JOHN 8:10-11: “When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (NKJV)
OBSERVATION: Am I more like the scribes and the Pharisees than like Jesus? This question alone make me very uncomfortable, because it forces me to look in the mirror, or in context of the verses being considered, to read the handwriting in the sand. So many times I think this account of the woman caught in adultery is misunderstood. It has as much to do with the scribes and the Pharisees as it does the woman. And it has everything to do with my heart and attitude toward others.
As we walk with Jesus Christ and enjoy the wonderful benefit of being forgiven and made a child of God, we may begin to take this position of grace and mercy for granted. Somewhere along the line we begin to think that we had something to do with the transformation that has taken place. When this happens, we are setting ourselves up for heading down the path of the scribes and Pharisees. It is easy to begin to compartmentalize and judge others from their outward appearances, and never take into consideration their heart, and even as important – our heart!
This encounter has as much, if not more to do with Jesus’ attitude toward judging others than it does with His compassion for the lost. Jesus was always filled with compassion and longsuffering for the lost. Yet, He was quick to point out and expose religious hypocrisy and a false sense of judgment. There is no pass for sin in this encounter with the woman caught in adultery. Jesus tells her pointedly – “Go and sin no more.” Sin was sin. The woman sinned. However, sin was overcome with mercy and forgiveness. This was what the scribes and Pharisees failed to possess in their attitude toward the woman.
What is the heart of this attitude? It is the inability to remember that we too are sinners saved by grace. It is easy to shout and proclaim – “I am the righteousness of God in Christ!” While this is true, it is also equally as true that – “But by the Grace of God , go I.” When we begin to pass final judgment upon others because they are fallen in sin, or simply because they do not “get it” like we do, we are walking down the pathway of the scribes and Pharisees. The very heart of wanting to stone this woman was to deny her the opportunity to respond to the grace and mercy of God. It did not flow out of a heart of compassion and humility, it flowed from a heart filled with denial and self righteousness.
In a culture that is rapidly becoming less and less of anything Christian it is easy for us to enter this pathway. We get upset and judgmental about the color of a Starbucks cup, and we forget the heart and need of the lost. It is not cups Jesus came to save, but hearts He came to redeem. When I become so convinced of my own righteousness that I become blind to my past and my present human weaknesses, I have left the pathway of grace and mercy. Jesus never lowered the standard of righteousness, He never winked at sin. What Jesus did do is call sinners to repentance and salvation. This was something the scribes and Pharisees were unable and unwilling to do, and something that we must do if we are to name the name of Christ!
Lord, this morning I choose to drop the stone that is in my hand. Yet, by the Grace of God, I also choose not to walk away. I ask You to grant me the grace and compassion to turn towards the lost in this world with Your heart, with Your love, and with Your call. As one beggar who has found the bread of life, may I freely extend it to others in love and without judgment. May You pour out Your Holy Spirit and set me free and those who hear and embrace Your Gospel of Life!
In Jesus Name!