Thoughts on John 8:2-11
God of grace
Psalm 18:27 "You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty."
In Jesus’ day difficult questions were brought to the Rabbi for a decision, but the question in today’s reading was set to trap Jesus.
The Law of Moses instructed that such a woman should be stoned to death. So if Jesus pardoned her then he would be declared a fraud because he disregarded the Law. On the other hand if Jesus condemned her to be stoned he would be violating his own message of repentance and forgiveness and fall foul of Roman law. Only Roman courts could confer the death penalty.
After Jesus wrote in the dust on the ground with his finger while they continued firing questions he stunned his accusers into silence with the words. "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" v7. He sliced through the hypocrisy of the teachers of the law and the Pharisees because his words can be interpreted as ‘if anyone is without this sin’ or ‘if anyone is without this sin with this woman’.
The grace of God means we receive much more than we deserve. The woman walked away with a new start in life. Her accusers remained steeped in their sin and hypocrisy.
God’s grace will often disagree with our sense of justice. The parable of the vineyard workers in Matthew 20:1-16 demonstrates grace. The late recruits received the same pay as those who had put in a full shift! Unfair? Or an example of grace because the late workers received much more that they deserved?
No surprise here because the Gospel is a ‘much more’ message. Have a look at Romans 5:8-17. ‘How much more did God’s grace overflow to many’ v15. ‘How much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and righteousness reign in life through one man’.
God’s grace puts our sins into perspective. ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her’. Jesus does not condemn the woman’s act of adultery more than the teachers’ of the law and Pharisees’ act of cruelty and hypocrisy. ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ Roman 3:23
Grace always looks to restore and not condemn. The teachers and Pharisees slinked away without any forgiveness for their blatant hypocrisy and cruelty but the woman was released onto a pathway of restoration. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin’ v11.
‘Jesus the Name to sinners dear, the name to sinners given; it scatters all their guilty fear, it turns their hell to heaven’ Charles Wesley
Let’s take time to confess our sins to God and thank him for his grace and mercy. Pray for people you know to encounter Jesus. Take time to worship God today. Why not listen to the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’.
Elfed Godding, 06/09/2020