A crowd was gathered and Jesus was teaching. We are unaware of the topic; it could have been compassion or anxiety. We just don’t know. As he was talking, the door suddenly burst open and a group of men came running in pulling a slightly clothed woman behind them.
“We caught this woman in the act of adultery,” one of the men shouts. “The law says we should stone her. Jesus, what do you say?”
Jesus didn’t answer. John 8 tells us he began writing in the dust. He may have done this to illustrate the point he was getting ready to make or as an act of compassion toward the woman. For her, this could have been an embarrassing situation; she probably wasn’t wearing many clothes and there were several eyes staring directly at her. Perhaps Jesus put his finger in the dust to divert attention from her. Either way, the crowd demanded an answer, and Jesus gave them one.
In John 8:7, Jesus says, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
Verses 9-10 continue, 9 When the 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. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
One by one, everyone left until only Jesus and the woman were standing there. Jesus doesn’t condemn her. He doesn’t rebuke her for what has happened in the past or even for what happened that morning. Notice Jesus words in verse 11.
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Jesus set her free. In his grace he gave her a fresh start. Guilt she may have experienced was gone. Jesus set her free from her sin and the guilt it caused.
Likewise, we can be set free from guilt we may be experiencing. In his grace, Jesus can free us from the guilt of our past which may plague us.
- Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
- Galatians 5:1 says it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
The next time you feel guilty for something in the past, allow the Lord’s grace to replace your guilt with peace only he offers.
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