Saturday after Jubilate
Scripture: St. John 8:1-11 (NKJV)
8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him.
But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. 7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Jesus teaches us the distinction between the Law and the Gospel. The Law decrees that this woman, who has been caught in the act of adultery, be stoned. This is what the Law does. It condemns sinners. This woman surely felt that condemnation in her heart. The scribes and Pharisees imagine that they are without sin. The Law has done its work on the woman. It has not done its work on these men. So Jesus says, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” The Law now convicts these men so that they leave in shame. Jesus has shown them to be sinners as well.
The difference between this adulterous woman and her accusers is that the scribes and Pharisees don’t stick around to hear Jesus’ next word to sinners. The woman, feeling her sin and burdened with guilt, remains behind to hear Jesus’ word to sinners who know their sin. “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” This is the kingdom of Christ: Sins being removed as far as the east is from the west, transgressions cast into the depths of the sea, and iniquities blotted out. This woman is released from her sin and instructed to avoid that sin from now on.
Christ continues to do His gospel work in the Church where He daily and richly forgives all our sins. When the Law condemns you for your sins, flee to Jesus for refuge from God’s wrath and receive absolution. Then, go and sin no more. Strive against sin and do not let it reign in you.
We pray: Heavenly Father, forgive our sins, which are many, for the sake of Christ’s sufferings and death. Give us joy in the absolution and strengthen us to go and sin no more. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.