THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY, whom we meet in John 8:1-11, is one of my favorite women in the Bible.
Maybe that shocks you. You might like to gloss the details of this story because it makes you feel uncomfortable. I know it used to do that to me.
‘Adultery’ is defined as voluntary intercourse between two willing partners, of which one is married. In Jesus’ day, it was punishable by being stoned to death.
We first meet this woman when she is dragged by Jewish religious leaders before Jesus while He is publicly teaching. Not because they cared one whit about this woman, but because they wanted to put Jesus in a difficult position they could use to discredit Him.
(Note: not only was this woman alone in this situation, the man involved was not brought out to also be publically humiliated.)
But Jesus did something quite unexpected. He didn’t immediately answer their question, but instead wrote something in the dust at His feet. Then He told them all that those amongst them who have never had a sinful desire should throw the first stone, before continuing to write in the dust.
One by one, everyone left until only Jesus was left with this woman, who had clearly been doing something she shouldn’t have.
A woman very much like you and I, one who sometimes lets her wants bypass her faith and judgment. One who hopes her sin doesn’t come out into the light of day.
Jesus asked this woman, likely still fearful, who was left to accuse or condemn her. She said no one. Jesus then said neither would He condemn her, and told her to go & be free from a life of sin.
This is one of the most graceful stories of forgiveness to me, because if anyone could see her sin, it was Jesus. Yet He didn’t condemn her but released her with a blessing of freedom. God set her free!
She got a second chance to live her life even when she didn’t deserve it.
And isn’t that why Jesus went to the cross? As the costly payment for our sin, so we could live free.
If you, like me, have done something of which you are ashamed, be encouraged that Jesus will do the same for you too.