2015-03-05 - Not Qualified
John 8:7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The story is one of my favorites from all of scripture. Jesus turns way the scribes and the Pharisees with a single pointed reminder. In the same breath he pours mercy on a woman who was guilty. She knew it. Her accusers knew it. And Jesus knew it. Jesus forgave her sins and instructed her to sin no more.
Which part to we play in this story?
The scribes and Pharisees are "the bad guys". Where is the man who must have been caught with the woman? He was just as guilty and was nowhere to be seen. Did they put him up to entrapping this woman purely to ensnare Jesus in their trap? We don't know. They were proud of their knowledge of the law and their plan. They had Jesus in a corner. They would crush this itinerate Rabbi and disenchant his followers.
The woman, while possibly viewed as the damsel in distress, is guilty. By the law she is deserving of stoning and is surrounded by a crowd that has already mentally passed judgement on her and is ready to carry out her sentence of death. There is no escape. She may be confused by the involvement of this Rabbi. She may not or may not even be aware of Who He is.
Easy call, right?. We are the woman - the sinner who is shown mercy poured out like rain from the sky. The penalty well deserved is commuted by the Lamb sent to pay the price for our sin.
Or is it so easy? If we read a little further we see that each one of the accusers, from the oldest to the youngest, drops the stones they had planned to use and left without disputing Jesus. They had been shown their place. They were unworthy to pass judgement. Not only were their motives horribly suspect even to us, the men were not without sin even only looking at this event.
Psalm 103:10-14 tells us that we are so very frail. We can so easily tell ourselves we know what is happening, or that we have grown so much spiritually - and fool ourselves. Did Jesus condemn the Pharisees? He let their hearts show them their failings. We can be just as needy and just as proud. The same passage holds up the immeasurable mercy of God available to all of us. The same mercy is given to the woman, and to the scribes and Pharisees.
I submit that we are both players in the scene. Selah.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.