A Story of Being Forgiven
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(All Scripture Passages are from the NIV.)
My Name is Hannah. I owe my life to the one they call Jesus. At the time I met Him I lived in my brother Simon‘s home. He is a potter in Jerusalem. In order to support myself, I ‘entertained’ men.
I had been ill and had been unable to pursue my regular routines. One day I realized that the next day I had planned to go see the priest. So he could declare me clean again.
On the day I was to see the priest, I arose an hour before dawn and prepared Simon‘s breakfast. As he was eating, the door opened. I turned around and looked up. This large crowd of men entered our home and stood around the room. I recognized these men as teachers and Pharisees; they were watching me. Some were pointing fingers, each one whispering to the one standing besides him.
“Let’s get her and take her to him. We all know what she is!”
“What do you mean?” My brother asked.
Of course, they knew. As I looked from one face to another, I recognized those whom I had entertained. I remembered when and how often.
All at once, I was picked up and carried out of my brother’s house. I was frightened. I fought back. In the process, my robe got torn. Somewhere along the way, I lost a sandal. I heard some of the men talking
“What are we going to tell him?” One asked.
“We will tell him we caught her in the act!” Another said.
“But we didn’t. She was preparing breakfast for Simon.”
“So? We know she would have normally been entertaining. We all know what she is.”
“We want to catch him with his own words.”
I knew the Law. I knew I always ran the risk of being stoned alongside the one with whom I was caught. I also knew that what I was going through was not lawful. I had not ‘entertained’ anyone for a while.
The crowd of men carried me all the way through the city to the temple courts. There, in one area, a crowd listened to a man teaching. My accusers interrupted this gathering. They dropped me down on my feet facing this teacher. These men encircled this man and me, leaving those who had been listening on the outside.
“Teacher, we caught this woman in the act of adultery. Moses’ law orders us to stone a woman caught like this. What do you say about that?”
The teacher quietly bent down, took his index finger and started writing in the dirt. All the while those who had snatched me from my home kept shouting questions at him.
He stood up, looked slowly around the circle; he paused just long enough to make eye contact with each one. “If any one of you is without sin let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Voices among those who accused me started murmuring.
“What does he mean?”
“I am all right.”
“I haven’t done anything as bad!”
The teacher stooped back own and wrote in the dirt.
Slowly those who accused me left the circle. First the older men and then the younger ones. All at once, they were all gone. He straightened up. I was left standing facing this teacher. He looked at me with such peaceful eyes. He put his hand on my shoulder and started to speak.
“Where are your they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one sir.” I was uneasy but I felt a peace begin to enter my heart.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” he said. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
I hurried back to my brother’s house not understanding what had happened but feeling cleaner and freer than I had ever felt.
“Sister, you are home again! What happened? Where did they take you?”
“Those men took me to see the teacher they call Jesus. They tried to trick him into saying something against the Law. But he asked them a question that made them reflect on their own hearts and they left. Then he told me he that he forgave me and told me to leave my sinful life. He has made me feel free and clean.”
This happened a long time ago. Simon arranged for me to marry a friend of our family. My husband and I worked with Simon in the pottery shop, taking it over when Simon died. God has blessed my marriage and has given us eight sons and four daughters.
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