Stoning A Woman To Death

11/13/2007

You feel shame. Burning, hot shame. The shame of cheating on your husband, and the shame of being caught. The shame of being dragged by the Pharisees into the temple and having your wickedness exposed for all to see. The Pharisees encircle you, like ravenous wolves surrounding a wounded animal. They stab their fingers at you and level accusation after shameful accusation. They don't want your repentance, they want your blood. They have brought you before a teacher named Jesus, and they are requesting your execution.

You will die, you feel quite certain of that. You have broken the sacred laws of God, and the penalty for such a transgression is death by stoning. Your death will not be a noble one. It will be a shameful, brutal, excruciating death, as the life is slowly beaten out of your body one stone at a time. Your case is hopeless. You're an adulterer, and adulterers die by the rock. You're getting what you deserve.

But then the unexpected happens. Instead of demanding your immediate death, as he should have, Jesus bends down and begins to write in the dirt. You're perplexed, the Pharisees are perplexed, no one knows what is happening.

The Pharisees raise their voices once again, asking Jesus to order your execution. Jesus stands up, and the Pharisees get a glimpse of the writing on the ground. Their eyes widen, their jaws drop. Then Jesus speaks: "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." Jesus resumes writing on the ground. The Pharisees begin to look at the ground and shuffle their feet nervously. All accusations have stopped and silence reigns supreme.

Then, to your astonishment, the crowd begins to disperse. The older Pharisees leave first, each with a look of guilt on his face. The rest of the Pharisees follow suit, and soon you are left alone with the man called Jesus. Yet you are still afraid. This man is not like the rest. He is without sin, he has the right to pick up the first stone. But then he looks at you, and in his glance you see not fierce anger, but tender mercy.

He asks you a question: "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one Lord," you reply.

"Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more." Your heart bursts with joy! You are not condemned. You have been given mercy, you have been spared from the terrible punishment that you deserve. How merciful is this man Jesus! At that moment you resolve to follow this man for the rest of your days. You've received much mercy from God, and so you will love God deeply. And you'll always give thanks to God for the day you met Jesus, the King of Mercy. [Taken from John 8:1-8]

***

You and I are no different from the adulterous woman. We deserve to be condemned for our sins, yet we've received the extravagant mercy of Jesus. We must lift our voices in praise to this merciful savior! Today let your heart be filled with gratefulness to God for the mercy you've received.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM  

3 comments:

You know what amazes me? Jesus was the sinless one. And yet he refuses to cast a stone, but forgives. How amazing is that?

Our God, who could kill us where we stand for the sins we have committed and be perfectly right in doing so, doesn't condemn, but forgives, and then gives us the grace to live lives that are pleasing to him! Talk about amazing grace!

Brando said...
November 13, 2007 at 6:09 PM  

Brando,

I agree! How amazing it is that Jesus, the One who hates sin the most, doesn't condemn us. Grace is truly amazing...

November 14, 2007 at 3:36 PM  

What a beautiful picture of Christ's mercy. He was the only one who had never sinned, and yet He did not cast a stone on this woman.

November 14, 2007 at 6:38 PM  

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