John 8 7 They kept on asking Jesus about the woman. Finally, he stood up and said, “If any of you have never sinned, then go ahead and throw the first stone at her!” 8 Once again he bent over and began writing on the ground. 9 The people left one by one, beginning with the oldest. Finally, Jesus and the woman were there alone.
10 Jesus stood up and asked her, “Where is everyone? Isn’t there anyone left to accuse you?”
11 “No sir,” the woman answered.
Then Jesus told her, “I am not going to accuse you either. You may go now, but don’t sin anymore.”
Who have you judged?
Are you free from sin yourself?
What do you think Jesus would have said?
From SU word on the Web
What is going on?
On 11 November 2011, a group of armed men in Afghanistan stoned and shot dead a woman and her daughter, accused by the Taliban of ‘moral deviation and adultery’. Stoning… it’s still happening today. In at least six countries in the world, stoning is a legal punishment for adultery. Here, it is as if John has held up his smartphone and pressed ‘record’.
As the Jewish ‘church leaders’ wait for judgement from Jesus, the tension is palpable. This is not just a dramatic pause for the TV cameras. They, in the first century, and we, in the twenty-first, are genuinely wondering what is going on in Jesus’ mind. Is it uncertainty, anger, prayer? Whichever it is, he is not going to be pressured into an instant reaction.
When Jesus’ verdict comes, it’s a shock to everyone. Wonderful for the woman, but shocking to the teachers of the Law. Doubly shocking, in fact, for not only does it mean the woman goes unpunished, but that Jesus believes himself to be God.
In Capernaum, the teachers of the Law are similarly shocked when Jesus heals and forgives a paralysed man: ‘Only God can forgive sins!’ they say, horrified (Mark 2:7 CEV). Nevertheless, these powerful men bow to Jesus’ judgement – and the woman is given a new lease of life.