With so much disdain, they shoved her down before him, the one that they called Master in public, but the Threat, in private. They hated him more than her. They hated him more than what they caught her doing.
They had just dragged her away, hastily ripping the two lovers apart from each other. From that first moment when they burst in, fear and remorse engulfed her.
Nothing made sense. She wanted to explain. What were they going to do with her lover? Why wasn’t he being taken too? She fought hard to put her thoughts in order. Where were they taking her?
Wave after wave of regret crashed down upon her fragile soul.
Still indecent and disheveled they threw her down at his feet and spat the words. At him.
Master, we caught her. We walked right in on her cheating. She’s supposed to be stoned. What do you think we should do? (John 8:4-5)
She dare not speak, but within, she begged for mercy. She longed to be forgiven. She longed to be free.
She never considered the consequences when the flirting began. She never thought about the other lives that would be ruined. All she saw was her lover’s attention.
The desire for immediate satisfaction shouted down all caution about what might happen if they were caught.
The law says that she’s got to be put to death. Judge her. Tell us what do.
Silence. Slow and deliberate. He knelt, ignoring them. He wanted to know about her. In her eyes he saw fear and pain. Sorrow. Shame.
Through the tears, she noticed him writing something in the dirt, as they insisted…
Should we stone her? Should we?
Accusers are always persistent, but Mercy is patient. Long-suffering.
Finally, he rose, looked at the mob and spoke.
He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. (John 8:7)
He was ready to answer. He was ready to give them his mind about the matter, but he asked one thing first: let all of those without sin rare back and let her have it. Then he would answer.
The leader, the oldest and wisest of the group, looked at Jesus, looked at the ground and opened his hand to let the jagged stone fall to the dust. He couldn’t. He knew that his heart was just as filthy.
The memory of our own sins should be a sufficient deterrent against judgment of others.
If it’s not, we better start remembering before we start casting stones. If it’s not, we should begin to question our understanding of grace. If it’s not, we should begin to question our understanding of forgiveness.
So, he turned and walked off. His conscience cutting far deeper than any stone possibly could.
But his conscience didn’t bring him to grace. Rather than bring him to the Lord, it stopped short.
Man’s conscience is able to convict of sin. But it’s not able to transform him into the image of Christ. Neither is it able to liberate him from the present or future power of sin. Without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the conviction of conscience is incomplete.
The thud of rocks falling to the ground grew louder as the mob grew smaller and smaller until the last one, the youngest among them, finally let go of his anger and walked away in shame.
There she remained, alone with the man that had just saved her life. Before she could thank him, the question came.
Where did they all go? Did not at least one of them condemn you?
No man, Lord.
Neither do I. Go and sin no more. (John 8:10-11)
When there is no condemnation of sin, there is the presence of a command to live a holy life.
By mercy, the Lord spared her life. Through grace, he gave her a new one.
“Thank you, Lord for not condemning me when for so long I deserved it. Thank you, Lord for giving me a new life in You. Thank you for power to walk in that new life with You. I praise you today because I know that my life is no longer defined by sin, but by your grace and your love for me. Thank you for becoming my sin on the cross, even when you knew no sin. Let me ever remember that I have no condemnation in you. Help me to ever walk after Your Spirit. Amen.”