Continuing on from yesterday's post with the story of the woman taken in adultery and brought before Jesus. He dealt with her accusers by simply asking that 'he who was without sin should throw the first stone'. Interestingly enough, he was the only one in the room who qualified and her accusers slunk out one by one until "Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst'.
I like to read that several ways. Jesus was left alone. Those who had been taunting him to make a theological decision, hoping to trap him into a choice that would give them a reason to accuse him, were suddenly accused within their own hearts. And they left him alone, the badgering stopped. They also left the scene....but the room was not empty. The woman was still there, standing in the midst. I think that meant that now she was surrounded by the disciples who had witnessed the whole thing.
Jesus had been stooping down, doodling in the dust, and now he 'lifted up himself'. He stood upright but he also continued to elevate his own thought about what was really going on and who was before him. He lifted up himself. Do we pause to do that when dealing with some situation? Perhaps we should. There she stood, probably shaken and shaking, from her ordeal, and her sudden recovery. She may have feared she would not have lived to see the next day. This man had saved her from an angry mob without lifting a finger.
I love what is recorded in John next: 'he saw none but the woman'. He saw that those others had left, but I also believed that as he looked at her he saw none but the perfect child of God, he was seeing her as God sees her. She certainly was not seeing herself in a good light at the moment. She would need some lifting up in her own thought. He asks her, "Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?" Saved by the Christ there are no accusers left, but now there needs to be no reason for condemnation.
One can only imagine what she must have thought as she looked at this man. She must have sensed the Christliness about him for she replies, "No man, Lord." She was not quite sure who and what he was but he seemed more than just a man to her. His reply to that was, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." She was saved, she was redeemed, her purity and dignity restored. Now she was to learn from this and not repeat the offense. What tenderness, what mercy, no lecture, no chastising, just pure love. Would she sin again? Probably not.
Do we? Have we ever been like the scribes and Pharisees, looking for a way to show up someone we think deserves it? Self-righteous? One who is without sin doesn't want to 'throw stones' or punish others. Have we ever been like the woman, doing something we know is not our highest sense of right? We can turn away from that behavior and act as the pure and perfect child of God.
He spoke to the men, he spoke to the woman, and he speaks to us...go, and sin no more,.