Where are your accusers?
This story found in beloved John’s gospel is one of my favorites. We are not told how or with whom she found herself in the sin of adultery. Only that she was caught. The shame, guilt, and expectation of punishment she must have felt as her sin was publicly exposed must have been overwhelming as she humbled herself at Jesus feet.
This in many ways is your story and mine. Caught up in our sins whatever they may be we are accused by the one who provides the opportunity and temptation to sin, and find ourselves at the feet of Jesus. Guilty as charged.
Jesus had two choices. He could have allowed the prescribed punishment in the law that He himself wrote, death by stoning or He could show mercy and allow her to go free. The reason Scripture tells us for bringing the woman “They asked this to test him, so that they might have evidence to accuse him.” Jesus however does the unexpected. Instead of challenging the ones who brought her to Him, or addressing the woman,
He writes in the dirt. As He does so the accusers keep demanding an answer. Finally He says, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” The angry little mob fell silent and stole away, one by one. The trembling woman and Jesus were left standing together.
“Where are they? Has no one condemned you?” he asked her.
Jesus brushed the dirt from his hands. “Then neither do I condemn you,” he told her. “Go now, and leave your life of sin.”
This is why I love this story. It should give you and I hope as find ourselves “caught” in sin. Jesus did not ask for a promise to change before He forgave her sin. And He does not ask that of you and I. Instead He forgives and offers an opportunity free from guilt, condemnation and fear to choose a better way, a better life. An opportunity for a fresh start, to leave our life of sin behind. When we confess our sin, He is faithful to forgive our sin. And then we can sing with a free and grateful heart,
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace….