December 7, 2022 – John 7:53-8:11 – Weakness and Grace

Today we will be reading from John 7:53-8:11:

53 Then each of them went home, 8 1 while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and began to teach them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and, making her stand before all of them, 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, sir.”  And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

This story is one of the classics, one of the most beloved in all of Scripture. It’s one we’ve read, one we’ve preached or heard preached about. One that we know. There are so many places and things we could look at or point to in this passage.  

But let me tell you what I a struck by now.  It’s those who walked away.  They had the right to stone this woman. As said here in the law, they had the right. She had violated the law.  By that, she should have been stoned to death. 

They could have done it. Some would argue they should have done. Jesus said he who is without sin cast the first stone. We all know that part of the story, don’t we?  We all have heard it. 

But notice how they walked away.  They started with the oldest to the youngest. It was the oldest who dropped their rocks first; it was the oldest who understood they also had sinned.  It was the oldest that showed grace.  

I think, or hope, that this shows the older we are, the more we age and mature, hopefully, the more we should show grace to others.  Our age should produce maturity, which should produce wisdom, which should produce grace.  

Are we doing that today?  As we mature, do we show more or less mercy?  More or less grace?  More or less kindness?  As we mature, are we the first to cast a stone at those who have done wrong? Are we the first to drop the stone and show grace? 

I like what John Wesley said, “ The longer I live, the larger allowances I make for human infirmities. I exact more from myself, and less from others. Go thou and do likewise!“  

They could have stoned her. But they understood weakness.  They showed grace.  There are those who we want to stone today. Do we understand weakness?  Will we show them grace?  

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