by Worship Pastor Abby Dolbear
I am a focused person. I’m so focused that there are times I will not hear or see things that are happening right in front of me. The year was 1993. I was in my 10th grade English Literature class. On this particular day, we were instructed that we would be having student/teacher conferences during class. So the drill was to do our assignment quietly until the teacher called our name, then we would go up to the desk and have our conference. My last name started with a “T” so I knew it would be awhile before he called me so I started working on my assignment. The next thing I knew teacher stood beside my desk. “Abby, did you not hear me? It’s your turn.” He never called my name! Come to find out he did call my name, and several times. I was so focused on my assignment, my sight, thoughts and mind so completely filled with it, that my teacher had to get up out of his chair and retrieve me!
What does this have to do with anything? Well glad you asked. The year was around 31 AD.
3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they said to Him (Jesus), “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do you say?” 6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
I love, love, love this Bible passage (John 8:3-11). To me, this is one of the purest pictures of God’s love for me, for us.
So what happened here? The way I see it is that when Jesus arrived, condemnation had no home in His presence. In this story condemnation from every other human being on the planet was broken off of her. Just that alone is something to be eternally grateful for. No person, no thing, could condemn her – or me.
Jesus didn’t stop there. He took it to the ultimate level and said, “I do not condemn you, either.” Can you imagine what must have been going on inside of her at that moment? One minute she was preparing herself to die, the next minute, all of her accusers have left and there she is with Jesus standing in front of her telling her she was not condemned!
She had never heard this before. She had never seen this before. All she had ever known was a world who judged her for her every wrong.
Jesus spoke words of life into her that day by saying “I do not condemn you, either, Go. From now on sin no more.” What she heard from Jesus was the exactly opposite from what she had always heard from the world. The world always told her, “Go. Sin no more. Then we won’t condemn you.” Jesus says, “I don’t condemn you (notice he says that FIRST). Go. From now on sin no more.”
When he said this to her, her eyes, her view, was filled with His kindness and grace displayed by His love for her. She no longer was drawn to the things of this world because she had experienced a new law, the law of heaven, which is the law of love. It’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). When she experienced the Kingdom of Heaven manifested through Jesus on earth, she was consumed by it! Her focus was locked in.
In the same way that I could not hear or see anything around me that day in my 10th grade English class, the Pharisees focused on the law. It consumed them to the point they could not see anything else besides it; not even Jesus, the Son of God standing before them. The woman in the same way had become focused. However her focus was not on the law, as the Pharisees were. Her focus was consumed by Jesus. Her sight, thoughts and mind were completely filled with His goodness. No longer was she looking to her left or right, her gaze was completely consumed by HIM!