This passage of scripture is such a beautiful example of the attitude Christ showed towards people in his pathway here – and the attitude He still has towards us today. It is a passage of great hope.
Jesus was the only one present, completely righteous and holy, without sin, who could have stoned the woman caught in adultery, and yet he says “neither do I condemn thee”.
He doesn’t say that what she has done is okay – because sin is never okay – but he shows an attitude of grace and forgiveness. He simply asks her to “go and sin no more”. Later he says to the Pharisees “Ye judge according to the flesh, I judge no one” (v15). I find this so appealing, so beautiful, because Jesus knew full-well when he said those words that he was going to suffer greatly for the likes of this woman.
He knew he would be stripped to his waist, beaten, bruised, bloodied, spat upon, mocked, nailed to a cross and hung to die as a spectacle before men, for people like this woman, and yet he could still say “neither do I condemn thee”. And that is still his attitude today towards you and I. It is wonderfully illustrative of how He loves you, is for you and desires to bless you, no matter who you are, and what your history is.
And yet it also challenges us as to our attitude to those around us. How do we treat those going on a wayward path, or maybe just in a difficult situation? Do we point the finger, judge and condemn? Do we spread rumours and gossip about them? Or do we draw alongside them, put a hand on their shoulder, and love them despite their failures and foibles? Isn’t that what the Good Samaritan did? Isn’t that what Jesus did and does today?
At the end of the day we all are messy people with messy lives – which is why we need a Saviour! We could all find ourselves in the position of the woman in John 8, so if we see someone else there will we help them out and pick them up, or will we cast stones from a safe distance?
First published in The Wee Leaflet, February 2014.