Cast The First Stone
by Cindy Jones
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Based on John 8
They bring her into the temple , half dragging her as she tries to bury her face in shame. They enter with smiles upon their faces and pride in their heart as they ponder on the fine religious deed they are doing. After all , she was just a menace to society , a disgrace to the eyes of man. What did it matter to anyone that they would use her to try to trap this man Jesus that everyone was talking about. Plus , it was their duty as honorable religious leaders to expose such sin in their camp.
Meanwhile , Jesus was in the temple expounding on the love of God and filling hearts with hope of the Kingdom. As he spoke , he sensed the presence of these religious leaders as they entered the temple. He raised his head to look their way , but instead of looking at them, his eyes caught the sight of a woman as they were shoving her to the ground. Jesus felt a pain prick his heart as he looked in her eyes. Oh, those eyes ... they were so filled with pain and shame. He started to speak , but he heard the voice of his father say, " Wait Son , just wait.".
Jesus bowed his head and submitted to his Father's will , but his heart could hardly bare the thought of what this woman was surely feeling. The brutish words and accusations began spilling forth from the religious leaders with a prided hatred. Jesus looked in her eyes and she suddenly dropped her head in shame , hoping that her tears were not seen. But , Jesus saw them ... he embraced them to his heart.
She half lay on the floor now , wondering when her humiliation would finally end. But something happened that she couldn't explain. Something or someone told her to look at Jesus. She raised her head slowly prepared to meet eyes of accusation , but instead as she looked in his eyes ..... she saw love , absolute love. How was that possible ? No one ever loved her , they only used her. Calmness came upon her as she somehow knew this man was different from any man she had ever met before. She felt trust , she felt peace , but most of all , she felt love.
One of the leaders kicked her in the side , " Woman , how dare you raise your head in this Holy Temple ! " Another spat at her , but, she no longer felt the blows or heard the cruel words spoken. She could only think , I will keep my focus on this man Jesus, I feel safe when I am looking at him.
The most decorated leader of all spoke , " Well, Teacher ... see this woman, rather this harlot ... she was caught in the very act of adultery. You , claiming to be a teacher , should know that Moses in the law said we should stone her. What do you say , Teacher ?
Now, their motive was not that they cared about what Jesus really thought , but , their motive was to trick him into saying that Moses' Law was wrong so he would appear to men as being a false teacher.
Jesus , feeling disgust for these so-called religious leaders , thought to himself , Where's the man ? He tightened his jaw for a moment wanting to speak , yet , he knew that he had to wait on his Father's instructions. He turned and faced each set of eyes , looking deep into each pair , speaking within himself , Idolater , Murderer , Talebearer , Wife beater , Prideful hypocrites , Liars.
He shook his head as he bent to write on the ground with his finger. But , they kept shouting and waving their hands in the air , making a big scene in front of the crowd, " Well, don't you agree with the law that Moses gave or not ? Let us take her away and stone her now ! "
Jesus stood up again and looked each man in the eye and then it happened .... he felt his Father's urging him to speak , Now Son , speak now. Jesus took in a deep breathe , " You men , who have brought this woman here ... look in your own hearts. If anyone of you is without sin , let him cast the first stone. " With those words still lingering in the air , he again bent to write on the ground. Each heart was pricked at the words that Jesus had spoken and the leaders made their way out of the temple one by one.
The woman not seeing the leaders leave waited on the first blow of the stone, dropped her head again in humiliation , Will this ever end ? Why don't they just kill me and get it over with ?, she thought.
Jesus raised himself and looked toward the woman bent over in shame. His heart ached as he saw past her sin and saw the heart of a little girl who just wanted to be loved. No one else was able to see what her life had consisted of , no one but Jesus. Religious leaders , Jesus thought , they can't see past themselves and their man made laws.
Jesus made his way over to where she sat now curled up in a ball and he touched her shoulder lightly. She jumped with fright and her hand automatically came up to protect herself. She raised her head slightly and saw his feet , yet , not knowing it was Jesus , she still expected to be met with a stone crushing on her head. She made a decision to face her accusers with what dignity she had left. If I die .. I'll die with dignity. I will not give them the pleasure of seeing me beg.
As she looked up , she had expected to see the eyes of her accusers meeting hers , but instead she saw those beautiful eyes of love looking right at her. She focused on his lips as he spoke ever so gently , " Woman , where are thine accusers ? hath no man condemned thee ? " She sat up a little more and looked slowly around the room and saw that all her accusers were gone. " No man , Lord.", she says. Jesus again touched her shoulder , this time she did not jump at his touch , and he said , " Neither do I condemn thee , go and sin no more. "
While I may be telling this Bible story the way that I see it in my mind and the way I feel it in my heart , I have to say that I believe it is very close to what must have happened. Jesus is not a man who condemns , but convicts, there is a big difference. Condemnation brings guilt and shame , conviction , by the Holy Spirit , brings repentance out of love. Our job , as Christians , is not to bring condemnation to anyone. Condemnation will only cause people to run the other way. On the other hand , when you offer someone love , God's kind of love , it will bring conviction that will convey to them a desire to know Jesus. As I read this story again in John 8 , I went back in to the memories of when I was first saved. I did not come to the Lord because someone offered me a guilt trip ... I came to the Lord because someone offered me love and a listening ear. I am sure that we have all heard the phrase that it is our job to catch the fish ( with the bait of the Holy Spirit ) but , it is the Holy Spirit's job to clean them.
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