1. Susan Schmidt

    Throw the First Stone


    I knew it was wrong, yet I did it anyway. I followed my heart and my emotions, and I am now reaping the consequences. My heart is beating loudly as I know what is going to happen to me. I was caught in an act of adultery and Moses’ law says that I am to be stoned. I am being led through the streets by the Pharisees and teachers of the religious law, and I do not know where I am being taken. I have someone on each side of me holding my arms so that I cannot escape. I try to slow them down and drag my feet and hold back as much as possible.

    As we are moving through the streets I see the curious stares of others looking at me as we move along. Some of them turn away, others look at me wondering what I may have done, and still others look with sneers. I turn away from them so they cannot see my face, and I lower my head as well. The dust from the street covers my feet and clouds of it rise as we pass by.

    I see the Temple ahead with a crowd of people gathered around. As we approach the crowd, I hear Jesus speaking to them. Those holding onto my arms push their way through the crowd to where Jesus is seated. He pauses in His talk and stands as He looks at them curiously.

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

    Jesus continues to search their faces and then He does something very curious. He stoops down and begins writing in the dust. Those who brought me here first look at each other and I can see the looks that they are exchanging. They anticipated a quick response from Him, and when He does not reply, they continue to demand an answer from Him.

    He stands up and says, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” He then stoops down again and continues to write in the dust. Though I am close to Him, I cannot see what He is writing, and He keeps His head down as He continues to write.

    During this exchange I am standing here waiting for the first stones to strike my body and anticipating the pain that is to come. My heart is beating rapidly, and I look around nervously wondering if there is any way that I can escape what is sure to come.

    But an amazing thing happens! First one elder and then another drop their heads, turn, and walk away as they drop the stones that they were carrying. Soon others who brought me here silently slip away one by one and I realize that there is no one left who accused me and brought me here. I am left standing alone with Jesus with the crowd watching expectantly and waiting to hear how Jesus will respond.

    Jesus then stands once again, and I feel His eyes on me. I raise my head and look into His face where I see compassion radiating from Him. He looks at me and asks, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

    I gaze at Him with relief pouring over me and my heart returning to normal. “No, Lord,” I reply. I am amazed at what has transpired and words fail me.

    “Neither do I. Go and sin no more,” was His response.

    The forgiveness and love radiating from Him flow over me as I turn to go.

    Insight: The story of the adulterous woman is found in John 8:1-11.

    The law required that parties to adultery be stoned (Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22). The law also stated that a person could be put to death only with two or more witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15). (Faculty of Moody Bible Institute, 2014). As no witnesses remained to condemn her, Jesus released her.

    Prayer:  Father, Thank You for seeing me through eyes of love and compassion. Thank You for extending to me the gift of forgiveness when I come to You and confess my sins. May I accept that forgiveness and as I step back into the world, know that Your forgiveness goes with me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

    Copyright 2023

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