Monday, April 3, 2006
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts. The Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. Moses commanded us to stone such women. What do you say?"
Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
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. Jesus straightened up. "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."
What is he doing? Why isn't he talking to us? What is he writing there on the ground? Did he even hear what we said?
Jesus, if you are the Son of David you must uphold the law. The law tells us to kill. Have no mercy. Point our fingers at the woman, accuse her, kill her. This is the word of the Lord.
Are you going to protect her?
No, we see that you do not protect her. You only continue writing on the ground. You don't look at her or, for that matter at any of us, as you tell us to examine ourselves.
Yes, we have also sinned. We must answer yes. Yes, we also deserve death. So we won't throw the stones today, lest there be someone to throw stones at us. At our heads. To kill. Because the law condemns us too.
So Jesus, how shall we then live? In the economy of grace, the currency is mercy. Always till now, we have lived in this darkening economy of justice, where the currency was retribution. One ugly deed deserved another. This is all we know, Lord.
Is there no one free from sin? The law has not made us free. All of us are in the same broken, leaky boat; and we'd better not start on each other.
Jesus is the only one with something new. "Is there no one free from sin here? Does no one condemn you? Then, neither do I. You are free."
O Lord, it is only your forgiveness that sets me free. Free to be forgiven, free to forgive, free to be Rich with Mercy.