forgiveness

Forgiveness

It was early morning, and Jesus was at the Temple, ready to teach whoever came to listen to him. Some respected Jewish leaders brought a woman to him who had been found guilty of adultery. The law at this time required two witnesses and carefully outlined what evidence was needed to prosecute this woman. The Jewish leaders made known that the Law of Moses said to stone her {the requirement of the law to ‘stone her’ indicates that this woman was engaged or married (see. Lev 20:10Deut 22:23-24)}, but neglected that the law also stated that her lover should be killed with her. They turned to Jesus and asked:

“Teacher, what do you say?”

The succeeding verse lets us know that question was a trap. They wanted to see whether He would neglect the law since He had a reputation for mercy or would ignore the woman’s tragedy. They felt sure Jesus would not condemn the woman, and therefore He would be disobeying Moses’ command. John revealed that He had not judged the Samaritan for her loose living ( John 4), and had pointed out to Nicodemus that He had not come to condemn but to save (John 3:17). They were clearly irritated at this One who seemed to avoid the emphasis they had placed on condemnation required by the Law and thought what could be a better test case than that of adultery, a crime with a certain punishment from the very chapters of Deuteronomy’s greater Prophet?

Instead of answering, Jesus did something unexpected. He bent down and wrote with his finger on the stone paving of the courtyard. What was he writing? Nobody knows. There have been many erudite theories on the subject, many clever suggestions, but no real answer. After probing, Jesus said:

“Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone…”

Jesus’ answer did not mean that an accuser had to be morally perfect to make legal accusations. His reference to the one who has never sinned points out the motive of the accusers. The jury crumbled as they slipped away one by one.

“… And Jesus was left with the woman standing in the midst.”

What could’ve possibly gone through this woman’s mind? She must’ve mentally prepared herself to be stoned to death. The bible tells us she was ‘caught’ in adultery. Was she still naked – Shaking? Cold? Fully clothed? Clothes torn? Disgraced? Embarrassed? Ashamed?

“Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”“No, Lord,” she said.”

Verse 11 records the only time this woman spoke in this incident. She simply said, “No one, Lord.” to which Jesus replied saying, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more,”

Jesus did not condone what she had done, or dismiss her sin as unimportant, or understandable. He knows, and she does too, that what she has done is wrong. But he condemns the sin, not the sinner, and commands her not to sin again. The woman is called to change.

Christ came to offer grace and truth (John 1:17), while Moses had given the Law. But the two are not contradictory. They work together—the Law condemned, but through grace and truth Jesus offered a way out of the condemnation (John 1:293:17).

This woman committed a serious sin against the community, the sin of adultery. It hurt herself, her family, and the people she knew. She like all of us deserved death, but Jesus in His awesome tender-mercies bestowed unto her a gift of which all others would have deemed her undeserving: His grace, His covering… HIMSELF! His grace empowered her to not sin by reminding her that she’s no longer a slave to it!

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” – John 3:17

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” – Ephesians 1:7

You can’t earn forgiveness from God. You can’t pay for your forgiveness from God. You can only receive it, by faith, through the grace and mercy of God.

He did it for her… He can do it for you!

By Ify Alexis Ossai

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