If you walked up to the temple in first century Palestine and saw a circle of men forming around a partially clothed woman, what would you do?
Would you seek to cover her shame?
Would you watch the ugly event unfold?
Would you repeat to your fellow onlooker the latest gossip you heard about that woman?
Would you pull out your phone and snap pictures to post to Facebook?
Would you go find a rock yourself?
Would you run back home, grateful it wasn’t you in that circle?
That was the scene in John 8: 1-11.
A woman caught in the act of adultery was brought before Jesus. Her accusers were ready to stone her as punishment for her sin.
We have all been like that woman; caught, embarrassed, regretful, afraid and needing mercy. We have all been like the rock-throwers; judgmental, harsh, arrogant and condemning.
But, have we been like Jesus?
What did Jesus do?
“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.” (Jn 8:6)
What did He write in the sand?
Biblical scholars have differing opinions, but I have an imaginary possibility.
What if He scribbled some questions in the sand?
I imagine He could write these questions on my heart when I’m caught in sin or “caught” with a rock in my hand:
Have you received judgment from God or grace from God?
Do you help the enemy by being a vessel of accusation of the brethren?
When you hear of others sin, do you seek to shame them or restore them?
When your Christian brother or sister stumbles, do you pray or gossip?
When your brother or sister is scorned by others, does your heart break or feel a secret satisfaction?
When your Christian brother or sister has or is struggling, do you feel superior or identify with them?
Have you ever needed grace?
Have you ever been broken?
Have you ever wished someone would clothe and protect you rather than throw a stone and humiliate you?
We have many brothers and sisters “caught” by sin or “caught up” in their sin. And, we have brothers and sisters “caught” with rocks in their hands.
We must respond like Christ with grace and truth.
If Jesus, Who is full of grace and truth, does not condemn, then who am I to think I have the right or position to?
(1 Peter 4: 8)
Do you realize that the only two people in that gathering that day that did not hold rocks in their hands, were the woman caught in sin and the Savior who would eventually die for her sin?
Jesus hands could have held rocks that day, but instead, they were to hold nails. When we know what it feels like to be forgiven much, we don’t have much need or desire to pick up a rock and throw it at another sinner.
My brothers and sisters, can we please drop the rocks and pick up grace instead? Leave a comment here.