Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009, "Cast the First Stone"

TRIUMPHANT VICTORIOUS REMINDERS
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"So when they continued asking him, He lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."
~ John 8:7 ~


This is the scene played out in my mind:

The door swings open by FORCE as they are caught in the very act of adultery. She screams in horror as she not only knows her demise of death at this very moment but they are dragging her outside like an animal being led to the slaughter. As she screams she does everything in her power to hide her frail naked body. She kicks and screams, weeping with little dignity she had.

As they drag her, she tries to defend herself as the men pull her by the hair, and beat her, cursing her. The lowest blow of disgust upon a human being as they spit on her. I can just hear the 'stone' blood thirsty voices shouting at her, "You no good, waste of trash, you are a dead woman!" They throw her around like a rag doll, not caring that she might be someone's daughter, someone's sister, even someone's mother.

As they scream and taunt her, they throw her at the feet of Jesus. Their judgement setting forth her death sentence. They say with their noses in the air, as though they had never sinned before (John 8:4-11), "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?" They wanted to use this moment against Him, however Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, stone her. BUT let those who have never sinned throw the first stone!" He stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When her accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?" "No, Lord," she said. And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."

I love this story. To realize there was a crowd gathered around Him at the Temple as He taught. They eagerly feasted on every word He spoke. And then suddenly this riotous scene interrupts the scene of Him teaching as the crowd watches mercy unfold like they had never seen before.

The Pharisees and Sadducees violently brought this woman to Him as He was teaching, she had an audience of many spectators. I am intoxicated by Jesus' comment. "You who have not sinned cast the first stone." Yet, the only person who would have been able to cast the stone would have been Jesus. He was the only One who had no sin, who could have exercised His right to cast it. Yet, He did not. Instead He chose to mercifully take her hand, dust the dirt off her tear stained cheeks. I would imagine He took the cloak off Himself and wrapped it around her, then embraced her as he held her head close to his chest, comforting her.

Something she had never experienced before, a warm embrace with no intentions of wanting her body in return, she received a pure embrace from God in the form of a man. She experienced unfailing love from someone who could have rightfully stoned her, yet He chose to stand up for her, not stone her. He didn't embrace what she had done; the sin of adultery. However, He embraced her.

I want, need and must do the same. I want to embrace the hurting, even though they may be called the 'throw aways' of society or labeled as 'skum' even by the world. I must do as Jesus did. He is such a wonderful example of loving the person, BUT not condoning the sin. For He is righteous and just.

Lord, I don't want to be the voice of condemnation when I was shown mercy and compassion. I want and know I must be the voice of love embracing the hurting, who long to know what it is like to be held for a moment finding out that nothing will be asked in return, resulting in change for the better.

This life must be about paying it forward to someone else, the love that was shed upon me must be revealed over others because of my Source of Love, Jesus Christ.

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