Heavenly Father, thank you for this time we have together. I thank You for the many blessings You’ve poured into my life, known and unknown, and praise You for the work you’ve begun in me. Quiet my mind and thoughts, that I can hear only You. Amen.
New International Version (NIV)
8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
As I studied these verses, the part about Jesus writing on the ground while the Pharisees questioned him made me think. The more I learn about my Savior, the more I realize the infinite patience and compassion that he has for us. It’s true; there are times in the Bible when we learn that he wasn’t patient (turning over the money tables in the temple in Jerusalem). But here, he just listens and lets the Pharisees stumble over their own words. My Bible commentary says that they wanted Jesus to agree that the adulterous woman should be stoned, but the law then stated that both the husband AND wife were supposed to be accused and stoned together – the Pharisees weren’t following the letter of the law. He knew it, and they knew he knew it. And there he sat, writing in the sand. J Finally, he straightened up, and (I picture him standing with quiet authority, looking straight into each of their eyes) challenged their judgment of the woman, asking them if they were any better than her, then throw the first stone.
How many times have I rushed to judgment of people or situations? Have I always humbly listened and responded with compassion and love? Nope! It says that the oldest Pharisees began to go away first. It’s true, that the older I get, the faster (sometimes!) I realize my rush to judgment. How can I change this yukky part of myself? “Professor Grant”, our worship speaker from Sunday, so eloquently summarized the promises from God in the Old Testament. How do I change? I remember that (1) God is always with me: (2) He is the ultimate authority, the “I Am” (not me!); (3) He will handle my challenges; if only I will remember that (4) He will give me the right words; (5) and He will not leave me lonely. What wonderful promises we have from God’s law!
Then, in the New Testament, in John 8, we are reminded of Jesus’ unending patience, love, and forgiveness, and that we must repent and work on our relationship with Him and the people around us, treating them the way Our Father treats us.
Thank you Jesus, for Your example of a loving, patient, listening Father. Send your Holy Spirit to nudge us to treat our family/friends/neighbors as you treated the woman in this story. We repent of our sins, and will start each new day remembering Your promises! In Jesus’ name, Amen.