Mercy For All

“When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’
And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’ ” John 8:10–11

Jesus had been teaching in the temple when he was interrupted by a group of Scribes and Pharisees who pushed a woman to her knees before him.

“Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”

Jesus knew that they were trying to trap him so that they could destroy him. If he sided with their understanding of the Law of Moses they would stone her and then report him to the Romans condemning him of taking the law into his own hands and subverting their authority, and if he contradicted their understanding of the Law of Moses they’d condemn him before the people as one who undermined the teachings scripture. It was a lose, lose situation. Or so it appeared.

At first Jesus didn’t answer. Instead without a word he begins to write on the dirt coating the floor of the temple. Soon the Jewish leaders became impatient and pressed him for an answer and Jesus stood up and said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first”, and continued writing.

It’s at this point that the Scribes and Pharisees see what’s he’s writing on the floor; he’s writing their sins, one by one, demonstrating that he has knowledge of their actions and could condemn them if he chose. One by own the accusers slipped away.

When all had gone Jesus looked at the woman and said the words found in our focus text, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

Looking around the woman sees that her accusers are gone and only Jesus is in front of her and in his eyes she sees only love and mercy. “No one, Lord.”

Jesus then confirms her appraisal with the words, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

One of the things I love about this story is that everyone received mercy from Jesus. All were guilty, the woman of committing adultery and the Jewish leaders of their unnamed sins, but none of them were condemned. Jesus clearly demonstrated the truth of his words to Nicodemus, in John 3:17, that he’d not come into the world to condemn but to save.

Jesus is still working to save. One day the door of salvation will have closed but for now Jesus works to convince people to accept his salvation and those who truly follow him accept that salvation and work to convince others to accept it as well.

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