So I was reading in John (fourth book of the New Testament) and one of the accounts of Jesus and the adultress struck me differently than it has in the past. I’ve heard the story a million times; I’ve read it, read about it and heard it preached about, but for some reason this is the first time that it really struck me as a show of God’s ultimate grace, undeserved by us, yet freely given.
For those of you who may not be familiar with stories from the Bible, the story goes like this:
Jesus was teaching as he often did, when the Scribes and Pharisees (i.e. the guys always trying to catch Jesus in some kind of trap in order to discredit and get rid of him) brought before Jesus a woman caught in adultery. They said that according the Law, she should be stoned and asked Jesus what he thought about the whole thing. As far as I can tell from commentary reading, the trap was this: If Jesus said, “Stone her! It’s the Law!” he would have been caught in the trap of not knowing the law fully, because according to the Law there had to be a certain amount of witnesses and the man as well as the woman were to be stoned if the sin met the qualification for capital punishment. If Jesus said, “No, don’t stone her!” the Scribes and Pharisees could have used that against him, saying that he really didn’t care about God’s law and wasn’t qualified to teach the people.
Anyhoo, Jesus begins to draw in the dirt with his finger, kind of ignoring their question, and when they snap their fingers and ask him again, he says this: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” With that, starting with the oldest, each of the Scribes and Pharisees left, leaving the woman there. Jesus then asks the woman, “Is no one willing to condemn you?” She says no, and then Jesus sends her on her way, saying “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on, sin no more.”
Now, previously, I’ve heard this story in relation to judgment and so on, and it is a good reminder of the value of forgiveness among each other and that when we make mistakes, there is grace for us. However, today, when I read this story, it hit me differently, and here’s how: Jesus was qualified to stone the woman. He was the only one qualified to judge her harshly, and yet he gave her grace.
The reason that touched me was that it made me consider the relationship Jesus has given me with him and each one of us who follows him. It’s not as though he were simply a judge and jury and decided to forgive me based on some kind of evidence or because I was good enough or because he thought it would be a good idea to cut me a break. He is qualified and able and would be perfectly justified in condemning me, as he would have been with the alduterous woman, but instead he died for me and intercedes for me now so that I can recieve grace!
I’m so grateful, and I’m glad for the reminder of all that Christ has done for me. I don’t normally write about my devotionals, as this blog is not necessarily for that purpose, but I wanted to share because of how much God’s love and grace means to me.
This is my last week of online classes for the semester, so I should be able to get back to posting regularly soon!