So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” – The words of Jesus Christ found in John 8:7. –
I am always somewhat cautious when writing about Jesus. I am not trained in religious studies. I am not an ordained minister. I am not a saint.
I am an imperfect Christian who studies the Bible and seeks a personal relationship with God. That is enough to express my views of Jesus Christ.
Many Years Ago – Roman Province of Judea – The noon day sun in Jerusalem beats down on the people who are gathering to hear Jesus teach after coming from the Mount of Olives. A group of Pharisees, who controlled the Jewish religious culture in a corrupt manner, confront Jesus and interrupt his teaching.
These arrogant men bring in a woman, accuse her of committing adultery, and claim that she was caught in the act. They tell Jesus that the punishment for someone like her should be death by stoning. Jesus is silent. They tell Jesus that according to the law she must be stoned. Then they ask Him, what do you say? Their foolish testing of Jesus in order to create something to accuse Him of does not succeed.
Jesus writes something on the ground using his finger while the woman’s accusers continue their challenge. Suddenly, He states that the one who is without sin is the one who should cast the first stone at her.
The accusers are stunned. They cannot even respond. Instead, the Pharisees shamefully turn around and leave the scene because they realize that not one of them is without sin either.
Jesus is now left alone with the woman who was accused. He asks her where her accusers who have condemned her have taken refuge. The woman says to Jesus that none of her accusers remain in their presence.
Jesus says to her neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more. By telling her this, he reminds us that God extends us grace. But, His grace is not a license to go on sinning.
Many have speculated over what Jesus wrote with His finger when he was on the ground. While no one knows, perhaps Jesus was writing down sins from the past that the Pharisees were guilty of. Once they saw their sins, they were convicted and not wanting to be hypocrites they put down their stones and walked away.
John’s description of these events reminds me of one of the darkest aspects of human nature; judging other people without first considering looking into the mirror.
Even though Jesus forgave her and would not condemn her for the adultery, He was warning her to not sin in the future. God forgives us from sins past, present and future when we repent. However, I have witnessed many times that He will not bless someone who engages in sin with no concern about the consequences and refuses to repent. At some point, each of us will be judged by our Heavenly Father. I have seen that judgment come in many different forms.
Thank God that in America we are innocent unless a prosecutor can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The woman accused of adultery was not afforded this natural right. She was simply accused and judged by a group of men who neither knew the facts nor the circumstances of the allegations.
However, the current criminal justice system requires a limited amount of human judgment. Jurors must vote guilty or not guilty. Judges must sentence a defendant if he or she enters a plea or is convicted at trial. Probation officers must decide how to handle people who have allegedly violated the terms of probation.
If we did not have an organized system of justice, many people would carry out justice themselves. We would live in a lawless society.
Outside of the criminal justice system, we are tasked with one of the most difficult duties; leaving judgment in God’s hands. Sometimes, withholding judgment seems impossible. But, Matthew reminds us again not to judge others. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:2-3).
The good news is that we can be made innocent even when we are guilty if we will repent of our sins and ask God to forgive us. He is faithful to forgive us and provide a fresh start in life, just like He provided the woman who allegedly committed adultery.
I pray that the next time I feel the need to judge someone else, I will drop my stone. I pray that we can all strive to do the same.