Saturday, November 14, 2009

cast the first stone

A friend of mine shared something really cool this week and I wanted to share it with all of you. We were talking about John 8.

"Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, '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?' They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing 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, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?'

'No one, sir,' she said.

'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.' "

For some reason, this story hit me in a way it never has before. We don't know who this woman is - we never learn her name. But she has just been group-busted in the act of adultery, publicly humiliated in front of religious leaders, and in danger of losing her life. And Jesus basically tells the men who want to stone her "He of you without sin...cast the first stone."

Here's what my friend shared: out of all the people there, JESUS was the only one who could have thrown a stone at her. He was and will always be the only person to never sin. I never thought about that before! And yet his reaction was the complete and total opposite. All the men leave and Jesus goes and approaches her. He, a man. She, a woman. He, a religious leader. She, a sinner caught in adultery, which Jesus taught against. And he offers her no condemnation, no judgment. He offers her grace and love and tells her to go and leave her life of sin.

I am so not worthy of God's love and grace. I am a sinner and I deserve death. But God loves me so much, He sent His son for me. I receive forgiveness and grace and love. I am humbled. I am sobered. I am in awe.

I found a clip of this scene from the 1977 film "Jesus of Nazareth". Even though I think it's a bit strange that Jesus has blue eyes and somewhat of an english accent, I can look past that and see how amazing this story is.

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