John 8: 1-11
To Throw the Stone
Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.
The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him.
He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her.
“Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”
“No one, Master.”
“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”
‘Anything goes’ or so they say. Some people will accept anything at all because they say that Jesus forgave the woman caught in the act of adultery. He let her go after she had sinned, so that must justify almost anything. However, the last sentence is telling, ‘Go and sin no more’. Jesus gives the woman a second chance but His comment leaves no room for doubt that He does not approve of adultery, it is something that she must not engage in again.
Sometimes we can get so completely swept away on the feel good element of a story of forgiveness like this, that it is easy to become blasé about our faults and failings. Christ will always show us mercy when we are genuinely sorry for our sins but that does not give us carte blanche to do what we like when we like. Certain rules and principles for living must be followed because not only are they designed to protect others from harm or hurt but they also help us to flourish as human beings who have been made in the image of God. ‘Do not commit adultery’, ‘Do not steal’, ‘Do not kill’ etc ,are commands put in place by God to facilitate good relationships between all His peoples. The commands are there for our good and to ignore them would be foolishness in the extreme.
Fr Andrew Ebrahim SDB
No matter how difficult it may be to keep your commands, Lord, give me the humility and strength to at least try to live by them, so that I might actively bring your Kingdom into being through my way of living.