She laid there, in nothing but a robe. Thrown down in the midst of the crowd. She was humiliated beyond reason, poor and feeling that her lifestyle was thrust upon her because she had to feed herself and there was no other way. She was worthless, a throw away, despised all all those who knew her. Even those she slept with knew she was not worth anything. She had been that way for so long she forgot how she got there. From the time she woke she hated herself yet was backed into a corner as there was no other way to survive. The men treated her as such. They used her to get what they wanted. They hardly talked to her but used her and left. She was lonely and hurting.
Everyone in the village knew her ways. She put up an act that allowed the hurt to stay deep inside – for to do anything else would be detrimental to her profession. The money was not good, but it allowed her to meagerly survive.
This afternoon would be different, but she had no idea. She took the man’s money and went to the bedroom … the facade began.
They needed to corner Him … They needed to bring Him down for he was gaining popularity and was everything that they despised. He was claiming that He was God’s Son, what blasphemy! What gave Him the right to make such claims? They knew the ways of God, they had known it for so long. It was the right way, the only way and to hear of someone coming from Nazareth claiming to be the Messiah was preposterous. How could anything of value ever come from there, least of all the long awaited Messiah! They saw how He looked at them, how He never had good things to say about their ways. He spoke of them harshly … He called them snakes, white-washed tombs. He told others that in order to be residents of Heaven that you had to exceed the righeousness of their kind. What gave Him the right! They spent hours and hours on ways to corner Him and let others see a different view. All they had to do was to use what they knew He had to defend — the law.
They would use what they could to make their point. That person would be a token, a pawn in their plan. They had the right to use her, she was disposable. It would be a small price to pay if it caused others to see the “true” light of who this impostor was. Stoning was the only correct action, even the law said so! She was to be put to death and it would be under His approval. This would put a wedge in his ministry, cause others to see that His preaching of compassion and love for others was no different. He was just a man that had a different teaching, but He couldn’t go against the very law of God. To go against the law would be against even what He regularly taught.
They knew they would not have to wait long. It was a ritual that you could tell time by. It was a no-brainer. She would have a man in her house that afternoon and they would take her in the very act. Everyone would know that they were right in their actions. Everyone would know that they were the righteousness ones, and He was the one would would be wrong. What could he say?
If He agreed with them, she would die at their hands and he would oversee it all. It would show everyone that His talk of compassion for others was just that, talk. There really was no “new way”. The law was the law. There was punishment for certain acts, and this one was a non-negotiable.
If He disagreed with them, then He would be going against the law, and that was enough to have Him brought to the leaders right there and have him arrested.
This was indeed the one plan that was fail-safe. All of them knew it.
They took her in the act, threw a robe on her and drug her out to where He was teaching. They let the man go, there was no need to even talk with him.
They brought her, threw her down and announced to everyone there that she was caught in the actual act of adultery, that stoning was what the law said should happen. They held their noses high in the air. They had him, finally!
Jesus, interrupted from His teaching, saw the facade. Saw her laying on the ground, face down … humiliated. He heard their accusations and He never wavered. He was God, He was Love, He was all wise. He felt compassion for her, knew her not for her sin, but for her hurting. He felt no compassion for the Pharisees. They were the self-righteousness. They thought they were the way to God, they had the only way. He knew immediately what He would do, but took His time…
He bends down and begins to write in the sand. Everyone is quiet … waiting for His next step. They had Him where they wanted Him. He was cornered. Any action that He took would show everyone that they were right, and He was wrong.
Finally, He stands up and says: “Let him who is without sin throw the first stone.”
He went back to writing in the sand.
Jesus went beyond the law, beyond the rules and went straight to the heart, as He always does. The rules had crippled them. Obeying the rules of the law had lead them away from truly serving God. God is a God of relationship and the rules had lead His people away from relationship and into legalism.
One by one, the Pharisee’s dropped their stones starting from the oldest. They knew that He was right. There was nothing that they could tell Jesus otherwise. They were now cornered, and with one sentence! How could they ever see this coming? How could they have known that He had the wisdom to go beyond the law and with one sentence hit the heart?
When everyone was gone, she still laid on the ground, never facing up. Ashamed. He took her by the chin, lifted her head and met her eyes. He asked: “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Jesus always brings the issue to the heart. He goes beyond the rules and deals with the heart. He didn’t condemn the woman but told her to leave what she knew was wrong.
He saved her life, and she owed him so much, but He never expected any payment in return. He had compassion and taught us to look beyond the actions of others and sense their heart.