The Compassion of Jesus
One of many people’s favorite accounts in the Bible is that of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. Why is this story so beloved? Let’s take a look and consider that question.
John 8: 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
What it is about this story that makes is so wonderful? Certainly, Jesus’ compassion and mercy being demonstrated to this woman points to what all sinners desperately need.
We all love it when Jesus puts the accusers in their place. What do you think that Jesus was writing in the sand? No one knows but one interesting theory is that is Jesus began writing the sins of everyone. First, the sin of adultery and then the sins of the others in the crowd. Interesting to think about but whatever he wrote it made His point. We are all alike under sin. (Romans 3:9)
And we love that Jesus does not condemn her. But let’s also notice Jesus’ closing comment, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus doesn’t say that adultery is not a sin. Jesus invites the sinner to trust in him for forgiveness (saving faith) and to turn from their sins (repent) and instead to walk in His ways (live by faith).
Jesus gives us all the same opportunity. Trust in Him, be forgiven by Him, and walk with Him. Will you follow Him by faith today?