The drapes flew wide open exposing the bright sun and the disturbing sounds of loud voices yelling and screaming pierced what was just moments earlier a quiet place. Several people, mostly men, were jostling and tearing apart the room and all its contents. Tables were being overturned in an effort to prevent her from escape.
She had been caught.
She stood gripping her few articles of clothing, holding them tightly against her skin fearing the worse. Pressed up against the wall with her invaders hurling dehumanizing insults only inches from her face, she felt helpless. There was no escaping her captors.
She was without hope.
Suddenly she was seized from behind and what felt like hundreds of hands pounding at her exterior, fingers pointing, eyes darting — all seemed to be more tolerable than the cruelty of the words now slashing into her soul.
She is exposed.
Dragged out and onto the streets as if to declare some twisted conquest, her accusers bring her to a public place where she is openly labeled and mocked — ‘adultery’ they shouted.
Now the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in the center of the court, and they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the very act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women [to death]. So what do You say [to do with her — what is Your sentence]? John 8:3-5 AMP
It’s one thing to openly make known your dark hidden secrets — you are in control of the how, when and where of disclosing details and information. But when you are not the instigator and originator of such revelation, it is a mighty force with which to be reckoned. The unfolding of minute bits and pieces in the hands of strangers can be nothing less than devastating to the human spirit.
Here in the eighth chapter of the Book of John we read a brief passage about an unnamed woman that was apparently ‘caught’ in the act of adultery. Some will speculate that she was set up — after all, how would anyone (beyond her cohort in crime) know of her whereabouts at that specific day and time? Or was she someone with a ‘known reputation’ in town — and this was her means of income for survival? Maybe she was ‘victim’ to a man who was a womanizer who had sought her out to be his next acquired trophy — she may have mistakenly trusted his smooth words of reassurance that it would be their little secret.
We have no other details other than she was caught and exposed.
I find it interesting that this incident took place on the Mount of Olives. Historically, the Mount of Olives is known to the Jewish culture as a sort of burial ground — cemetery. The land itself consists of sedimentary rock, composed of both the soft chalk and hard flint. Ironic isn’t it? That this very spot, where harshness of the law came face to face with the yielding compassion of mercy turned out to be the very spot a torn soul would be given the chance for a new beginning — a new life.
They said this to test Him, hoping that they would have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and began writing on the ground with his finger. However, when they persisted in questioning Him, He straightened up and said, “He who is without [any] sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:6-7 AMP
I could only imagine the stillness of the crowd and the roaming eyes now looking to see what would happen next. Were they reasoning that Jesus could not have possibly known their past history? Or were they experiencing flashbacks of past memories as each one of them stopped short of taking the first shot? Was the accused trembling for her life waiting for the first condemning stone to impact her skull? Or had she conceded to the fact that her life was now over and to die from impact of the stones would be less painful than the words inflicting guilt and shame?
Then He stooped down again and started writing on the ground. They listened [to His reply], and they began to go out one by one, starting with the oldest ones, until He was left alone, with the woman [standing there before Him] in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She answered, “No one, Lord!” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]. John 8:8-11 AMP
BOOM! Jesus dropped the mic on that topic faster than the woman’s accusers could drop their stones and run. He just has that way of putting things in their proper places.
For the woman who went from hiding to abiding, we see how her proper place (as is ours) is in the forgiveness lane of life. Jesus does that for us when we meet up with Him. And as is the case with so many of us, that come-to-Jesus-meeting is usually unexpected.
Makeup smeared and hair a hot mess, she likely walked away asking herself, “What just happened here?!” One moment she’s sneaking around trying to remain hidden from within her sin, the next moment she’s out in the open and displayed as forgiveness in motion with no one to contest her existence.
She was hauled into center court of a cemetery — that’s where Jesus called her to bury her dead self. All made possible by the grace of GOD. She emerged a new woman with a chance to start over again. Only by the grace of GOD.
That dead place where things rot and are often forgotten — that’s where Jesus said ‘Go.’ He wanted her to immediately start living life (the way it was intended) — not to remain stuck in pouring over how awful her life had been up to that point. Not to dwell and remain stuck for any number of weeks, months, years before heading out. He said, ‘Go.’
Girlfriend, if you’re feeling like your heels are glued to the floor because of things from your past, remember that Jesus didn’t call you to be stuck. That ooze on the bottom of your shoes will hold you back and slow you down. It’s called self-condemnation, unworthiness, undeserving, unfit …
But GOD … Says, “I don’t condemn you … GO!”
Go out there and tell others what freedom feels like! Go and tell the world where you received this thing called forgiveness! GO and sin no more.
The Mount of Olives just also happened to be the place where Jesus would go to retreat from the world. He took rest there. A subtle reminder that while we are free to go out and live anew, we must remember to rest in knowing our freedom from sin came from Him.
- Are you living in that freedom, Sweet Friend? What is presently keeping you up at night that needs GOD’s BIG Hands to take hold of?
- What forward steps do you need to take to leave self-condemning thoughts behind you?
- Who can you trust to talk and pray with you over your situation?
Too often we are our own judge and jury. Don’t cast stones at yourself, step back and step aside to let GOD handle it. You are more precious than sparrows that fall from a tree. You were worth dying for. Now GO!
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary