The story of the woman accused of adultery is quintessential Jesus. His brilliant and adept handling of the situation is as masterful as it is inspiring. Few stories reveal his heart and soul like this one.
“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus. ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?'” They were using this question as a trap in order to have a basis for accusing him.
“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept questioning him he straightened up and said to them. ‘If anyone of you is without sin, let him cast the first stone.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, the accusers began to go away one at a time, until only Jesus was left with the woman standing there. Jesus straightened up and said to the woman. ‘Where are your accusers now? Is there one on to condemn you?’ ‘No one sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.'”
Wow! This story always brings tears to my eyes. Let’s try to briefly analyze and speculate as to what just happened. A group of hypocritical, self righteous religious bigots and their vile lawyers attempted to entrap Jesus. In order to catch this woman in “the act” they would have had to set her up themselves. Desperate for money, she became unwittingly part of their scheme. Once they had their bogus “evidence” they dragged her through the streets with great fanfare and threw her down before Jesus. In their hypocrisy, male chauvinism and disdain for women they did not bring along the man caught with her, as was also required by the law of Moses. Both were to be stoned to death.
Jesus had the perfect opportunity to publicly eviscerate and humiliate these frauds, but chose instead in magnanimous grace to simply foil their plot with one devastating question. He wrote their sins in the dust for them to see as they looked over his shoulder in irresistible curiosity. Realizing he had them cold and could expose them to all who had gathered around, they scurried away like the rats they were. A swipe of Jesus’ sandal, and his writing vanished.
Standing before this quivering soul, who expected at any moment to feel the death blows from the stones ample in that region, Jesus won her heart in an instant with his love and compassion. “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” No Old Testament God here, just the always cool and classy Jesus!