Early the next morning he went back to the Temple.
All the people gathered around him,
and he sat down and began to teach them.
The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman
who had been caught committing adultery,
and they made her stand before them all.
"Teacher," they said to Jesus,
"this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.
In our Law Moses commanded
that such a woman must be stoned to death.
Now, what do you say?"
They said this to trap Jesus, so that they could accuse him.
But he bent over and wrote on the ground with his finger.
As they stood there asking him questions,
he straightened up and said to them,
"Whichever one of you has committed no sin
may throw the first stone at her."
Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground.
When they heard this, they all left, one by one, the older ones first.
Jesus was left alone, with the woman still standing there.
He straightened up and said to her,
"Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you?"
"No one, sir," she answered.
"Well, then," Jesus said, "I do not condemn you either.
Go, but do not sin again."
I was reading about this woman this morning.
It's revealing to me of His heart that,
although He did assent to the 'justice' of her death sentence,
He, the Only Just Judge, remained inactive in her judgement,
stooping down with His hands on the dirt, and not on the stones.
Refusing to condemn.
We are told to be like our Father in heaven,
who sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
Raining mercy: indiscriminate blessings.
But also, that woman walked away knowing two things:
she was guilty as charged, and deserving of death,
but uncondemned, and given instruction
by the only One who could justly sentence her to stop it.
Stop this wickedness.
And doesn't it stun you that He works life and liberty out of such material?
That He speaks righteousness into the unrighteous?
That He makes of those who are not, something real and living?
His words have the power to rearrange our chaos into order.
To give life to the dead, and power to the powerless.
To make sons out of slaves, and foreign ones, at that.