I mean, after all – we’re weak and fallen creatures prone to make mistakes. It seems to be a part of our fallen nature to be ungrateful and forgetful of all that He’s done for us. So with all of this, what are His feelings towards us, His unworthy children? There are many stories of the love of God, but there is one in particular that strikes a resonating chord with me.
It is early in the morning. The Savior has come to the Temple to teach. A small group has gathered to listen to Him, when suddenly they are interrupted by a commotion. A group of men, scribes and Pharisees, approach the Savior dragging woman in obvious distress. They place her in the midst of this small group, and with a certain arrogance declare,
“… Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but, what sayest thou?” (John 8:4-5)
It was a trap, an ugly ill-conceived trap. If He says ‘stone her,’ he will incur the wrath of the Romans who rule Jerusalem, and He will also be contradicting His own teachings about forgiveness, love, and a higher law. On the other hand, if He says, ‘release her; let her go,’ He will appear to be contradicting Moses, the revered lawgiver of Israel, and He will incur the wrath of the people. The accusation they are leveling against the woman was insensitive and illegal. They had no right [n]or authority under Moses’ law to do as they did. But in their mind, who cares? They have Him. There is no way for Him to get out of this one.
For a moment, step back and consider this woman. There is evidently no doubt of what she has done. But does she deserve this? I can imagine her broken in spirit, disheveled, and weeping at the public humiliation she is being forced to endure by evil men.
Well, to the surprise of the scribes, Jesus doesn’t answer. He simply stoops down, and begins writing on the ground as though He didn’t hear them. In so doing He draws all attention from the woman to Him. They gather around Him and press for an answer. Finally, at their dogged insistence, He raises Himself up and says,
“… He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
His meaning is crystal clear – He that is without this same sin, adultery, among you, go ahead and stone her. Convicted by their own guilty consciences, each slinks off leaving only the woman. Jesus raises Himself up again, and seeing none but the woman he asks,
“… Woman,” – which by the way is a title of respect – “where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? … No man, Lord,” she said. (John 8:10-11)
I love His answer, “… Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
And the woman glorified God from that hour, and believed on His name. ( John 8:11)
My dear friends, it is a principle of highest priority in our faith to know – and I mean ‘to know’ that God loves us perfectly, that our weaknesses and our mistakes when we are trying to obey do not anger Him. They draw forth His grace and mercy. I promise you, no matter what you have done, you are not beyond the boundaries of His love.
Remember what He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Adapted from John 8:2-11