Hope for Life Blog

Throwing Stones

by on Sep.07, 2009, under Hope

They dragged the woman to the temple. Caught in the very act of adultery! Her cries for mercy went unheeded. This group wasn’t interested in compassion or justice. (Where was the man this woman had been with? The Law of Moses said that both were to be judged.) This woman was a pawn in a political game, a useful tool to trap this troublesome teacher named Jesus of Nazareth.

“Our law says this woman should be stoned. What do you say?” they asked Jesus with a sneer, throwing the woman at Jesus’ feet. Would this sinner-loving Nazarene dare to say that the Law should be ignored, that the woman should be set free? If he did, these Jewish leaders could immediately denounce his entire ministry as a fraud.

Or would Jesus dare to call for capital punishment, putting him at odds with Roman law which did not give the Jews the right to employ the death penalty? It was a perfect trap, and these men knew it.

Infuriatingly, Jesus refused to answer. Instead, he sat and wrote in the dirt with his finger. “Answer us! Answer the question,” the crowd insisted.

Finally Jesus, looked up, met their gaze, and said, “Fine. Stone her. But let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has no sin.” With those words, the accusers became the accused. The trap they had set for Jesus had backfired. One by one, they slipped away, each very conscious of his own sin.

Jesus stood alone with the woman and asked, “Does no one condemn you?”

“No,” she answered quietly.

“Then I don’t condemn you either. Go and leave your life of sin.” ( John 8:1-11)

I wish Jesus were here today to stop me when I have a stone in my hand, to remind me that I am as much a sinner as anyone else. I wish he were here to stand up for those who are attacked and demeaned because of the mistakes they’ve made. I wish he were here to say, “Go ahead, label other people as sinners … as long as you’ve never made a mistake.”

Jesus’ followers need to stand up for those who have messed up, who have been caught red-handed in a sinful lifestyle. We need to say to them “Stop. Change. Leave your life of sin.” But we also need to say, “I’m a sinner too. I need God’s grace as much as you do.”

The church was meant to be a refuge, a gathering of sinners covered by grace, a collection of strugglers seeking to overcome sin. It’s not meant to be a rock-throwing society.

If you’ve had rocks hurled your way, please know that they were thrown without Jesus’ authorization. Come back. Try again. There are good people who are really trying to live like Jesus who will love you, accept you and help you to change. Jesus doesn’t want to condemn. He wants to save. His followers should feel the same.

6 comments for this entry:

  1. June Pumphrey

    A very good article. So many of the Lord’s churches now days are more concerned with fitting into a liberal society rather than preaching and teaching the true word of God in its purity and simplicity.

    Keep up the good work.

    In Him,

    June Pumphrey,
    Columbus, MS,
    church of Christ member

  2. BeaAnn

    I was just browsing this site and came across your article. I love it, you are so right on. I go to church but not to be judged by the people there. I am a new member and i just want to learn more about how to please god because i love him and i need his help through jesus.

    Your article made me feel good.
    Thanks

  3. Tim Archer

    Thanks ladies. May God bless you both.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  4. Michael Therrell

    Keeping the word of God simple for everyone to understand is so important in today’s fast paced society.
    I have a Dake Annotated Reference Bible that my mother gave me recently, when I turned my life back over to Jesus. It’s a great Bible and has four equal sized columns on each page, two of text and two of notes amd comments, self-pronouncing text, and a complete concordance and cyclopedic index. I often must read the footnotes to completely understand the Lord’s word. It’s still often difficult, but wouldn’t trade it for the world since my mother gave it to me.
    Mr. Finis Jennings Dake had a photographic memory and could quote scriptures word for word. My grandmother, who is with the Lord, told me about the one and only time she had the pleasure to hear him teach. I’m curious to know if you or anyone on your staff has ever heard of the Dake Bible or of Mr.Dake. He was from Lawrenceville, GA.
    I apologize for digressing. My point was to thank the Lord for giving you the gift of keeping it simple, meaningful and thought provoking.
    My brother was kind enough to share this site with me and it’s been a true blessing.
    Thank you and God Bless.
    Michael Therrell

  5. Neal

    Sometimes I am the one who throws stones and sometimes I am the one who is thrown at. Neither one feels very good. Thank you for reminded of the kind of man I need to be. God Bless.

  6. Win Genoe

    Hi Tim:
    Great work!
    When we obtain that perfect love that Jesus used, there will be no stone throwing, then. In the meantime we’ll just have to keep trying to get better and better, and our prayers should include God’s help to help us do that.
    regards and Christian love

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