Can you imagine the relief this woman experienced as the men who’d dragged her to the street now left? I can picture her knees going wobbly, her spine collapsing, desire to race for a safe place overwhelming her but being unable to move because the fear and adrenaline drained her of strength. When Jesus asked who had condemned her, a lump of gratitude no doubt filled her throat, and I hear her voice turning husky as she says in wonder, “No one, sir.” The threat of damnation…gone. The certainty of a painful death…gone. Her accusers…gone. And all that remains is the One who stood up for her. What emotions would wash over you in a moment like this?
So often when we quote Jesus’ admonition from verse seven, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” it’s from a defensive stance. Someone has pointed a finger of accusation, and we remind him he needs to consider his own failings before pointing out ours. It’s true that we aren’t called to sit in judgment on others. Jesus is the Judge, not me. But there are times when a Christian brother or sister needs accountability, and we are asked to lovingly (note that word: lovingly) bring the fallen into right relationship with Christ and with the body of believers. Perhaps we’re wise to take heed when a Christian brother or sister offers an admonishment. Rather than seeing them as a Pharisee with a stone in hand, prepared to deliver judgment, see them as Jesus’ messenger, sent to rescue us from a situation that could bring broken fellowship.
Jesus’ words to this woman aren’t complete yet. We’ll look at His final statement tomorrow.