“…neither do I condemn you…go and stop sinning.”
The story of an adulterous woman being brought to Jesus for judgment (John 8:1-11) is one of the most touching incidents recorded in the Gospels. Apparently the men who accused the woman had caught her in the act of adultery.
It is obvious that those who brought the woman had little concern for her redemption. They only brought her to Jesus in order to trap Him in His words. If Jesus said, “Let her go.” the accusers would then say to the Jews that Jesus did not uphold the law of God concerning people who sinned as she did.
If Jesus had said that she should be punished as the Law of Moses stated, then He would be speaking against the law of the Romans and the accusers would see to it He was soon in trouble with them. So it did not matter if Jesus said, “Yes” or “No” the trap would spring and Jesus would be caught.
The accusers of the woman were not as clever as Jesus however, because He presented them with a third alternative. “Let the one here who is not a sinner be the first to cast a stone at her.” This statement by Jesus confused them. Not one of the accusers there had the arrogance to say that he was not a sinner so no one was willing to pick up a stone to cast at the woman.
Yet, there was one person there who was not a sinner. That person was Jesus and He did not pick up a stone and throw it at her.
Embarrassed at being trapped by Jesus, the men began leaving the scene starting with the oldest first. Finally no one but Jesus and the woman were in the place. Jesus asked the woman where her accusers were and were they still condemning her. The woman said that no one was condemning her now. Jesus told her that He did not condemn her either. Such is Jesus’ love for sinners.
In John 3:17 it is written that the Father did not send Jesus into the world to condemn sinners but to save them. Jesus wanted this woman to be delivered from her sins and the only way for that to happen was for her to repent. So Jesus said to her, “Go and stop sinning.”
This is a most gracious and tender word from Jesus to the embarrassed, humiliated woman. He did not name the offense against God’s law rather He encouraged her to turn from sin and learn to walk in the way of the Lord.
Perhaps today you have been caught in some sin for which you are truly ashamed. Jesus would have you forgiven for the sin and calls on you to turn from it and embrace Him. He genuinely offers you forgiveness for anything you know you have done against the will of a holy God. He has authority to forgive and extends His gracious offer to you. Will you turn and seek Him right now? He waits to be gracious to those who accept His offer of forgiveness. Come to Jesus and come today.