This morning, as I prepared a message on the section of scripture in John 8 describing the woman caught in adultery, I was struck by something. As the Pharisees brought the woman and put her in front of Jesus they wanted to stone her to death for her sin. What struck me was the part of the story that reads, “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.” It wasn’t Jesus alone with the woman – it was Jesus and the woman together in the midst of the crowd after the religious accusers had left. The crowd was now waiting to see what Jesus would do with this woman and her sin.
Jesus gave us a profound picture of how the Church should live in the crowd of culture. If anyone ever wanted to know the difference between an Old and New Testament prophet this is a prime example. There will always be haters and judgment-casters in our midst who forget that we live in a New Covenant. This new way was not our idea, but God’s. Jesus said He did not come to judge the world, but to save it. He confronted the hypocrisy of the religious establishment of his day and they departed. What was left was an audience of seekers hungry to know the loving God that stood before them.
The most profound sound the guilty and an inquiring culture will ever hear is the thud made by rocks of judgment falling from our hands and hitting the ground whenever truth is spoken in love. The only time we should pick up rocks is to build a memorial to God’s goodness. The rest of the time rocks belong on the earth, not in our hands.
Yes, Jesus did tell her to go her way and sin no more.