7 Minute Read + Scripture readings
Today’s Bible Reading:
Today’s Bible Verse(s):
“When they persisted in questioning him, he stood up and said to them, ‘The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.’”
John 8:7 (CSB)
Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):
In the Scripture, we read of quite a few people who were stoned to death. Some were killed this way because they had intentionally violated a law of God that exposed others to God’s judgment. Others were stoned because of the wicked hearts (such as when Stephen was stoned in Acts 7:57-60).
In our verse for today, though, we hear Jesus say some words that stopped this horrid practice from taking place. A woman, who was caught having sex with someone who wasn’t her husband, was brought to Jesus. (I have often suspected that the man wasn’t brought because he was one of the Pharisees.) These self-righteous Pharisees, who wanted to test Jesus and recklessly kill the woman in the process, were so filled with pride and hate that they needed to be confronted … and the woman’s life needed to be spared.
John 8:7 (CSB): “When they persisted in questioning him, he stood up and said to them, ‘The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.’”
Those Pharisees were so self-righteous that they were standing in judgment of that woman. They saw themselves as sinless. Yet, they saw the woman as a filthy adulterous sinner and they despised Jesus.
So, what did Jesus do? He said that whoever was sinless could throw the first stone at the woman. Was He simply throwing caution to the wind? And, why did the Pharisees quickly throw down their rocks and walk away like defeated cowards when Jesus said that? I think the answer is found in the following verse…
John 8:6–8 (CSB): “They asked this to trap him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse him. Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with his finger. When they persisted in questioning him, he stood up and said to them, ‘The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then he stooped down again and continued writing on the ground.” (emphasis mine)
What was Jesus writing on the ground? This is only conjecture but I think it was a list of their specific sins. It makes sense to me that Jesus started off by writing a few of their sins, maybe even attached to some of their names, in the sand. He then said that “he who is without sin should start throwing the rocks,” and then knelt down and wrote some more sins with some more names. If I’m right, the Pharisees realized that their personal, hidden sins, were being exposed for the crowd to see. Rather than stay, they quickly left.
Friend, our hearts are sinful. Yet, we often find it easy to “throw stones” at others. We find it easy to judge and condemn others. Maybe it happens in the parking lot, or on the phone, or in the hallway after a meeting.
We’ve got to stop. We must refuse to slander, gossip, and recklessly judge. Instead, we need to love others. Sometimes love calls us to acknowledge someone’s sin and address that sin … but our attitude, approach, and goal will be so much different. If love is our motive, we won’t throw rocks. We’ll hold out a helping hand.
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Lord Jesus, it’s easy to look down my nose at those Pharisees. Yet, when I take a closer look at my heart, I realize that I’m much more like them than I would like to realize. Please forgive me of my self-righteousness. Forgive me of those times when I have slandered, gossiped, judged, and refused to love. Help me to have the heart of Jesus – one that takes sin seriously but one that takes love and grace just as seriously. Amen