Day 24: No condemnation
But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:9-11
When someone suffers a tragedy, they often receive the most comfort from others who have gone through the same thing. They know something about how they are feeling and understand the struggles and difficulties they must endure.
In some ways, sin is that kind of tragedy, and it is one we all share. The Pharisees and scribes initially condemned the woman because they believed they were better than she was. By asking someone without sin to cast the first stone, Jesus made them stop and think. They could enforce the law, but they were sinners just like her. If she deserved to die for sin, they did too.
The Pharisees, shamed, left one by one. But what we should learn to have sympathy and mercy for the sinners of one another. We all sin before a holy God. We all need forgiveness. No one can be good enough to be reconciled with God.
What the Pharisees did not yet know was that they were in the presence of the One who would take that condemnation (that death sentence) on Himself so that they could be forgiven, just like He forgave the woman. Jesus knew the woman’s heart, and that it was right to tell her to go and sin no more. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” because Jesus fulfilled the whole law on our behalf.
Jesus was the only one qualified to condemn her. He was the one “who is without sin among you.” Likewise, Jesus was the only one qualified to forgive her. When someone sins against me, I should forgive because I too need forgiveness and because condemnation and forgiveness are ultimately in God’s hands, not mine.
Questions for discussion and reflection
- Does the sin you have committed give you sympathy for the sins of others?
- Jesus did not condemn the woman, but he also tells her to stop sinning. Do you need to stop sinning?
Dear God, You know our hearts when we sin. Help us to turn from sin, like the woman Jesus forgave. Help us offer the same mercy to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.