Caught but Not Condemned

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They caught her right in the middle of sex and dragged her out into the public light. The people ridiculed her, judged her, and condemned her to death. The Law stood. And the Law said adultery deserved death, by stoning. The community rallied around, picking up large stones ready to hurl at her until she would breathe her last breath. The religious leaders, those chosen to teach and uphold the law –they dragged her out. They dragged her right before Jesus.

Like this woman, we get caught. We try to find love, in all the wrong places –places other than God. We make choices, trying to find contentment, and later find ourselves flailing in regret. Sometimes we get back up and try again, only to fall harder. It is here, that these hard places have a way of placing us before Jesus too.

“Teacher,” the religious leaders said addressing Jesus. “This woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:4-5)

This group of leaders came not for guidance, nor out of grief over this woman’s sin, her heartbreak, or her immanent death. They came to test Jesus, desiring to accuse Him.

“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’” (John 8:6-7)

Maybe these religious leaders thought Jesus would condemn her. Maybe this woman thought she was one word away from a rock hitting her head. We too tend to think coming to Jesus means condemnation and shame. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Jesus did not come to point the finger at us. He did not come to yell about how wrong we live and to slam the Bible in our faces. He did not come in order to guilt us into goodness. God sent Jesus because He saw an opportunity for grace.

One by one, beginning with the older, down to the younger, the crowd left.

Jesus, bent over, finally stood up from writing again in the sand.

“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir.”

“’Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” (John 8:10-11)

God sent Jesus not to condemn, but to save. To save us from our broken choices, from our failed attempts at goodness, from our sins that separate us from God now and from Him forever in hell.

Jesus offered outrageously beautiful grace to an adulterous woman, and He offers that same grace to us today. Will we admit our sin and failure, and accept this grace?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16

Bible Study Resource:

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