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.”John 8:7 NIV
Most Bible scholars believe that this story of a woman caught in the act of adultery is an addition to the gospel of John that was added by an unknown scribe. I do not question that, but I believe that all of God’s word is inspired, including this addition. And I believe that this account has something significant to teach us.
The religious leadership of Jesus’ day feared his popularity with the common people and looked for ways to discredit him. And that is what this story is about at one level. Would Jesus advocate following the law and risk losing favor with the people? Or would he turn against the requirements of the law and be branded as one who taught against Moses and the law.
He Who Is Without Sin
But Jesus did neither. He challenged her accusers in regards to their own lives. If any of them were without sin, they had the right to condemn her sin. And, in the end, her accusers recognized, at least for the moment, their sinfulness and walked away. And the one among them who was without sin, Jesus, forgave her.
I need to remember this when tempted to throw stones at people today. There are so many today that I want to condemn for what they are doing. And indeed, much of what happens in the world today is evil. But my place is not to sit in judgment of other people. My role is to be a light that shines in the darkness engulfing our world today. Rather than casting stones, I should be reflecting God’s love for a lost and dying world.