I’ve spoken on several occasions but I can’t imagine what it was like being in the middle of a message when a group of local pastors drag a despised woman in front of a speaker and asked if they should stone her (story found in John 8).
Their treatment of the woman was callous and demeaning. They should have had her partner there too, but they didn’t really want justice, they wanted to trap Jesus. Would he condemn her and agree that she should be stoned or would he violate the rarely enforced law and say that she should be let go?
In true Jesus fashion, He turns the situation around on them. He writes something in the dust that changes everything. Their demeanor shifts and instead of harsh judgment condemning the woman, they turn and, one by one, walk away. Don’t you wish you knew what he wrote? There is much speculation but we’ll never know for certain. One thing we can be sure of, it affected each of them personally and instantly altered their attitudes.
Her accusers are gone. As Augustine says, “The two were left alone, misera et misericordia.”
Translated: “a wretched woman and Mercy.”
Makes you pause, doesn’t it? We know Jesus was full of mercy but when He becomes Mercy, it unveils Him in another light and puts my knees to the ground.
Jesus stood there with her as the only one fully qualified to cast the first stone but refused to respond in human nature and instead poured mercy on her torn soul.
Why do we assume so often that God is the one holding the stones when He so clearly showed that given the opportunity and justification to throw them…He won’t?
Not at her, not at me, and not at you.
Sweet woman…the stones are cold: don’t warm them with your own hands. Leave them on the ground where Jesus did. Receive the mercy and love that He holds out to you today. Forgive yourself.
She was guilty of sin, but He pardoned her. And He pardons us today.
Stop rehearsing the sins of the past. You are forgiven. Go and sin no more, with His love motivating each step. Put one foot in front of another like a toddler learning to walk with His gentle hands at our sides to lean on when we lose our way.
John 8:7 “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Put the stones down and walk away from the mirror, ladies. Thankfully, none of us are even qualified to throw them.