Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative to present Jesus in the context he walked in with the unknown disciple that narrates introducing my thoughts and sparking more ideas with his questions. Enjoy.
We stayed in the city, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
At dawn, he appeared again in the temple courts. At this point, he drew a crowd wherever he appeared. Looking over the group-us among them-he sat down to teach them.
“Make way!” came the shout.
Had the temple guards returned? I stood to look, seeing the teachers of the law and the Pharisees forcibly bringing a woman with them.
“What is going on here?” Thomas asked.
They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now, what do you say?”
This is true. But it’s a half-truth. In Leviticus, it’s written, “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.”
Young John said to me, “Where’s the man she was with?”
Peter said, “They are using this question as a trap, to have a basis for accusing him.”
Matthew, as a former employee of Rome, said, “Roman law doesn’t allow the execution of anyone without the governor’s permission, making death sentences for adultery impossible to carry out. If Jesus as a prophet of restoration insists on following Biblical teaching about stoning, as his critics may expect him to, he can be accused to the authorities as undermining Roman order.”
We stared at him.
“How’s he going to get out of this?” Andrew wondered aloud.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
“What’s he writing?”
“I can’t see.”
The Pharisees and teachers kept questioning him.
“What’s it going to be? What do you say?”
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.”
Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
The crowd murmured, “Everyone has sinned.”
“Who can stone her then?”
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
I watched her hug him, crying, promising to do just that and run home to tell everyone. I thought of a couple of things.
One, of all of us, he was the only one who could stone her. He was sinless. Why didn’t he? What did he know that I didn’t?
Secondly, he didn’t condemn her. He did tell her to stop sinning. She was judged guilty, yet pardoned…forgiven…