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What Does Jesus Say to Obviously Guilty Women? - Encouragement for Today - June 3, 2020

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Lisa BevereJune 3, 2020

What Does Jesus Say to Obviously Guilty Women?

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“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7b (ESV) 

I want to invite you to journey back with me into a familiar passage of Scripture in the hope you’ll see something you may have missed before. It’s the story of a nameless woman caught in the very act of adultery. I want us to pause long enough to imagine both the terror and courage of this obviously guilty woman.

John 8 clearly juxtaposes the cruelty of law-led religion and the beauty of God’s mercy and love. So, friends, let’s visit this scene together and view it with a fresh perspective.

In the dim light of early morning, a large crowd awaits a young rabbi named Jesus. When He appears with His disciples, He greets them and then sits down to teach. Those who gathered listen closely, their hearts hanging on every word … when suddenly there’s a disturbance at the edge of the crowd.

It’s the religious leaders, dragging a disheveled woman who frantically clutches a remnant of cloth to herself in an attempt to hide her nakedness. The leaders have dragged her from a bed of adultery, but the man she was with is nowhere in sight.

“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?” (John 8:4b-5, NIV)

His response is delayed as He writes in the dust. Then He challenges her accusers:

“… Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7b).

The religious leaders leave one by one until it’s only Jesus and a nameless guilty woman. Then He rises and asks:

“‘… 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’” (John 8:10-11, NIV).

What I find courageous is the fact that this woman stayed.

I might have slipped away when the last stone was dropped. I like to think she stayed because she was tired of being talked about. She waited until Jesus spoke directly to her. Many will hear the words, “Go and sin no more,” as a threat of future punishment, paraphrased as, “Do it again, and you’ll find yourself under a rock pile.” But I hear it as an empowerment to walk away different, for the next verse reads:

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12, ESV).

Jesus gave the power of choice to a nameless woman who’d found herself a public spectacle. Jesus looked beyond the obvious, and He refused to acknowledge her present state as her permanent condition.

No one is without sin. Many of us have turned to men, religion or the world for our affirmation, only to be betrayed. I love that this interchange with the obviously guilty helps each of us embrace His mercy and grace in areas where our sin and struggle might not be so obvious to others.

These words of Jesus speak to the weary mother who lost her temper when her patience was tried. They speak to couples trapped in unhealthy patterns that are deconstructing their marriage. His words speak to men and women trapped in the shadowed shame of porn or addiction. Jesus says to you what He said to her:

“Then neither do I condemn yougo now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11b)

When the serpent shames and accuses us, it’s time to wait in the presence of Jesus until His mercy and grace speaks to us.

God’s forgiveness is where our freedom begins. Jesus did so much more than forgive this woman … He sent her away freed from the bonds of sin.

Because of Jesus, the power of our former bondage has been broken. It’s time to have more faith in the words of Christ, our liberator, than in the power of the chains. Dare to believe, and leave behind the shadows of your past!

Lord, thank You for defending us, when we could not defend ourselves. Thank You for saving rather than condemning us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Romans 6:14, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (ESV)

Hebrews 8:12, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (NIV)

How can you live as a confident woman of faith? Lisa Bevere leads women to find their strength — not from trying harder or doing more, but through a deep and devoted relationship with God, from knowing and following Him. Learn more about embracing your God-given strength in Lisa Bevere’s new devotional, Strong: Devotions to Live a Powerful & Passionate Life.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Strong by Lisa Bevere. To celebrate this book, Lisa’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, June 8, 2020.}

Connect with Lisa Bevere on Facebook if you’re looking for authentic, passionate and witty teachings.

In what area of your life do you need to receive God’s mercy in order to rise up and walk in freedom?

Lisa Bevere has spent nearly three decades empowering women to find their identity and purpose. She is a cancer survivor and a New York Times’ bestselling author. Her books include Without Rival, Adamant, Lioness Arising, and Girls with Swords. Lisa and her husband, John, cofounded Messenger International to develop uncompromising followers of Christ who transform their world. To this end, Messenger has given away more than 30 million resources in over 100 languages.

© 2020 by Lisa Bevere. All rights reserved.

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