If you'd prefer to listen, here's the link: https://youtu.be/nYu4vTLD_Ps
Prepare to listen. As you wait in silence, hear God’s words: Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
Prayerfully Read John 8:2-11
2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ 6They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ 8And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ 11She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’
It’s easy to condemn sin in others. It’s hard to admit our own sins. I think that’s what Jesus wanted these scribes and Pharisees to learn. They smugly condemned a woman for being “caught in the very act of committing adultery.” I know they were smug because, last I checked, it takes two to commit adultery; only the woman was accused. I know they were smug because Jesus silently ignored them and “bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.”
His behavior was an offer of grace to the woman’s accusers. In the ensuing silence, as Jesus wrote on the ground, they had an opportunity to examine their hearts and see their own sin. They didn’t take it. Instead, they kept pestering Jesus until he finally issued his challenge and then ignored them again. One by one, beginning with the elders, they silently, guiltily slinked away, every one of them except the woman.
I wonder why the woman remained, alone with Jesus. What kept her there? Was it something he wrote on ground.? Was it his refusal to join the condemning voices? Did she see forgiveness and compassion in his action and his eyes? I wonder. Because she remained, she heard Jesus’ words of grace “Neither do I condemn you.”
Why do you think the woman remained? What would have kept you at Jesus’ side, despite your sin being made public?
Respond to Jesus
Lord Jesus, too often I’ve been like those who are quick to condemn sin in others and slow to see it in myself. Guard me from this today so that I too show compassion for the person who is sidelined because of their sin. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world. Like Jesus, be compassionate towards others.
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.