Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Casting Stones at Others

John 8:7-8 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stone!" Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

A woman had just been caught in the act of adultery. Several things come to my mind. What about the man involved in this? Wasn't he equally as guilty? Would they have him stoned too?

It was the religious elite who were sitting in judgment of this woman. They already were ready to stone her for what she had done. They brought her to Jesus thinking they could use her to trap Jesus into saying something they could use against Him. If He were to agree with them, then it would go against the spirit of love and mercy He preached about. He would then be accused of being a hypocrite, just like they were. Their real goal was to condemn Jesus, not the woman.

If the religious leaders were really wanting to stone the woman, they would have done it without asking Jesus. They had the authority to do it and would normally have exercised it, but that was not what they were after. Jesus was a problem for them and they saw this as an opportunity to get rid of their problem.

Jesus gave them permission to execute judgment on her, after first examining their own hearts. He told them they were qualified to be the judge of her heart if they themselves had never sinned. I wonder how many judgments we make would be made if we were to first examine our own hearts?

Jesus did not hide His emotions. He told them emphatically what they needed to do. He then left them to their thoughts and stooped down to write in the sand. We aren't told what He wrote, but whatever it was, it must have given the woman's accusers pause to think. They weren't used to seeing sin in their own lives. They weren't used to feeling the shame and guilt of their own hearts. They had an agenda, but Jesus changed it. One by one, they left until she was all alone standing before Jesus.

It's interesting how much Jesus changes our agendas when we stand before Him starkly aware of the sin in our hearts and honest about them.

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