Picture yourself witnessing the scene recorded in John 8:1-11. You’re a student in the temple courts, listening to a brief seminar by the wildly popular but controversial new rabbi, Jesus. A commotion stirs in the back of the classroom, and you turn to see a group of respected Pharisees dragging a woman to the front, next to where Jesus is seated. Her hair is disheveled, her clothes are obviously hastily thrown on, and she’s crying. With her hair hanging in her face, she stares at the temple floor. You’ve seen her in town before, maybe in the market, with her family? One of the Pharisees points his finger and announces, “We caught this woman in the act of adultery!” The others murmur accusations in agreement. You want to drop your eyes to the floor. You feel her embarrassment, but you can’t stop yourself from watching. The image will be burned in your brain for eternity.
But then, all the attention turns to Jesus. A debate ensues between him and the most erudite of the Pharisees. You’re accustomed to debate at the temple, but what’s unusual about this interaction, is the way the new rabbi argues. He uses few words. His only answer is a loose quote from the first book of the Law; Deuteronomy 17:7 … “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to thrown a stone at her.” He keeps stooping down to doodle in the sand, then stands back up. You can’t see what he’s writing. The Pharisees seem perplexed. Some look red-faced, others just stunned. There’s an uncomfortable silence in the space, broken only by the shuffling of feet of those turning to leave, one by one. No one speaks, not even your classmates as they quietly gather their things and tiptoe out.
You’re the last to leave and as you walk down the hallway, you can faintly overhear voices echoing from the classroom, “Where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” “No one sir.” “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” You think to yourself, “Wow, I haven’t heard that in temple before. As you exit the temple courts, the sun seems brighter and as you squint and you think to yourself, “I’m glad I didn’t skip class today … I wonder what’s cooking at the cafeteria?” You call out across the quad to a classmate, “Hey Betzalel, wait up!”
Something to think about.
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