Daily Readings and Thought for April 16th. “NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU


 One of the best known and most quoted incidents in the life of Jesus is when “the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery” [John 8 v.3] and hypocritically asked him what judgement should be made. We deduce that their wily minds reasoned that if he agreed with their statement that “in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women” [v.5] they would carry this out and then put all the blame on him before the Roman authorities, for the Romans had taken away their right to put anyone to death – that is why later they had to bring Jesus to Pilate. If on the other hand Jesus said she should not be stoned, they would make a big point of this before all the people – saying he did not uphold the Law.  They expectantly asked him, “So what do you say?” [v.5]  He did not answer but “bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground” [v.6].  We are tempted to speculate what he wrote, maybe some account of her accusers sins!  

Then comes the sequel which most Christians know well, “he stood up and said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” [v.7].  The result was that “they went away one by one beginning with the older ones” [v.9].  Alone with the woman, Jesus asks, “ ‘has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘1’ ” But then he adds, “go, and from now on sin no more.” [v.10,11]

What a wonderful testimony to the mercy and compassion of Christ toward those conscious of their sins.   But how is it possible to “sin no more”?  Was Jesus asking the impossible?  John’s First Letter provides us with some words to think about as we look at this question.   He writes, “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil” [3 v.8].  We read 2 days ago Jesus said to his 12 disciples, “one of you is a devil.” [John.6 v.70], he knew Judas Iscariot had sold his soul to sinful ways.

Those who have not done so, but struggle with sin, should note what John writes in his epistle, “”let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.  By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything” [1 John 3 v.18-20]  It is good to read the whole context of the point John is making.

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