Notice what Jesus did. He didn’t point at anyone—not the woman who’d broken the law concerning adultery, not the men who so pompously paraded her sinful state in front of others—but instead placed His finger against the sand and wrote. Wrote…what? We don’t know. Probably because it doesn’t matter. What matters is that He didn’t aim a finger of condemnation at any of the sinners standing on that patch of ground. Then He made a profound statement: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her (KJV).” In other words, “How about instead of looking at her, you fellows look at yourselves. Are you perfect?” Now, please understand, Jesus wasn’t criticizing the law itself. Hebrews 13:4, which is in the New Testament, states, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Jesus had no problem with the law—His problem lay with the attitude of those who gloried in pointing out this woman’s fall from grace when they, too, were sinful men. Jesus wanted the men to understand that there, but for the grace of God, went they, and perhaps they should consider compassion a better reaction than condemnation.
Apparently His words met their mark, because one by one the men turned aside and departed. Interestingly enough, the older the man, the more quickly he turned away, perhaps realizing how many sins he had committed over the years. But the story doesn’t end here. There’s more to be learned. We’ll continue the text on Thursday.