“When Jesus had lifted up Himself and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, ‘Woman, where are those your accusers? Has no man condemned you?’ She said, ‘No man, Lord.’ And Jesus said unto her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more’.”
When the Law accuses and condemns, Christ atones and converts.
They must have been lying-in-wait for her—those “straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel” scribes and Pharisees (Mt. 23:24), for the guilty woman in today’s Manna had been taken “in the very act of adultery” (Jn. 8:3-4).
Perhaps she was a wanton woman—the community “sleep around.”
Or, maybe this was the first time she, like King David, had given in to her illicit passions and thrown caution to the wind.
Regardless, she’d been caught. Right there in bed with another man. And, like a conquering king parading his “spoils of war” through the streets after his triumphal return home, the scribes and Pharisees brought her to Jesus as “Exhibit A.”
They didn’t care about her; neither did they care about Jesus.
They only wanted to trap Him in one of their wicked webs and prove that He was an imposter.
So, what did they do? They turned to the Scriptures—the Law of Moses—and quoted from Lev. 20:10 and Dt. 22:22 as to what should be done. If He said “Stone her,” He’d appear to be contradicting His Message of Love and Forgiveness. If He said, “Leave her alone,” He’d be guilty of being in opposition to the Law.
“We’ve got Him this time!” they probably thought within themselves.
But, such was not to be.
Instead, Jesus “stooped down and began writing on the ground with his finger, acting as if He’d not heard them” (v.6). Then, when they continued their incessant, insistent questioning, He “lifted Himself up and said, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her’ and then resumed writing on the ground” (vv.7-8).
Interestingly, each one—some, probably with rocks already clutched in their hateful hands—was “convicted by his own conscience and went out one by one, beginning at the eldest even unto the youngest” (v.9a), dropping their stones as they left.
What a tender moment then ensued.
Here, this meeting of Light and darkness. . .Heaven and hell. . .Perfect Holiness and sinful depravity. . .standing Face-to-face. And, what tender words emerged from His lips: “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?”
And, with tears flowing down her shame-filled face and downcast eyes, she whispered “No man, Lord.” It was at this point that our Merciful Master then said “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more (in the way you were sinning)”—i.e., quit committing adultery and live a holy life. Is that not really when the song “Amazing Grace” was born? Glory!! May we live in that Grace today and seek opportunities to extend it to others who are struggling with sin.
August 9, 2011