be good. Forgiveness is God’s unconditional grace to sinners. Forgiveness is through repentance and faith in Christ’s work on the cross for us. So, it is natural and expected – out of gratitude – that we should show our love in our actions, with new behaviour and lifestyle. Jesus says to us, “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.” Don’t go back sinning the way you were before. Move on with Christ in you. You’re forgiven sinners.

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