So this week while I was finishing up the book Deceptive Appearances, I had a character stumble across John chapter eight. While writing about a woman’s first look into Jesus’ response to the woman and those who accused her, I had a few exciting thoughts.
I’ve always read this as simply a factual story of Jesus and how He showed compassion and mercy for a woman who could not deny her guilt. However, as I read it this week, I had to go back to the Bible and read it carefully. It’s richer to me now and has a depth I’ve never experienced in previous readings. See, the woman caught in adultery is a perfect picture of me. Am I having an affair? I sure am. I am constantly flirting with the world, and James chapter four says:
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
According to James, I am an adulteress when I align myself with the world instead of with the Lord. And yet, when the woman caught in adultery (and we all know the Lord has me caught red handed before I even sin), Jesus faced her accusers with silence and the simple words, “You who are without sin, cast the first stone.” Satan is my accuser, and yet the Lord says, “She is mine. When I look at her, I see the blood of my Son who died for her. You accuse in vain.” Kind of like when Satan tried to bring Job down and failed.
So, one by one, the men (any who accuse us before the Lord… including OURSELVES) leave and the woman (me) stands alone before the Savior of mankind. He asks where those are who seek to condemn her and her answer is the door to her healing. “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and do not sin anymore.” We’re not condemned. Romans 8: 1. There is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.” (Or close to that… going from memory here).
Notice that Jesus didn’t blast her? She deserved it. She deserved a tongue lashing and probably would have felt a little better had He given her one. Notice that He didn’t make her jump through hoops? We want that, don’t we? We want something to DO. I think that’s where the idea of penance comes from. I kind of understand it. I don’t theologically agree with it, but I do understand it. You feel better if you do something to “pay” for your sin, but you can’t. You can’t. I can’t. I love what Jesus did. He simply said, “Don’t do it anymore.”
It’s an amazing thing. I’m an adulteress and yet the God of Heaven and Earth sees me as spotless bride of Jesus. It’s just incredible.