“Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. ‘Teacher,’ they said to him, ‘this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So, what do you say?’”
Have you been caught in the act of doing something wrong? Accused, or called to account? How did you feel – ashamed, angry, anxious? Then you understand this woman’s feelings in this moment. You can picture the Pharisees pointing their fingers and hear their tone of voice when they say, “The law says….” But what does Jesus say?
“I Do Not Condemn You.”
At first, He doesn’t speak. Imagine the awkward silence, the tension. Then He speaks to the Pharisees. But let’s pay close attention to what He says to the woman.
The voice that condemns, shames, accuses is not the voice of Jesus. Satan’s name means “accuser.” Here’s what Jesus says about him: He’s a liar and the father of all lies (John 8:44). Jesus says about Himself, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17)
“Go And Sin No More.”
Jesus does not condemn, but He does confront. He speaks truth about our sin and calls us out of it. Jesus puts His finger on our disobedience, not to say, “You’re a terrible person,” but, “This has no place in your life.”
If you want to hear what Jesus says about His standard for sin, read Matthew 5:17-38, what we call The Sermon on the Mount. “You have heard it said…but I say…” Jesus calls us to go far beyond fulfilling the law of behavior to fulfilling the law of love. It’s much more challenging.
This is good news! We know we can’t keep all the laws all the time (Romans 7:14-25), but Jesus has come to set us free for a new way of life. “There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1-4)
Take Time to Reflect
- Whose voice are you listening to? If it’s a condemning, shaming voice, then get to know the voice of Jesus and know what He says about you.
- How does this change the way you deal with disobedience and failure in your life—how you talk to yourself and how you respond to it? What is He saying to you about what has no place in your life?
- How does this change the way you deal with others when they are “caught in the act”? How do you call them out of it without condemning? How do you pursue them with grace?