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Have you ever been forgiven for something that you knew deserved much more punishment? How did you respond?
Have you ever forgiven someone for something they deserved to be punished for? How did it feel to offer forgiveness?
Jesus waved the men’s grasping hands away from the woman. Her arms were released and she quickly covered herself. He leaned over and scrawled something in the dust on the step nearest the man who had made the accusation. The man adjusted his gaze, lining his head up with the ambient morning light so he could make out the words. His head snapped up, more jerkily than he intended. Jesus made eye contact with him. “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
The man, so aggressive just moments before, submissively eyed Jesus with wonder and fear. He glanced again at the dusty scrawl, turned and exited through the crowd.
Jesus looked at the remaining group and then began furiously scribbling in the dust. Word after word, man after man, the unspoken rebuke continued until the woman stood alone between Jesus and the crowd, her gaze still firmly fixed on the ground at her feet.
After all of the men had fled from their secrets, Jesus lifted the woman’s chin so their eyes met, “Where are your accusers?” She peered at the space where the rude and rough men had stood just moments before. She looked confused. Jesus continued, “Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” She said with visible relief.
Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
The remorse, rage and fear that coursed through her escaped with one ragged breath. Her energy gone, the woman slumped to the ground. Clinging to Jesus’ feet, she began to cry. Jesus removed his overcoat and rested it on the woman. He sat on the step just above her.
The early morning crowd looked on with mixed emotions. Many of them couldn’t help thinking to themselves, Oh that I might be thrown at His feet and watch my accusers and my sin vanquished so effectively!
Just then the sun rose from behind the Mount of Olives and poured it’s penetrating light into the colonnade of Solomon’s temple. The sun illuminated Jesus’ face. Behind Jesus, the white marble steps, walls and columns shone with such ferocity that the people shaded their eyes.
Jesus had been waiting for this very moment. With the sun blazing into the eyes of his listeners, Jesus spoke to their hearts, “I am the light of the world.” Reaching down He lifted the face of the young woman, still clinging to his feet, “If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”