I guess you’re familiar with the story of a woman caught in the act of adultery.
If not, open your bible or your bible app to John 8:1-11.
1. What did Jesus say?
“Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law of Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?” (v.4)
What did Jesus say?
Jesus said nothing. What does that tell us? It tells us that Jesus is slow to speak, He is not quick to judge. While the rest of the crowd may have been shouting to stone her, Jesus kept silent and said nothing.
After Jesus learned of this truth, Jesus did not go to other Christians saying:
“Hey, let’s pray for her. She needs help because she has committed adultery”
Jesus did not gossip in any holy way possible. He didn’t talk about it to others. Instead, what was the first thing Jesus do after He said nothing?
2. What did Jesus do?
2.A. Jesus bent down before the accused
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. (v.6)
Jesus bent down. It’s really beautiful. How I imagined this scene being played out is a woman standing before Jesus with her head looking down in shame and yet, what did Jesus do?
He bent down.
Why did He bend down?
So that the woman might see Him.
What does sin do?
It causes us to look down in shame, it lets us focus on the things we have done, it condemns us, it makes us not want to draw near to God. Sin makes us think we are beyond grace.
Maybe that’s why He bent down. Jesus lowered Himself down to a level where the woman could see that He did not look at her with lofty eyes. He wanted to show the one that He did not condemn her.
2.B. Jesus stood up before the accuser
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (v.7)
Now, notice who came to Jesus bringing the woman. The bible stated that they were the Scribes and the Pharisees, people in position, individuals respected for their knowledge of the laws and the scriptures. These were people deemed righteous in the society.
Jesus could have chosen to speak to the men without standing up but He did! He stood up before them and spoke! Why did He have to stand up?
When the Scribes and Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus, I bet they were confident in their own skins. Maybe they thought to themselves:
“I’m better than her. I didn’t do the wrong she has done.”
Jesus stood up because it was a way to get the attention of those whose heads are held high. They forgot their need of grace.
Jesus sees our hearts. What was in the hearts of accusers? Pride. Pride in the “holy” things they have done, pride in their “clean” record. However, what does the bible say?
as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one” – Romans 3:10
No one is righteous, no not one! Not even the Scribes and Pharisees themselves. They may have done good things, they may be theologically wise, they may have been seen serving the Lord in different ways possible but they are not perfect. At some point, they too have sinned. Maybe not in actions but in motives, they may be wrong by heart.
When their eyes were on Jesus, what were the words that came out of His mouth?
“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (v.7)
What did Jesus just do there?! He allowed them to question and reflect on their own hearts. Jesus was merciful towards them.
Jesus revealed Himself to the woman to show her that He gives grace.
He revealed Himself to the Scribes, Pharisees and to the crowd to humble the pride in their hearts.
And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. (v.8)
Once again, Jesus bent down. What is the implication?
After revealing to the crowd the depravity of their hearts, they must have started to see their own dirt. They must have started to look down and focus on their mistakes. So Jesus showed Himself to the crowd, to once again let them know He does not condemn them.
In situations wherein sinners start to look at their dirt, Jesus tells them to fix their eyes on Him.
I don’t know how those actions spoke to you. I don’t know what Jesus is trying to reveal to you but allow me to share to you what He spoke to me. He tells me that every single time I focus on my sins, He tells me to look at Him.
He tells me to take a glance back at the cross and see what He has accomplished for me,
That debt that cost a life was paid for by Jesus, Himself.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:17
Again, this is how the Lord spoke to me. I don’t know what His actions may have truly signified but this is the message the Lord has given me in this devotional.
But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. (v.9)
At that very moment, everyone in the crowd was the woman herself. Guilty and bound for judgment. Just like the woman, they were all targets of the very stones they were holding.
What did they do? They left! Why did they leave? Because just as the woman was sinful, so were they. It’s really sad how we forget to look at our own dirt and easier for us to see someone else’s mistakes.
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. – Matthew 7:5
Jesus was gracious to the proud by revealing to them their hearts. They left with a choice to make a response. I’ve always wondered how the crowd, Scribes and Pharisees included, felt after they went away. Did it cause them to be on their knees and confess or did they continue to point their fingers at someone?
4. Sin no more.
Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (v. 10-11)
Go and from now on sin no more.
Isn’t that beautiful?! Imagine this! The woman was sure that at that moment, her life could have ended. She could have been stoned to death. Come on?! Okay, put yourself in the woman’s shoes.
Here you are, fresh from being caught in committing adultery. You are bound for judgment. You are about to face death. You know that this is the end of the line for you.
But then, there’s this man. You expect him to have you stoned to death but what does he say? He tells you to go and to sin no more.
Wait, wait, wait. She’s free to go?! She should be dead! She committed a crime!
But this is the hope we have received from Christ. You and I are no longer bound by our sins. He has freed us from it. In Him is new life! The old has gone and the new has come.
Leave your life of sin and live the life He has given you.
A life of freedom, a chance to become new, to turn away from your shame.
Remember, death was your fate but Jesus gave you a chance to live. What are you gonna do with that life? Will you spend it by continually playing in your mud of sin? Will you live it by constantly pointing fingers at others?
In this new life we have been given, let us choose to follow Jesus’ example. He gave grace to both the lost and proud the same.
He did not choose to look at the lost with lofty, judgmental eyes. Instead, He looked at them with eyes that says: “I do not condemn you.”. He welcomed the rejected.
Jesus confronted the proud with gracious words. He did not allow them to go on being deceived by all their good works and good records. He humbled the proud by humbly speaking to them.
Let us always remember to look at Jesus, never at ourselves. Not on our works, whether it be good or bad.
May the church be a place for the misfits, not a crib for the proud.
In a world encapsulated by darkness, Jesus bent down by giving up a life of glory in Heaven, coming down on earth to walk His way to Calvary, bearing a cross He did not own that we may see Him, that we may find hope.