Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Answer

Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”  John 8:10-11 (NLT)

One of the most stunning illustrations of grace in Scripture is Jesus speaking to the woman caught in adultery. Dragged out into the streets by prideful judging Pharisees, she’s cast before a crowd surrounding Jesus. The lawful religious leaders yearned to punish the woman as well as scrutinize Jesus’ reaction to her sin. Harassing Him, they asked, “What are you going to do, Master?”

Her humiliating tears wet the earth as Jesus broke the silence. “Did anyone condemn you before they left,” He asked, revealing the absence of her accusers. Condemnation stopped dead in its tracks and turned away. He said, “I don’t condemn you either. Now go and sin no more.”

Wait a minute. What happened between the nags of the Pharisees and the offering of grace to the woman? What caused the religious leaders to turn away? How did Jesus’ response to their questions affect the religious leaders, the crowd, the woman? Read the passage below from the New Living Translation of Scripture and discover the answer. 

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”  (John 8:1-11)

The vain teachers of the law who seized the adulterous woman and paraded her before the crowd around Jesus assumed the role of judge and jury. They secretly desired her punishment of stoning to take place in the streets. They put Jesus to the test, attempting to trap Him into a ruinous reply. Shock and surprise lit the faces of everyone when Jesus responded. 

He quietly stooped to the ground and wrote with His finger. Possibly these words appeared in the sand—MERCY and GRACE—while hate loudly spewed from conceited condemning lips. Suddenly silence gripped the crowd when Jesus stood up and spoke. “Okay, if you’ve never ever done anything wrong, then pick up a rock and hurl it at her.” Jesus knelt back down and wrote in the dust. Did the word FORGIVENESS appear?

Ashamed the Pharisees slumped their shoulders and slipped away one by one. Only Jesus and the woman stood in the midst of the silent crowd. His answer to her crime, “No one condemns you, not even Me. Now go, and don’t sin anymore.” 

Wow. The law demanding punishment existed for years, yet the Man before her unexpectedly spoke mercy and grace. He withheld punishment and offered unmerited favor. In other words, she didn’t get what she deserved. Instead she got what she didn’t deserve. Grace overpowered law. Double wow. Thank you, Jesus!

Did she render thanks? Did she turn away from her sin? Jesus offered her mercy. Did she receive His forgiving grace? Did she obey His command to sin no more? Scripture doesn’t answer all those questions, but the Word exemplifies a compassionate Savior, overflowing with grace and mercy! Have you encountered Him?

Look at another illustration of God’s forgiveness. Read the excerpt below from the fifteenth chapter of Luke about another sinner’s encounter with merciful grace.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. (verses 17-24 NIV)

Again God demonstrates mercy and grace, love and forgiveness through Jesus’ parable of The Prodigal Son. The lost son repented and his father offered compassionate grace. 

Both stories are similar as mercy and grace prevail. They differ because one person repents first, the other person is told to sin no more. Different people, different scenario. Same Savior, same answer. “I love you and I don’t condemn you. Receive my grace and mercy and stop sinning!

Have you encountered our compassionate Savior Jesus Christ? He meets you in your weakness. Have you received His forgiveness and mercy? He freely offers His comfort. Have you turned away from sin? He waits patiently for your obedience. Seek the truth of God’s Word and accept His gracious answer. Live in His exemplary love!

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