The woman stood in the center of the Pharisees, her eyes lowered in guilt. She had been caught in the act of adultery, and the law was clear on her punishment. She knew these would be her last moments.
As she awaited her death, she noticed the Pharisees questioning a Man in the crowd. “Teacher,” they called to Him, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:4, 5).
The Man they spoke to bent and wrote in the dust, seemingly unaware of their presence.
They continued to pepper Him with questions until He finally spoke: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7).
The woman stood aghast. Who was this Man? Then, to her growing astonishment, the crowd dispersed, one by one. The Man was still writing on the ground. Eventually, He rose and looked her in the eyes. “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” (v. 10).
Trembling, she lowered her eyes. “No one, sir.”
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (v. 11). Filled with awe, the woman left, knowing her life would never be the same.
Who is this Man called Jesus? In our life experiences, our understanding of who Jesus is grows. In our times of deepest remorse, He reminds us that He freed us from guilt through His death on the cross. In our times of deepest despair, He reminds us that He is the risen Savior and our Living Hope.
These are the truths I must keep in mind when I encounter other people. As a human being living on planet Earth, I often find myself judging them and comparing my sin to theirs. I am all too ready to throw stones at those caught in the midst of sin or those whose sins are more evident to outsiders. But if I really know who Jesus is, I won’t judge a fellow sinner.
Jesus invites all of us to a life free from sin. He was the only one in the crowd that day who had the right to throw a stone, yet didn’t. Instead of condemnation, He offered the woman a second chance.
Everything about this encounter is amazing. Not only was this woman’s life completely altered, but I believe those in the crowd left changed as well. Jesus made them come face to face with their true nature. They were no different from the woman caught in adultery, just as we are no different from her.
As followers of Christ, when we see another in the throes of sin, may we remember what our Savior has done and where He first found us. May we open our hands and release the stones. And most of all, may we show others the love and grace Jesus Christ so freely poured out upon us.
I can never comprehend the fullness of Jesus Christ, but this I know: Jesus had every right to condemn us, and yet humbly came here and chose to save. By His grace alone, we are free from condemnation. To Him be the glory and honor, forever and ever. Amen.
Samara Harvey is currently a senior at South Dakota State University earning her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. She grew up in eastern Iowa, attending the Marion, Iowa Church of God (Seventh Day). Samara is the daughter of Jon and Cathy Harvey and the third of five children. When she is not doing homework or studying, she enjoys running, reading, playing soccer, and hanging out in coffee shops.