Neither Do I!
18 March 2015
Reading: John 8; Psalm 65
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. It wasn’t because of their deep concern for righteousness and purity that the Jews brought the woman to Jesus, but rather to try to trap him into saying something against Jewish or Roman law so they could arrest him.
Jesus didn’t condemn the woman—not because he was afraid of their tricks, and not because he was soft on sin—but because 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)
God sent his Son into the world not to condemn it (you and me and the woman in the story), but to save it (you and me and the woman in the story, and even her accusers)!
How can I even imagine I’m thinking like God thinks and loving like God loves when I want him to condemn another person, even someone who has wronged me? I wonder if it might be that the most out-of-harmony-with-God’s-heart thing I can do is to wish condemnation on someone for whom Jesus died and God loves as unconditionally as he loves me! What do you think?
Father, Please help me to get this truth into 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 with this! It is my heart’s desire to learn to say along with Jesus, “Neither do I condemn!” Amen.