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The Third Choice

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The Third Choice

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” (John 8:7 NKJV).

The story told in John 8:1-12 demonstrates how Jesus dealt with broken, sinful lives. It is very clear this story is not at all about the women caught in adultery. How did they catch her in the act? Were they looking for a way to trap Jesus? I imagine they looked hard and long for someone sinning. She was simply a pawn to their plan. This woman was caught in the act of adultery—alone! Was no one else there? I doubt the man’s sin was considered. This story also brings to light our own hypocrisy—we point to the sins of others while holding onto our own.

The Pharisees, religious leaders, lived to the letter of the law. Everything in their world was black or white. People were either all good or all bad. They looked to condemn or condone the lives of others. They told Jesus “such people,” like this adulteress, should be stoned. They set themselves apart—and acts as though they were better and higher than those they considered sinners. They looked to Jesus to either condemn or condone this woman’s actions. They hoped he would condone her actions.stones in the sand pexels

Jesus did not say anything, but wrote in the sand.[1] He knew their hearts, and I can only imagine he was writing each of their sins in the sand—tax cheater, liar, glutton, gossip…. The list goes on. He knew what they were thinking.

If he’d said, “Don’t’ stone her.” It would have discredited his ministry because he would have opposed Moses’ law. If he’d said “follow the letter of the law,” it would have violated his own teaching.

Jesus made a third choice—grace. He encouraged the one in the crowd, who is without sin, to throw the first stone. From the oldest to the youngest, they walked away.  Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”[2]

This story also brings to light our own hypocrisy—we point to the sins of others while holding onto our own. We don’t have to condemn or condone. We can choose grace.

[1] John 8:6

[2] John 8:11 NKJV


About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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