There are some very bad people in the world. Can you name some?
A terrorist. A child-molester. Your next-door neighbor who’s a jerk.
How about you? Are you a very bad person?
Some people in Jesus’ day were thinking of a very bad person. A woman. They caught her in the act of adultery. Bad, very bad.
A crowd brought her to Jesus. “Look, here’s a bad sinner. We think she should be punished. We think she should be stoned.”
Jesus asks the crowd, “If any of you is without sin, let him throw the first stone.”
No stones were thrown.
Wait a second. So it’s fine to have sex outside of marriage? Is Jesus in favor of adultery?
Jesus didn’t say the woman was right. Jesus was showing that the woman was no different.
Often we look at people as bad and good. Our mistake is not when we label someone bad. Our mistake is when we label anyone good. Our biggest mistake is when we label ourselves good. There is no one who is good. To earn a ticket to heaven, God expects not a life that is better than most. God expects perfection. Absolute perfection.
Who of us is without sin?
I am the bad person. I should be stoned, eternally punished by a just God.
The woman caught in adultery should have been stoned. She was guilty. She did not deny that.
Listen. Jesus says to her, “I do not condemn you. Go and leave your life of sin.”
How can God say that? He must punish sin. He did, by punishing his son Jesus. Jesus announces to this woman, “I’ve forgiven you. You are free.”
As a woman who knew she was bad, but witnessed the undeserved love of her Savior, she was free from sin. She was free from guilt. She wanted to leave her life of sin.
There are some very bad people in this world. You and I.
Thank Jesus that he came into the world to save sinners—you and me.