“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.”
Have you ever felt like it would be so much easier to follow Jesus if it weren’t for other people? Other people making you angry? Other people not doing what they are supposed to be doing? It can be so easy to blame others for all the reasons why we fall short, especially after such a tense year of both intense isolation and intense togetherness. Fortunately, God’s grace is big enough for you and that difficult person across the hall. The way Jesus responded to those who came up short can teach us how we can respond to those around us too.
As week two is coming to an end, let’s spend some time listening and reflecting on Jesus’s response to those around him, specifically those who keep failing and falling.
Read John 8:1-11 three times through, pausing in between each time. Imagine the scene in your mind.
Reflect on how Jesus responded. Reflect on how the woman responded.
Write down any reflections that come to mind.
“Jesus, thank you for your tenderness and mercy to those who fall short. Help me extend that same mercy to those around me.”