On Saturday I shared how the Holy Spirit has had me reading the book of John and revealed some insights into two of the stories there. These insights have had me on a new tangent to understanding what it means to have a change of perspective, specifically when Jesus brings a change to our perspective and how He does this.
This time we’ll look at the story of the adulterous woman…
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” — John 8:1-11 NASB
Oh, the wonder of reading between the lines. The story of the woman caught in adultery is short and yet the mystery that lies between the words is vast. I think one of the first questions I will ask Jesus in eternity is, "What did you write in the sand?”
Yet I suspect each person there saw in those words what they needed to most. Truth is truth when we are speaking of the Bible yet how each of us applies it is a different matter. And need.
Jesus did not condemn this woman (Romans 8:1). He forgave her and set her free. He showed her a different perspective. His, instead of her accusers, which is probably all she knew. Again, He "lifted" her from this place as a sinner and showed her a new possibility, another choice. The veil parted and life entered in.
Did you notice that the older one left first? Did they recognize their own need and darkness? Had wisdom found a place in their years that allowed them to read the words in the dust and see their own hearts? They set into motion a turning away that would perhaps save them as well as the rest.
Perhaps even on the path of restoration…
The woman stood among the crown. She neither spoke or was spoken to until the end. She watched, observing, shifting her perspective from her accusers—her condemners— to the one who will never condemn.
"Where are your accusers?" He asked. It's the obvious question spoken to point out the truth. No one can stand pure on their own ability. To accuse one is to accuse ourselves.
The truth lies in the spoken as well as the unspoken. They are the last two there and Jesus will not condemn her. Perhaps the final question is, "Will you condemn yourself?”
"No, Lord," she said.
He spoke what her aching heart still needed to hear. "Neither do I.”
As Paul says in Romans 8:1 there is no condemnation in Christ. Jesus said and showed it over and over again. And He still does.
Last week I said I had another testimony to share. This is from Stephen Scoggins, author of the Journey Principles, blog. It’s an amazing story of how a friend’s encouragement helped change his perspective in a critical moment.
God is crazy about you, dear friends! Love you!