“Neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Jesus’ gentleness to the woman who was caught in adultery is heartwarming. According to the law of Moses, this woman could have been stoned to death (Leviticus 20:10). But Jesus knew the religious leaders were more interested in trapping him than in following God’s law. The fact that the woman was caught in adultery means that the man involved was also known. But where was he? He is not even mentioned in the story. The religious leaders simply assumed that if Jesus did not demand the death penalty, he would be guilty of breaking the law, and that would give them a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus turned the tables on the religious leaders and put them into an impossible situation. He said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” So throwing a stone would mean declaring yourself sinless. None of the leaders were prepared to do that. One by one, her accusers went away, and then Jesus told the woman, “Neither do I condemn you. . . . Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Similarly, the Lord tells us, “I came into this world not to condemn you but to forgive you; repent and sin no more” (see John 3:17-21). “And with the gentleness that I treat you, treat everyone around you” (see Matthew 7:12).
Jesus, we marvel at your gentleness with all of us sinners. Thank you for being such a gentle Savior, and help us to be gentle with others. Amen.
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