Imagine the scene: a woman is being forcibly dragged into the temple courts, shoved in front of this man who many were calling the Great Teacher. Jesus gazed at her, knowing she had been accused of adultery and also knowing everything else about her. Her life mattered. Jesus was also aware that the teachers of the law and the Pharisees were trying to trap Him.
We can be sure that the woman felt shame and embarrassment for being caught in adultery and dragged in front of Jesus. What she thought she was doing in secret had now been exposed to the whole community. Her family would disown her and the religious leaders would turn their backs on her. Probably like most of her life, she was simply being used. This time, she was a pawn in the Pharisees’ chess game with Jesus (v. 6). If He called for her stoning, He would be defying the Roman government. And if He let her go, He would be disobeying the Mosaic law.
However, unlike the Pharisees, Jesus saw her for who she truly was: someone who mattered. His response to the crowd was simple, yet convicting: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7). One by one, the crowd disappeared. According to the law, a person could be sentenced to death only with two or more witnesses, but now there were none. Jesus could now release her and still obey the Mosaic law. She was now free and walked away knowing her life mattered to Jesus.
>> What about you? Do you feel shame at the thought of airing your private acts before a holy God? Regardless of the missteps and sin in your life, you matter to God. Just as Jesus declared to the woman, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (v. 11), He is reaching in the same way to us.
Sometimes we run from you, Father, because we are ashamed. We forget that Christ died for our sins, both past and future. You love us even though you know the wrong we will do before we do it! Teach us to run to you when we sin.