Dead to rights. No escaping. Positively guilty. She had been caught in the act. And now they were hoping that He would be, as well.
She had been busted playing loose with morals. They were pretty sure He’d be tripped up playing loose with Moses. They thrust her into the center of the ring because of licentiousness, they were anticipating Him crashing and burning because of the law–they didn’t thing He’d be true to it. She had nowhere to hide, and He had no desire to hide.
But what these accusers didn’t anticipate–what was beyond their wildest imagination–was what happens when a sinner finds themselves in the midst of the Savior.
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again to the temple. All the people came to Him, and He sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test Him, that they might have some charge to bring against Him. . . Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
(John 8:1-6, 10-11 ESV)
The scribes and the Pharisees had sought only to use her as bait. They weren’t really concerned about dealing with her transgression or upholding God’s perfect law. What they really wanted was to trap Jesus. To discredit Him. To stop the momentum of His ministry. To break up the growing following that were gathering to Him as He taught those with hears to hear “as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Mt. 7:29).
They orchestrated the sting for maximum dramatic effect. Waiting till Jesus was again in the temple. Waiting till He was seated (8:2). And then they burst into His ad hoc classroom and thrust the wanton women before everyone to behold. Talk about an uncomfortable situation. They maximized her shame while shining the full glare of the spotlight on the Teacher, “What are going to do with her!”
Dead to rights. Under the law a no-brainer. But before the Prince of Life, a glorious teaching opportunity.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” ~ Jesus
(John 3:17 ESV)
And thus, this woman enveloped in the chains of darkness, finding herself suddenly in the midst of the Author of Light, hears Him say, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
And while we could engage in much speculation as to what Jesus might have wrote in the dust for the woman’s accusers to read, or much contemplation as to why, “beginning with the older ones”, the lynch mob quietly walked away, what I’m chewing on this morning is how a sinning one can leave the presence of the Sovereign One without condemnation.
There is therefore now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 ESV)
To be sure, she was guilty. But He had come to bear her judgment. Like a sheep, she was lost. But as the Good Shepherd, He had come that she might be found. She didn’t have the resources to be good enough, but He could meet her greatest need with grace enough. Having lived her whole life in a world of darkness, He would translate her into His marvelous kingdom of light.
In many ways, it was a match made in heaven.
That’s what happens when a broken sinner finds themselves in the midst of a loving Savior.
Kind of like my story. Kind of like our story.
Such is the ever amazing wonder of grace. To Him be all the glory.