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Where are your accusers?”

               John 8: 1-11 tells of a woman caught in adultery.  The story is set by the temple.  As Jesus was teaching the people that came to Him, the scribes and Pharisees also came to him; and they were the ones who brought Him this woman caught in the “act of adultery.”  “They informed” Jesus that in the Law of Moses it states, This woman should be stoned!”  So they addressed Him as “Teacher” and asked him, “but what do you say?” 

      Verse 6 states that they brought her to Jesus to test Him, that they might have something in which to accuse Him”.  He responded to the Pharisees and scribes by writing in the ground (perhaps their sins) and then stated to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 

      As each of them were “convicted by their own conscience”, they began to leave one by one, from the oldest to the youngest until only Jesus and this woman were left alone.  He then said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? …Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

      I love the way that Jesus responded to each party that was there that day; the woman, as well as the Pharisees and Scribes. 

     Regarding the woman, He knew exactly what she needed to change.  It was not judgment, accusation, or a wagging of the finger in shame, but love…, grace…, mercy…, sincerity…, honesty…, truth…  

 

He loved her despite her sin.

He honestly addressed her situation.

He spoke to her in the “here and now”.

He knew what she needed to change;

and he gave it to her.

     

     The passage does not mention what happened to her or what her decision was, my guess is that she probably responded favorably because of the incredible mercy and grace that Jesus gave to her.  It is only through that kind of love, grace, and mercy that we are given what we need to truly change!

      This woman received grace and mercy from Jesus because that was what she needed.  The Pharisees and Scribes however needed a different approach to facilitate change.  They were coming in arrogance.  This was their “sin.”  What hypocrisy; they called Jesus Teacher but did not want to be taught.  They wanted to inform Him of the law, rather than be informed.  They wanted to test His knowledge and adherence to the law and accuse Him and this woman, rather than respect and love Him and help this woman. 

      They missed an opportunity, as leaders in the “faith” to help her.  They could have given her the same response as Jesus did.  They didn’t…, they couldn’t, because of their pride and arrogance.  They did not want to look to Jesus as their authority.  They wanted to be the authority.

      He still loved them though; enough to give them also what they needed to change.  They needed a rebuke!  Jesus responded to them by writing in the dirt.  Whatever he wrote, they became “convicted by their own conscience” and abandoned their “accusations” and walked away. Did they accept the rebuke?  Did they repent after Jesus caught them in the “very act” of their own sin?

     It doesn’t seem so, but it is not known what they did with this opportunity for change.  We know in that moment, they walked away from Jesus.  They did not humble themselves and repent of their actions. 

      It touches me that the Lord, “who wants all to come to repentance” will also respond to each of us perfectly…, as to what is needed to give us opportunity for change; through grace, mercy, and compassion, or through rebuke, etc.  He knows us, knows our hearts, and knows what is needed and tailor makes each situation in our lives that will facilitate this change

      This woman was sinning.  It is amazing that the Lord cared about this woman so much, who was “caught in the very act of adultery”.  He had the right to stone her.  Under the Law he “should” have stoned her.  But he didn’t…

      And the Pharisees and scribes, He could have called down twelve legions of angels to wipe them out, or even have stoned each one of them for their sins.  (I say this because I am thinking about what he must have been writing that convicted them so much that they actually walked away.)  These men were not used to backing down; perhaps they too had committed a “type of adultery” in their own lives that warranted such a judgment.  What ever the case, His grace was extended to the woman, and to the Pharisees and Scribes.

      I believe this too when it comes to you and me.  He knows our hearts…, He knows our motives…, our situations…, and He works with us!  Like the potter with the clay He will break us and remold us time and time again until the work is finished.  Moreover, He is committed to us, and He deeply and passionately loves us and will respond to us precisely as needed in each of our lives that will facilitate that change in our lives.  It is in His time and His way

      Hold on…, Trust Him…, He is working His process in your life, and mine.   He is deeply and firmly committed in His love for you and me

 

Look for His visitation in your life,

                  David L Brower, MSW, LCSW