By Stuart Powell
John 8 tells of an unnamed woman caught in adultery. The Jewish leaders presented the woman to Jesus and asked what he considered an appropriate punishment. There is little doubt the teachers of the law and Pharisees had already condemned this sinner. By presenting her before Jesus, they sought to expose how his compassion stood at odds with the Law of Moses. Without realizing it, they brought the guilty one before God’s anointed judge of all mankind.
Jesus spoke first to the accusers by confronting them with the universal human condition of sin. He allowed that shame before God to sink in, causing every sinner in that crowd to eventually abandon their quest to unleash self-righteous anger on their fellow sinner, the adulterous woman. Finally Jesus spoke to the woman:
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:10-11, English Standard Version).
It was not the day for Jesus to judge. It was a day of grace.
But this will not always be Christ’s response to sin. One day, Jesus will sit on his judgment seat as every person who ever lived stands before him, just like that woman. On that day, Jesus will exercise his authority as God’s judge. He will acquit those who surrendered to God’s grace. He will condemn those who rejected him.
Today is not the day for Jesus to judge. It is a day of grace.
As we partake of these emblems of his grace, let’s remember what Jesus paid for our acquittal. His body, represented by this bread, was bruised in our place. Jesus received the condemnation in his flesh that we deserve. His blood, represented by the contents of this cup, was poured out in pain to take away the stain of sin and the agony of death in our lives.
As you eat and as you drink, listen to Jesus say to you, “Go, and from now on sin no more.”
Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.