But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."John 8:7(NASB)
The person who is most critical of the faults, failings, and sins of others is often guilty of the self-same faults, failings, and sins. 'When you point a finger of accusation at another, remember you have three fingers of accusation pointing right back at yourself,' as the old saying goes. How often the person who is severely judging his fellowman is the hypocrite who flatters himself of his own uprightness.
Throughout His ministry, Christ had those who hated Him and sought to trip Him up and accused Him of breaking the Law of Moses or flouting the dictates of Rome. In this passage, a band of elders brought a woman caught in adultery, to Him. The Law of Moses demanded adultery be punished by stoning and they asked Jesus what He would do. They said this to test Him, so that they might have grounds to accuse Him. If He recommended her release, He would be breaking the Law of Moses and if not, they could accuse Him before Rome, of inciting murder!
But Jesus said nothing. He simply stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground. "But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, 'He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' Once more Jesus stooped down, and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones. And Jesus was left alone with the woman."
What an incredible example Jesus set. He was not flattered when they asked for his 'advice'. He knew their hearts were full of spite, hatred, and rage. Instead, He demonstrated great restraint and wisdom by not immediately responding to their demands. There are times when a response to ultimatums needs to be considered and prayed through. And although we should always be ready to give an answer for the hope we have in Christ, no one has a right to insist that we comply with their every demand.
We don't know what Jesus wrote on the ground. Some speculate that it listed the sins of the men accusing this woman. Others think it gave Christ time to pray to His heavenly Father for wisdom and guidance, for Jesus only said and did those things that He heard from His Father. However, Jesus was well aware of their trap. "But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, 'He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.'"
In a few words, pregnant with meaning, Christ silences every accusing voice and each pointing finger. Jesus did not excuse this woman's adultery by finding fault with God's law, for later He challenged her to face her wrong-doing and to "go and sin no more." And by His atoning death, she too was forgiven by grace through faith. There is no sin so great that it cannot be forgiven, except the sin of unbelief. For the one who believes in the Son has forgiveness of sin and life everlasting, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son does not have forgiveness, and will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God remains on him.
The punishment for adultery was stoning, but the wages of all sin and every trespass, whether sins of the body or sins of the heart, whether physical sins executed in our body or senses, or spiritual sins undertaken in the secret smugness of our own prideful hearts, the wages of all sin is death, and death means separation from God. But the gift of God is eternal life, which is accessed through the Lord Jesus Christ. He took the punishment for our sin - the punishment that we so justly deserve.
Praise God that Christ is the only one Who has the righteous authority to cast the first stone at you and at me. And how we praise and thank Him that by grace He took our punishment upon Himself, and through faith in Christ, we are forgiven of all our sins through His atoning death. Praise God that by faith the PENALTY of sin has been dealt with. Christ took the punishment we deserve and clothed us in His perfect righteousness.
But in addition, the POWER of sin (the old sin nature's control), can be broken in our lives. Praise God that all who have been born from above can conquer the world, through living a life of faith. We have the power to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil - a supernatural power which is given to us by the indwelling Spirit. This is the victory that has conquered the world, even our faith. Hallelujah!
It is through the indwelling Holy Spirit, that the life of Christ within is able to overcome our innate sin, our old, inherited, imputed sin nature, (the old-man as Paul calls it) that lurks within. And a day is fast approaching when we will be with Christ in heaven and the PRESENCE of sin will be gone forever.
Christ alone had the right to judge the adulteress who stood before Him. He alone had the lawful right to condemn her for her sin. And so, having finished writing in the sand, Jesus stood up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, LORD." This woman KNEW Jesus as her Saviour, for she addressed Him as LORD and no one can call Jesus "Lord" except by the Holy Spirit of God. "And Jesus said, 'neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.'"
May we never forget that we are not to become judge or jury for the sin of our fellow man, for we are all sinners, and only by God's grace have we been forgiven of our sin. Oh, we can judge the false teaching through knowledge of Scripture, and we should judge ourselves, to see if we are walking in spirit and truth, but we are all sinners, saved by grace and for that, we praise and thank our heavenly Father.
May the mind of Christ direct all our actions and attitudes, our thoughts and the motives of our hearts, and may His gracious attitude be reflected in us as we seek to live lives that are pleasing in His sight, for His praise and glory.
Father God, thank You that my sins have been forgiven and there is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus. I confess that there are times when I have been critical of others, forgetting that my own sins were scarlet, but by Your grace have been washed white as snow. Lord, I want to live a life that is pleasing to You. I pray that Your new-life within may display the grace and love of the Lord Jesus towards others, in the same way that You show Your grace and love towards me. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.