Friday night I couldn’t sleep. I was wondering about my last post Forgive or Not. I began to pray, I discussed with Him the joy I felt over this passage in John Chapter 8.
I had to wrap my head around how much the ornament and the passage meant to me. “But still the art represents something sad. Why do I feel joy?” I argued. “I want to understand,” I said to my Lord.
The circles and ovals painted on the ornament represent our very human tendency to judge quickly, and take action without thinking. The artwork depicts our knee-jerk reactions. “Cast the first stone,” is what the card says. Jesus’ words in John 8:7 [KJV]* are:
“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
Like most Christians, I got the big message We are forgiven! But my thoughts took me in a slightly different direction that night. We Christians know how easy it is to judge. We know how often we fail in this directive. This is initially why I wanted to weep when I understood the artwork. I saw my sin.
In the night, God nudged me to get up and write about it. I told Him already wrote about it. But there’s more, whispered back. Hmm I thought as I got up, grabbed a pen and paper. Then the words flowed. I wrote these phrases:
- Imagine picking up a stone to throw in judgement at this sinner.
- Listening to Jesus’ answer, looking down at the stone.
- Realizing the message from the Creator
- We all have sinned
- None without sin
- Who throws the first stone?
- Dropping the stone
- Stepping away
I began to pray as I wrote: Where did they go?
Think about it, out was my answer. So I did, where did they go…
John describes Jesus as teaching in the temple when they drug in the woman accused of adultery. It was the scribes and the Pharisees that questioned him. Or as the Apostle John says, “...tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.” There’s more, if Jesus was teaching in the temple when they brought her in, all of the people listening to Jesus teach would have been there.
Many of them would have been ready to drag her out to stone her along with the leaders of the faith. It was the law. It was what they grew up knowing. How frightening for the woman. She was surrounded by accusers. She could not deny her sin.
Her one hope was a man teaching in the temple. She may not have known about Jesus. If she did know of Him, she may not have understood He is the Messiah. There couldn’t have been much hope because she had to know they were using her to entrap Him. Terrified she was probably preparing herself to die.
Jesus doesn’t speak. They push him. This is where he rises and instructs them. Then I find in verse 9:
“And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”
Again, where did they go? I think they went to contemplate what Jesus said. Maybe some wept in sorrow for their sins. Maybe they wept in joy like I did. Just like the woman they accused. They were given a choice to choose forgiveness.
What is so great about the ending of this passage? The accusers took the chance at forgiveness. They choose God that day. They did the “right thing.” There is joy in learning how to do what God does. When we stop and think about what God does, we learn to be like him.
“10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
The people, scribes, Pharisees, apostles, and woman, were offered forgiveness that day. This is where I find the joy in my ornament called “Cast the First Stone.” Forgiveness is offered daily…Will you ask for it? Will you take it?
Grasp the forgiveness and take it with you today! Many Blessings my friends,
*John 8:1-11 [KJV]