2015-06-04 - Neither Do I Condemn You
Originally Published 2009-03-05
John 8:10-11 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" 11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, " I do not condemn you, either Go From now on sin no more."
The Pharisees bring Jesus a woman they caught in the act of adultery. There is no mention of the man who was with her which is not right, but that is a topic for another time. I come back to this moment many times because there are so many facets to it. Just like many of the diamonds in the Bible, this one glitters like a star in the night sky when it started as a very dark moment indeed.
We are not given the woman's name. It is not important I suppose, but I would love to meet her someday and listen to this tale from her perspective. This Rabbi, who was meant to be her judge had come to her defence directly against her accusers. She may have been caught in a trap, but she was caught none the less and was guilty of the accusation against her. She deserved to die by stoning, and she knew it. If things had gone the way they might have gone, she would not have had a moment to say goodbye to anyone.
But this Jesus turned and confronted the men, some of then already holding stones, and confronted them directly and with unflinching authority. They left one-by-one unable to meet the challenge Jesus had given them. Once they were gone, He turned to her and once again refused to condemn her and released her telling her to sin no more.
It may have taken a minute for the reality to hit her in the confusion. This would not be unlike being told the cancer is gone, or the last ditch drug was working against the infection that would otherwise take your life. How does this meeting change her life? She went from knowing she had moments to live to the opportunity to start over again. We don't know how she lived after this. The hope is that her gratitude would enable her to follow Jesus and become a believer in Him as her Messiah. If she did, I will get to meet her some day.
If the hope is true and she is waiting with Jesus, did she live a perfect life after that? Probably not perfect. Probably better. We will not be perfected until we reach Heaven and we put off this mortal body with the appetites that war against us. Did she have a few regrets? It is possible. Far fewer than she would have if she had not met the Lord I suspect.
I don't believe this was a chance meeting. In my view this was orchestrated to show us the heart of God so that it would be pure and clear. If we put ourselves in the place of the woman, the picture doesn't change much. We were just as guilty in the eyes of God (Eph 2:1-3). If we can come to grips with that idea, God's forgiveness is even more powerful and humbling. In the same spirit of mercy Jesus forgives us.
John 3:17-21 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 "This is the judgment, that (I)the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 "For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." (NASB)
Are there people we pass everyday, some of which we will never see again? Probably. Are there many chance meetings in our lives? It is possible that there are far fewer than we realize - that God is orchestrating to move us to specific persons, or those persons to us. What do the people we meet take away from those meetings? What do we give them? Does the humble gratitude for all we have been given show through? What kind of ambassadors are we? (2 Cor 5:20)
No regrets? As few as possible.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.