After my study of grace, I find myself mulling over a bible story that continues to challenge me. Like turning a diamond in a light, it continues to bring new aspects of love and grace. Here is one of those nuggets.
John 8:1-11 tells the story of the woman caught in adultery. The overview is that the woman was guilty, the law said she should have been stoned to death, the leaders wanted to test Jesus, the mob scene is at fever pitch and Jesus stoops down to the ground and starts writing. What if we played the game of freeze frame and we brought the scene to this level of violence, chaos and emotion and then froze the clip? Who in their right mind would say, “Oh, I know, Jesus is going to begin to write on the ground and everything will be ok?” It is one of the most preposterous actions to a bad situation.
This course of action inflamed the leaders even more and they continued to ask him, “What do you say that we do?” He wrote some more and finally stood up and said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7) And he went back to the ground and more writing.
There is so much to this story but here is one question that I am wrestling with in my heart and mind?
Would I have a stone in my hand?
It was a straight forward law. She was guilty. The leaders were doing what the law said. What good is a law if it isn’t enforceable? Shouldn’t we expect people to do what is right?
Jesus’s grace continues to baffle me. As much as I want to confront the right vs wrong issue of this story. I am more puzzled by the writing (we all want to know what he was writing) and the fact that he went to the ground and did it.
The Son of God, who was present when all the universe was created, who now sits at God’s right hand wrote in the dirt. The one man to walk the earth without without sin and had the “right” to stand tall, stooped down on behalf of someone who knowingly committed a sin. The King of King, Lord of Lords and the name in which every knee will bow – he bowed his knee first to write in the dirt on the behalf of a lady, who was guilty of sin and deserved death.
Yes, He did.
Before you think, “That is one lucky lady,” remember that Jesus “got low” for you and I as well. When Jesus kneeled in the garden and asked the Lord for another way and still obeyed the plan to go to the cross, he was pretty low. He didn’t write in the dirt on that day but when they laid him down in the dirt to nail him to the cross, he wrote a love that could never wash away. When in death, they laid him in a tomb, he paid the ultimate price in the darkness of a grave.
As low as Jesus ever got, the good news is that he rose up. Like the woman caught in adultery, when Jesus arose, he got up ushering in forgiveness, restoration and a new path. We are that woman – caught in our sin, no escape, a savior who stooped down on our behalf and then rose up in victory.
That is grace…wow, that is grace.