Monday 22 March 2021

Life begins again


As they persisted with their question, Jesus looked up and said, ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then he bent down and wrote on the ground again. When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained standing there. He looked up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus ‘go away, and do not sin any more.’

From JOHN 8:1-11


It’s difficult for those who live in the public eye to maintain any kind of private life although some admirably manage to do it, careful to protect their family and children from any kind of attention. Some of the most famous people seem to be constantly under the scrutiny of tabloids, glossy magazines and paparazzi who hope their snaps of a star in the supermarket or a VIP being served a parking ticket will earn a few quid!

We know little of the woman in the story apart from the fact that she has been caught in the very act of adultery, and her private life has been made rather public with an array of leaders ready to point the finger, and deliver her sentence. Jesus though is not being drawn into their delight at downing a sinner. He turns the cards on them and invites the sinless one among them to throw the first stone. Suddenly, they are under scrutiny themselves. Stones are dropped, they walk away, until only the youngest are left and they too acknowledge that they are not perfect either, turning their back on the shoddy scene.

Jesus has liberated the woman from her predicament and whilst acknowledging that, yes, she may have done something wrong, he does not deliver condemnation. He grips no stone, holds no grievance. Her life begins again.


God our Father, help us to hold back from harshly judging others, and to be aware of our own shortcomings as we trust in the liberating power of Christ, who is Lord for ever and ever. Amen.

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