Thursday, December 8, 2011

The only one who could have thrown the stone, didn’t.

The book of John paints a beautiful portrait of Jesus, the God-man. We learn that Jesus is very embodiment of who God is and is an exact imprint of God the father(John 1:188:58) If we want to know God, see God, understand God, and be in relationship with God, we look to Jesus. Jesus says that he does only what the father tells him to (John 5:19) If that is true, which I believe it is, then John 8 shows us an amazing picture of who God is. For those who read the old testament and see an angry evil God, you might want to read John 8 and repent of those false ideas.

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:3-11

Up to this point, Jesus had been doing miracles and and making some big claims. The religious leaders of the day had taken offense at almost everything that he taught and stood for. They first began persecuting him after he had healed on the sabbath(John 5:15) They did not like the way he did his ministry, or the fact that he refused to follow their religious, hypocritical, strict, and despairing, man made laws outside of the law. He continues to butt heads with them over his teachings and his work. He is shocking, radical and ruthless to them but gentle, kind, and compassionate to the lowly.

We enter the scene to the religious leaders of the day, trying once again to trap Jesus. The Jewish law demanded the execution of this women(Deut 21:22), but Rome has removed capital jurisdiction from Jewish courts, except for temple violations therefore the Jewish leaders test weather Jesus will reject the law, compromising his patriotic Jewish following, or reject Roman rule, which will allow them to accuse him to Rome. The law also demanded that the man be executed as well, but where is the man? He is no where to be found (do you see the hypocrisy and corruptness in this?) So what is he going to do? Will he support the stoning of the woman and reject Roman rule, or will he reject the stoning and therefore reject the law? It is interesting how he responds “Let him who has no sin throw the first stone”. Who steps up to the plate? No one. Jesus writes something in the sand(something probably really offensive), and they leave.

Once the accusers of the adulterous women left, Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you. Depart. From now on, sin no more.” Jesus was sinless, and Jesus was God. In every way this woman’s sin deserved wrath and stoning. It was an offense to God himself. The only person who could throw the  stone didn’t. Notice what he didn’t say.“if you go and sin no more, then neither will I condemn you.” But Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” The command is not a condition. “Neither do I condemn you” is unconditional, it comes with no strings attached. Jesus motivates her to be harsh with sin, not with the law as her fuel, but with the Gospel. The reason she should not sin, is because God has not condemned her and thrown the rock, but forgiven her and given her grace. Her obedience doesn’t come from the condition that if she obeys he wont throw the rock, but because he didn’t throw the rock, she should obey.

This is an amazing picture of the Gospel and if we believe it, it will radically change and mess us up to the core. Christian, the only one who could have thrown the rock, didn’t. Don’t obey God so that he wont throw the rock, we obey him because he has not thrown the rock. Want to know what God is like? Look to Jesus.

The only one who could have thrown the stone, didn't.