The Woman In Adultery
There’s an account in the New Testament, in the book of John, chapter eight, of a woman caught in adultery. Jesus’ response to her is so epic that it challenges the collective conscience of the group of religious authorities of His time.
She was literally caught in adultery. No mention was made of the man with whom she was caught in adultery. This is a testament to how the religious folks of Jesus’ time went against God’s laws and discriminated in their practice of the law.
She was placed before Jesus as a test. “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
The account shows that Jesus does not give an immediate response. He occupies Himself with some scribbling or writing on the ground. Then He looks up after being pestered some more, and tells them the now well known statement: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
No one does. They all exit the scene one after the other, and the woman is left alone.
He asks her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one sir,” she replies.
“Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Jesus could have picked up the stone. He was without sin, but chose instead not to condemn her. The punishment was justified according to the law, but Christ stepped in. He stepped in for the woman caught in adultery. He stepped in for all humanity.
Dread, humiliation, anxiety. These must have all been running through her mind as the religious people dragged her from her moment of passion. Who was she? What prompted her into this act? Lust? Desperation?
And then her life must have flashed before her eyes. “I’m going to die a horrible death,” she must have thought.
People must have gathered in droves. They must have jeered. There must have been some blood lust in the air. This sinful woman was going to get it.
Then Jesus by His simple statement, takes away any sense of right the spectators might have had. They were no better than she.
Had she heard about Jesus before that moment? The words “my saviour!” must have come to mind. And indeed Jesus was. Jesus is.
“Go and sin no more.”
Could she by any chance have had the audacity to beg God in her possibly final moments for one last chance? Maybe she did. Maybe she didn’t. Maybe she wanted to. Whatever it was, God did save her. He didn’t condemn her.
The Bible says this of God: “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) But the following verses go on to speak about a day, or a time God has reserved for judgement. When that time comes, no one would be ever be able to call God unjust. He is the perfection of patience and mercy, and He says to each of us, “turn back, daughter. Turn back today.”
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3: 17-19 NIV)
That was Christ’s message to the woman caught in adultery, and it’s His message to us. Turn back now. I do not condemn you. Leave your life of sin.
“for Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10: 13 NIV)
I have a feeling that the woman caught in adultery called on the Name of the Lord after that. It’s very likely she became one of the women who followed Jesus. After all, she would love more because she was forgiven more (refer to the parable of the tow debtors as found in Luke 7: 36-50).
Can you relate to this woman? Have you ever wanted a second, third, one billionth chance to meet up with God’s standard of righteousness? Jesus’ gospel, His good news, offers you that chance today. Repent of your sins and put your trust in the only One who can save you.
Peace to you!