She clutched the blanket tight, desperately trying to veil the nakedness that exposed her sin. She had been caught in the very act of committing adultery. She wished to preserve an ounce of dignity, but she knew it was hopeless. Everyone could see what she had done.
As she was dragged through the streets, she avoided eye contact with the people, but felt their judgement. She wondered what would become of her. Would she be stoned as Moses’ law demanded or by some miracle be spared?
She knew the men who dragged her through the streets. They were the religious ones who spouted the law and accused others, but failed to help the poor like herself. She even thought some of them looked familiar. Perhaps they were friends of the man with whom she had been caught? Was this a set up?
Suddenly, she was thrown before a man that she did not know. Who was he? Why did they bring her to him?
Little did she know, she was about to meet the Light of the World.
Try putting yourself in this woman’s place. Think of the worst sin you have committed.
Imagine being caught in the very act of that sin. People from your town catch you committing it. They drag you to Jesus and throw you at His feet. They spout accusation. You know you are guilty. What can you say? You have no defense. You deserve punishment.
Your accusers demand a verdict. They demand punishment. How can you respond? You’re afraid. You cower on the ground before your Judge. You tremble as you wait for the sentence.
You wait…, but the Judge is silent. The accusers begin to mumble. They challenge the Judge to sentence you according to the law. What will He say?
Finally, He speaks… He tells your accusers that they may cast the stones if they themselves are without sin. You cringe as you wait for the stones to hit. You hear shuffling of feet. They must be gathering the stones… You wait and wait…., but no stone strikes. There is only silence.
Timidly, you look up. You see only Jesus standing before you. He says to you, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?”
You look around. Where are they? You slowly lift up your body from the ground and look into His eyes. You answer in disbelief, “No one, Lord.”
“Neither do I … go and sin no more,” He tenderly declares. How can this be? He has forgiven you… Who is this man?
If you were this woman, how would you feel?
Certainly the woman must have been delighted to have her sins forgiven. She knew the law of Moses required that she be executed for her sin. She also expected a teacher of the law to judge accordingly. But instead of condemning her, He gave her mercy. She had been forgiven and instructed to go and sin no more. Can you imagine the freedom she must have felt?
Maybe she had never wanted to sin. Her whole life might have been a struggle to overcome temptation. Now, perhaps, she felt like she had a choice. Jesus had given her hope that she could live a life without sin.
Why would He so freely forgive her when the law demanded punishment? Who is this One who forgave her? Jesus proclaimed to her and all who stood by, “I am the Light of the World. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
He is the One who sees our sin and forgives us.
Just as Jesus commanded the woman to go and sin no more, He expects those of us who have been forgiven to walk in the light. He enables us to do so by being the Light of conviction, the Light of forgiveness, and the Light of revelation.
Light of Conviction
When the men brought the woman to Jesus, He did not condemn her. He forgave her, yet He did not ignore her sin. He commanded her, “Go and sin no more.” He wanted her to acknowledge her sin and make a change.
As we stand before the Light of conviction, our sin is revealed. Jesus stands ready to forgive us and empower us to live a life without sin. How will we respond? Will we run away as the men did, or will we stand before the Light, confess our sin, and receive forgiveness?
Jesus says those who follow Him will no longer walk in darkness. Each time we stand before the Light we receive the opportunity to turn from darkness and walk in His light.
May the darkness of our hearts cause us to run to the Light of the World, not away from Him.
Light of forgiveness
Standing before the Light of conviction enables us to experience the Light of forgiveness.
Jesus said He came to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:31-32). He came as the Light to reveal and forgive. God always reveals our sin for the purpose of restoration. Jesus is the Light of forgiveness who presents conviction as a gift. Unwrapping it is the first step to forgiveness.
Jesus is the Light that gives us the light of life.
If we are children of God, the darkness of sin has no right to remain in our hearts. We must invite the Light of the World to shine in our heart to expose, convict, and forgive.
Light of revelation
Jesus used this encounter with the sinful woman as an opportunity to reveal Himself as the Light of the World. Jesus wants all to know Him and walk in the light. Today, He uses His followers to reveal His Light to lost sinners.
To prepare His disciples to be light bearers, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). We become the light as we reflect His light to those around us. We must show mercy and forgiveness as He did. It is only when we reflect His goodness, that we shine His light in this dark world.
Will you be the light to those around you?