We are a society of judgement. We judge each other by first impressions…how they dress, carry themselves, the look in their eyes, the smile or lack of on their faces, the car they drive, they way they drive their car, the place they live, and the list goes on. We cry out, “Don’t judge me!”, but we, ourselves continue to judge. It seems that our nature, a sinful one, judges…without really trying. It comes natural to judge. Why? “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, declares Paul. Maybe it’s because judgement of others takes the heat or blimp of our sin off the radar for others to judge us. Mmm.
This next passage has many lessons for us if we read deeply and slowly. Every word has meaning and power for us NOW, where everyone is judging in rank order, the sins of the world. Let’s see how Jesus handled the sin situation that is brought out into the light of day.
John 8, The Message
8 1-2 Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.
3-6 The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.
6-8 Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
9-10 Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”
11 “No one, Master.”
“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”
We all wonder what Jesus, the all knowing Christ, was writing in the dirt…was a list of the sins of her accusers? Was it merely a diversion to throw them off? Was God saying something through the etched words in the dirt? We don’t know, but if we listened closely, we can almost hear the stones being dropped to the hard earth, one at a time. Judgement ceased for that moment in time.
The One who had all authority to judge “the living and the dead” said, “Neither do I condemn you.” But added….which many dismiss in this world…”Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.” In other words, stay out of these situations that bring You down, I love you too much for that. Focus on Me, the Giver of all Life.
This woman, used in physical ways, and now used as an object to bring down the Messiah to the low level of the religious leaders. Jesus levels the playing field, redeems her from death, and restores her to “go and sin no more”. God’s glory seen in this act of mercy and grace. Did she deserve it? Jesus, the Only One who may judge thought so. And aren’t we glad?
Do we deserve mercy and grace? No. But Jesus gives it freely because of His unconditional love. Can we drop the stones of judgement? That’s a question for each one of us to decide. Judgement stones are a heavy burden to carry…let them drop. Now. I repent and drop mine.
Dear Heavenly Father, This was difficult. We all judge. We all have no authority or right to judge. We are all sinners, saved only by your mercy and grace. May we live this day in gratitude and praise knowing that Truth well. Help us, Lord. Restore the joy of our salvation so others might see YOU in us. Help us to go and sin no more. Continue to be with us, Lord, as we navigate this journey here. In Jesus Name, Amen