October 11, 2010

"Neither Do I Condemn You"

John 8:1-11

As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved … forgive one another … as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:12-13


The religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus, hoping that his response would give them something they could use to trap him. “This woman is guilty of adultery,” they said, in effect, “and the law says she should be executed. What do you say, Jesus?”

In Jesus’ day, a judge would be seated as he heard a case. When it was time to give his verdict, he would stand to pronounce it. When the religious leaders brought this woman to Jesus, he was seated. Now they demanded that Jesus be a judge and pronounce a verdict.

Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger. What did he write? We aren’t told. But the leaders kept questioning him, so he “straightened up” (probably standing) and pronounced his verdict: “Let any of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then Jesus “stooped down and wrote on the ground” again—and everyone, convicted by Jesus, left.

Jesus and the woman were now alone, and Jesus stood to pronounce his verdict on her: “Neither do I condemn you… Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Amazing, isn’t it? Jesus, the only one who was without sin, did not condemn the woman. His judgment was forgiveness!

Do you need to hear Jesus say, “I do not condemn you”? And doesn’t his forgiveness amaze us again and again?

Tell me again, Jesus, that you do not condemn me. Set me free from my sin and empower me not to sin again. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Stob

Rev. Harvey Stob and his wife, Audrey, served as missionaries in Argentina for eleven years. They then served churches in Cincinnati, Ohio; Ridgewood, New Jersey; and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Harvey retired from full-time pastoral work in 2009. He and Audrey have three children and seven grandchildren.

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