Sunday, April 7, 2013

Unjustly Embarrassed

Let's go back a few thousand years...

The horizon releases the sun as morning is breaking on the Mount of Olives. Soft wisps of amber, coral, and tangerine mingle with the delicate blue sky. A gentle breeze caresses the grass and wild flowers, evaporating the frailly placed dew. The birds begin to awake from their nap and start their lovely songs to welcome the new day.

The soft filtered light scatters through the leaves of the olive trees, creating ethereal stepping stones, ushering in a special visitor seeking the seclusion and serenity offered on the mount.

And on this particular morning, a special visitor does come. Jesus spends time in prayer with His Father. When He has finished, He leaves His mount of prayer unhurried, but with a destination in mind.

People from all around fill the temple to sit in His presence and to listen to Him teach. He sits in their midst, but is halted by a rude but not uncommon interruption from the Pharisees. They thrust a woman before Him.

They say, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act!"

She was seized from the privacy of a bedroom and dragged into the scornful eyes of the public. How unfair. How mortifying.

Was she clothed at all? How did they find her? Did someone see her solicit her paramour? Did they eavesdrop? Was this a set up to trap Jesus since the male counterpart of this scandal is nowhere to be seen?

She hangs her head, trying to hide the embarrassment turning her face red as she stands next to Jesus in the midst of the crowd. Every eye is focused on her. Her eyes fill with tears as hatred hardens her heart.

These self-appointed vigilantes of virtue continue, threatening to throw the rocks clutched tightly in their fists.


They continued, “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?”

It is a trap. The Pharisees wonder if He will let her go, abandoning the Law, or throw the first stone, thus upholding the Law. All eyes were back onto Jesus for a few moments. The Pharisees and impressionable crowd are not seeking justice, merely some evidence to use against Him. The scene was only marginally about the adulterous woman; it was about trapping Jesus. She was merely being used and, in return, was openly drowning in her humiliation and shame.

Just silence from Jesus. Instead of responding, He bends down and begins writing in the dirt with His finger, ignoring their continued questions and confused stares. Is He making a list of sins?

The Pharisees and teachers stand there, steaming with frustration and spite.

Jesus looks accusingly at them as He stands and commands, “Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."

Again, He stoops down and continues to write in the dirt.

One by one, the crowd slips away. Convicted by their consciences, they stumble over their own feet as they backtrack. A flurry of thuds is heard as the stones are hitting the dusty ground.

Jesus stood back up to see the crowd dispersing. No one is near Him but the accused woman with tears streaming down her relieved face.

In His gentle voice, He said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

Still trembling and with a racing mind, she gazes up into His loving eyes and manages to utter, “No one, sir.”

He responds, “Then either do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”

He smiles that glorious, forgiving smile at her. With more tears streaming down her face, this time of joy and relief, she thanks Him profusely as she turns around to start her new life.

John 8:1-11

1 comment:

  1. True beauty and understanding in a world of pain. Thanks for sharing this.