Her husband left for work that fateful morning. She fixed herself up and sprinkled a dash of perfume on her neck. Then, she stepped out of her front door looking one way and then another making double sure her husband was out of sight. But she was under surveillance and didn’t know it.
She excitedly hurried down the dusty street to meet her lover.
The spy saw her go in and ran to tell the others. “She’s there. It’s time! We got her!”
They assembled and waited a few minutes. Undetected, one of them put his ear to the door. He heard her sighs and moans and then nodded his head to alert the others. With a rush, the moral police burst in and caught them in the very act of intercourse.
One of them grabbed her and drug her out of bed. She grabbed the bedcover to conceal her shame and shock.
A flood of emotions rushed over her like one tsunami after another. Anger, shame, guilt, denial.
She may have said what my wife’s ex-husband said when she caught him in the act with another woman. “You don’t see what you think you see!”
Regardless of her denial, they dragged her outside. The morality enforcers waiting outside had already picked up stones to administer the Mosaic law for a woman caught in adultery.
“Wait,” the leader said. “Let’s take her to Jesus and get him too. Two birds with one stone!”
Their prized catch turned into the perfect moment to entrap Jesus with a question about the Law.
They brought her to the Temple where Jesus taught a large crowd. They pushed her to be front and center with Jesus. Every eye focused on her. She couldn’t lift her head. Tears from shame and embarrassment coursed down her cheeks. Fear of punishment and her soon execution gripped her heart.
The morality chief said, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"
It was the perfect trap. If Jesus said “stone her,” his ministry to sinners would be discredited. If Jesus said, “Release her,” he advocated breaking the Law and relaxing moral standards.
Silence enveloped the Temple. You could hear a pin drop.
Jesus stooped down and wrote something on the ground with his finger. The impatient leader spoke again breaking the silence, “What’s your answer? Give us your answer!” Others chimed in demanding an answer.
Finally after what seemed like hours, Jesus stood up and looked them in the eye. "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
He stooped back down and resumed writing on the ground.
Clinched fists opened and one by one the stones fell harmlessly to the floor. Jesus heard shuffling feet leaving the scene. He didn’t look up until he sensed that they had all left.
Jesus stood up again and looked her in the eye. He asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
What did she do with the mercy received from Jesus? Did she leave her life of sin?
We don’t know. We have to conclude the story with our own response to Jesus’ mercy.
But really, who would want to go back to a life condemned to be lived in dark secrecy? Who would want to go back to a life crippled with guilt and imprisoned by shame when mercy set you free?
The blind man cried for Jesus to have mercy. Jesus in mercy gave him sight. Who would want to go back to being blind after beholding the wonders of a sunrise?
Jesus made the deaf man to hear. Who would want to go back to a world without the sweet sounds from song birds of the morning?
You are a new creation in Christ! The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Mercy gives us a new life. A new beginning.
Mercy sets us free to see a world unseen before. See the beauty of holiness, and we want to move in for a closer look until we feel the embrace of Jesus. See the splendor of righteousness and we want to climb the heights and behold the vista of peaceful valleys and verdant meadows of life that is full, abundant, and free.
Who wants to return to a world of darkness after seeing the vistas of heaven’s glory?
Mercy opens our ears to the symphony of God’s orchestra. Every chorus inspires us. Every measure soothes the soul. Every soaring anthem makes us feel alive from God’s love song.
Who would want to return to a world without the sound of music from the violins of heaven?
Look at you! Mercy’s child. Set free from those who condemn you. Set free from the men who would shame you. Set from the stones hurled at you. Set free from their perverted gaze upon your nakedness. Set free! Mercy’s child.
Set free to see who I am in the Father’s eyes. Set free to hear His melody of love, affirmation, and singing over me. Celebrating my life. Celebrating my redemption. Set free by mercy!
You're greater than my yesterdays,
You hold me close today
You're the Lord of my tomorrows,
My heart will always say
You're greater than my yesterdays,
You hold me close today
You're the Lord of my tomorrows, my heart will always say
Your mercy saved me,
Mercy made me whole.
Your mercy found me,
Called me as Your own.*
*CASTING CROWNS (Mark Hall, Omega Levine, Sam DeLong, Tauese Tofa)
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