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Neither Do I

Neither Do I

20 December 2009

Scripture:

10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11 NLT)

The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman into the Temple who had been caught in the act of adultery. Jewish law ruled that she should be stoned to death as punishment for her sin. The man with whom she had sex should also have been stoned to death, but for some reason they didn’t bring him along.

The issue was really theoretical, because the Jews could no longer exercise capital punishment. As part of their submission to Rome only the Roman court under the current governor (Pontius Pilate) could sentence a criminal to death.

The Jews brought the woman to Jesus not because they were concerned about righteousness and purity, but to try to trap Jesus into saying something against Jewish law or against Roman law so they could arrest him.

Jesus didn’t condemn her. He wasn’t afraid of their tricks and he wasn’t soft on sin, but condemnation wasn’t in his heart or in his purpose for being on earth.

16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. (John 3:16-17 NLT)

For the past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about law and grace – about our human tendency to get caught up in the details and miss the heart of the matter. I’m not talking about being soft on sin, I’m talking about understanding in my heart and head that God is so not into condemnation that he sent his Son to be brutalized by a world deserving of condemnation so that world (me) would not be condemned. How can I condemn someone else when Jesus died so I would not be condemned?

Prayer:

Father, Please help me to get this truth in my heart and my head. You sent your Son to redeem and not to condemn. I cannot be in harmony with your heart if I condemn others. Help me. It is my heart’s desire to learn to say along with Jesus, “Neither do I condemn!” Amen.

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