Monday, April 4, 2011
In this week's Bible Lesson we have the eye witness account from John of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery. The scribes and Pharisees were determined to undermine this man who was going around doing good and healing. They attempted to trap him in a situation that would make him look bad no matter how he answered. To accomplish this they caught a woman in the act of committing adultery. So this was premeditated on their part. Only the woman was brought before him for judgement although the man was equally at fault and by their own law should have been judged as well. They point out what Moses says in their 613 laws, that she should be stoned to death and ask what he feels should be her punishment. Should he show mercy he would be defying Moses. Jesus refuses to get into an arguement with them and stoops down to write in the dust, ignoring them. But they persist. At this point he lifts himself up, stands upright and gives his answer: he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. Brilliant. One by one, being convicted in their own heart, they leave. I notice that Jesus took time before he responded. I believe he was praying about how to handle these men and their vindictive behavior. He may have then been doodling the names of sins in the dust. Those seeing that knew that Jesus was aware of their sins. Just as he was aware of the woman's sin. But he did not expose them openly, they convicted themselves as sinners. I love the fact that 'Jesus was left alone', they stopped badgering him. This is an important lesson for us when we feel like we are being put on the spot by those who would judge and condemn us. Jesus didn't argue and neither should we. Jesus took a moment to pray so he could respond instead of reacting. When he did, he did not turn around and treat them with contempt or anger, he just let God touch their hearts. What about the woman? Her actions, which she might have thought were undetected, had been publicly exposed. Jesus had lifted himself, phycially and more importantly metaphysically, above that confrontation. Now he would lift her as well. When 'he saw none but the woman', he saw nothing but the woman's true identity as a pure and sinless child of God, he asked her where her accusers were, did no one accuse her. She says 'no man' and calls him Lord. He tells her that he does not accuse her either but that she is to go and sin no more. What a saw this morning was that not only was that woman the object of this incident but Jesus himself was being accusing by those men. His handling of the situation left him untouched by their malice as he lifted himself above it and then lifted the woman as well. An important story for all of us.Their sin was uncovered, her sin was uncovered, but all learned something from this and left humbled and chastened without bloodshed. Their conspiracy had failed. As will all attempts of evil fail before the purity and power of good.