Neither Do I Condemn Thee

     This morning I awoke at my usual time with a Diet Mountain Dew in hand, started my day in the usual way with Bible and devotion books at my side.  I find the older I get the more of a routine I have as I face each new day.  It gives me a sense of clarity.  I opened my Bible to my favorite book in the New Testament,  The Gospel of John.  In John Chapter 8 we read the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery.  This story seems foreign to me.  The idea of people being dragged into the temple and their sins being made public seems rather harsh, and the idea that one could be stoned for adultery is rather barbaric.  It is obvious that the Pharisees are trying to quiz Jesus on his understanding of the Mosaic Law.  I can imagine that prior to this encounter that the Pharisees had gathered together to plan just exactly what would happen.  Perhaps they held a vote to select a spokesman. The King James version says that the woman was caught in the very act of adultery.  These Pharisees really had to work hard to get this scheme  together.  The Pharisees knew about this itinerant preacher named Jesus.  They knew that he was performing miracles all over the Judean countryside.  He had already feed the 5,000.  He had turned water into wine.  His actions were an affront to the Pharisees.  The Ministry of  Jesus after threatened the kingdom that the Pharisees had constructed.  The message that they could not receive was that the law would be made complete with Jesus, and his teachings.  Jesus who said that we are to love God with are whole being and then love our neighbor as ourselves.  Jesus’ teachings were radical.  This loving your neighbor as your self can get you into a lot of trouble.

The story continues with one of the Pharisees piping up about the law and the penalty which was prescribed for those that committed adultery.  Jesus knows full well that the Pharisees are looking for a way in which to trap him.  They are looking for some failure on Jesus’ part to properly interpret the law.  The Scripture tells us that Jesus reached down and wrote with his finger in the sand.  He wrote a message that went totally against the thinking of this motley crew.  He writes, “He that is without sin let him cast the first stone.”  We are told that the conscience of those that had gathered to stone the woman were so convicted that they immediately dropped their stones and walked away.  So,  it was with just one phrase in the sand that Jesus goes against the expectations of the religious crowd.

The reality is: This is how Jesus works.  We are all sinners.  The Scriptures tell us that all have sinned.  We all fall short of the mark.  There is no way that we can be made whole apart from Jesus.  I saw a placard that had printed upon it,  “One day I asked Jesus how much he loved me.  He stretched out his arms and then he died.”  This is the Jesus that we serve.  A Jesus of love, mercy and grace.  We come to Jesus just as we are.  Jesus takes what we are and makes us into that which we can be.  Jesus speaks the same words that he spoke to the adulteress long ago, “Neither do I condemn thee go and sin no more.”

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