“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11 NIV).
Remember the story of the woman caught in adultery recorded in John 8:1-11? If you aren’t familiar with it, go back and read it in John 8 or visit my last blog and read a re-telling of the story titled The Stone Unthrown.
To recap, the Pharisees had brought this half-dressed woman to Jesus right in the middle of his teaching and tried to snare him in a trap. Should she be stoned or set free? As this woman listened to the Pharisee’s question Jesus, she understood his dilemma. If he set her free, the Pharisees would accuse him of ignoring the Law of Moses and deem him a heretic. If he sentenced her to death by stoning, then his teachings of grace and forgiveness would be negated.
The religious leaders already held the stones in their clenched fists, anticipating his reply. Their hearts were as hard as the rocks they held in their hands. But rather than give a quick answer, Jesus moved his gaze from the trembling woman and stooped to the ground. With his finger, the very hand of God-made-man, he began writing in the dirt. A frigid chill swept through the Pharisees pious robes. Suddenly they felt the rawness of naked exposure as Jesus’ eyes looked up at each of them and without a word, uncloaked their sinful thoughts and desires. With one look from Jesus, they stood soul bare and more exposed than the half-clad woman before them.
Everyone held their breath. The silence was deafening. The tension was palpable. Finally, Jesus rose and delivered the verdict.
“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Then Jesus squatted once again and continued to write.
One-by-one the Pharisees unclenched their fists, dropped the stones, and filtered through the crowd. The older men who had accumulated a longer list of sins turned to leave first, with the younger ones not far behind.
After the last of the Pharisees cleared the scene, Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she replied.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Now, let’s bring this story home. Imagine yourself standing before God on your day of judgment. You know all that you have done. Satan is pacing back and forth reading your long list of sins. But then Jesus steps forward and takes the list from the accuser. Looking over the accusations he begins: “I paid for this one, and this one, and this one, and this one….”
Finally, reaching the end of Satan’s meticulously penned and amazingly accurate enumeration of all your shortcomings, Jesus begins to tear the paper into shreds. He cups the pieces of the destroyed list of failures in his nail-scarred hands and then, with the breath of grace, blows them as far as the east is from the west. Wiping his hands together as if completing a work, he glances back over to the Judge, “All gone,” he says with a smile.
Satan grumbles under his sulfurous breath, and slinks back to his darkened cave – foiled again.
God looks up and asks you, “Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” you reply.
“Then enter my eternal kingdom and find rest.”
Friend, if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and if you are still feeling condemned, know that condemnation is not coming from God. Our enemy, the devil, is called the “accuser of the brothers,” and he is the accuser of the sisters too. The Bible tells us that he marches before God accusing believers night and day (Revelation 12:11). “She did this and she did that and this and that and this,” he hisses.
And God replies “Really? I don’t remember? “
Then He looks at you with a welcoming smile.
Dear God, Thank You for forgiving me of my sins. Thank You for washing me clean. Thank You that when the enemy accuses me before You, Jesus steps forward to announce He’s paid my debt and set me free.In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you truly believe that God has forgiven you of your sins? If you’re not sure, read 1 John 1:9.
Notice the last thing Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery. What was it?
Jesus wasn’t saying that what she did was OK. He called sin a sin. Could it be that He is saying the same to you in a particular area of your life today? (Sorry. I just had to go and make it personal, didn’t I? But that’s what girlfriends are for!)
What is the one thing about today’s story that speaks to you the most? Share your answer in the comment box. Let’s celebrate forgiveness together!
Today’s devotion was taken from my book, What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance through the Women Jesus Encountered. We tend to read the gospels with our twenty-first century eyes. But when we understand how oppressive the culture Jesus stepped into was against women, we begin to understand just how radical Jesus’ ministry, messages, and miracles were at setting women free. He risked His reputation to save theirs…and yours.