“But What Do You Say?”
“But what do you say…” I think this was one of the most powerful questions that Jesus was ever asked in the entire Bible. His answer is the most important answer for our lives in the here and now.
3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
We may not think we are as bad off as this woman that was caught in the very act of adultery but actually we are most likely worse…
Imagine the shame and the guilt that she must have felt in that moment, to be paraded in front of all the important leaders of the day, knowing that with every passing minute she was getting closer to her most certain death. She was being brought before the most righteous and holy person to ever walk the earth, all the while her accusers where sneering at the fact that there was no possible way for this “Friend of Sinners” to not agree that she must be stoned. Finally the moment arrived, they had finally made it from the chambers of her greatest failure to what would become her final resting point. “But what do you say about her…” She must have been waiting for the guilty verdict to be handed down, I wonder if in that moment she almost felt a sense of relief, knowing that all the shame she was carrying was about to be over. However she was kept waiting for moments that probably felt like hours, her judge was too busy writing in the sand.
“while He had disqualified all her accusers of throwing the first stone He had certainly qualified Himself to throw one”
Then those first words were uttered, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”, this was it, the moment her shame was about to finally end because while He had disqualified all her accusers of throwing the first stone He had certainly qualified Himself to throw the first one. But then something strange happened, one by one all her accusers started to walk away, I wonder if fear arose in her heart, knowing that she must continue to live with all the shame and guilt in her heart. Then He spoke again, asking her to look around and see if there was anyone left to accuse her and finding none she prepared her heart for what would come next, finally she would know the answer to the accusers question “but what do you say about her….”
Why are we in a worse situation than this woman? You see, she only had to endure the shame, guilt, and condemnation for a moment and then she encountered the goodness of Jesus who only said and did what He heard His Father say and do. She experienced what a good Father had to say through Jesus and in a moment all the shame melted away. We are in a worse place because we keep carrying around shame, guilt, and condemnation for our past mistakes and sin even though a Good and Perfect Father has declared over us NOT GUILTY! If you are still carrying around shame and condemnation from your past then let the Father speak over you today and hear His words “Then neither do I condemn you…”
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