Chances are many of you reading this didn't grow up a believer, or perhaps had a time in your life where you wandered and indulged in a lifestyle of sin. I've been there and done both. I get it that it's hard and can understand the journey that you've had. I didn't grow up in a Christian home or grow up a believer. And seven years into my walk with God I experienced a huge moral failure that both set me back significantly professionally, emotionally, and spiritually, but also stripped me so much of the things and people I loved most. But through all of that, I was offered the most beautiful gift of redemption and experienced tremendous lengths of grace.
In John 8 we find an incredible story about a woman caught in adultery who encounters Jesus. We don't know much about her other than she was married and she was caught in the act of adultery. At that time, the punishment for such a sin was death by stoning. Therefore, the Pharisees bring her to such judgment while at the same time attempting to test Jesus.
They bring the woman before Jesus while in the temple, where no doubt he had a large audience to observe the entrapment. They ask him what should be done, thinking that he'll either obey that law to stone her and perhaps seems harsh, or not obey the law and therefore they would be able to bring a charge against him for disobeying the law. But in true Jesus fashion, and I love this, he responds in a way they don't see coming at all!
Jesus tells them that whoever hasn't sinned can cast the stone. As we all know, everyone has sinned. And I mean everyone, except Jesus. He could have, but he didn't. The Pharisees had obviously all sinned so how could they judge her. One by one the peel off until it's just her and Jesus. This woman who had recently been caught in adultery--no doubt carrying shame and guilt--is now left alone with the holy Son of God.
I can only imagine the sheer awe, humility, and again shame she must have felt. I've felt something so similar in my own sin. In fact, in that place of knowing I've failed God all I want to do is be as far from Him as possible, not because I want to be away from Him (in fact, I want to be so near to Him), but because I feel so ashamed and unworthy of His grace. Have you felt that before? If so, perhaps you can understand in some way what this woman may have been experiencing.
This woman had a life changing experience with Jesus on the precipice of death. When she thought she would receive a stoning she instead received grace. This story is echoed time and again in the New Testament; sinners experiencing an encounter with Jesus that would forever change their life.
Jesus wants to do the same for you today. If you're battling a temptation or find yourself caught in a lifestyle of sin, Jesus is right there for you like he was for the woman in John 8. And just like then he wants to extend incredible grace to you now. Will you receive as the woman did and watch Jesus use your life in profound ways?
- Is there someone in your life--family, friend, coworker--that you can show grace and truth to? How can you represent Christ to them?
- Are you living in a lifestyle of sin? Jesus is longing for relationship with you! Repent as the woman did; turn from your sin and go!