Don’t Walk Out Too Soon
Chapter 8 of the Gospel of John begins with Jesus going to the temple early in the morning. All the people came to Jesus and He began to teach. This looks every bit like a typical day at the temple, a place of worship and of hearing God’s Word.
However, the scribes and Pharisees had a different agenda that morning. They were the Jewish religious leaders and teachers of the Law. They did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God and were even angry at the signs and wonders He had been performing.
On this day, they brought before Jesus a woman whom they claimed had committed adultery.
John 8:4-6 NKJV
4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”
6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him…
On the surface, it may appear that the scribes and Pharisees wanted justice to be carried out. They quoted the law, showing their knowledge and piousness. It may even seem like they respected Jesus in asking for His opinion on this matter.
However, it was their unbelief and self-centeredness that led them to do this. They did not believe in Jesus and wanted to prove their point. It was a plot to trap Jesus to answer their question. If Jesus had said that the woman should not be stoned, they would accuse Him of defying the law. If Jesus had said to stone the woman, He would be in trouble with the Roman government for no one other than them could pass a death sentence. The scribes and Pharisees must have thought this was a fool-proof plot to gather something to accuse Jesus of.
To their dismay, Jesus responded in a way that totally fell out of their expectation.
John 8:7, 9 NKJV
7 …He [Jesus]… said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last…
While they wanted to judge the woman because of her sin, the scribes and Pharisees were made aware that they themselves were not without sin either. While they intended to find something to accuse Jesus of, the response they received from Jesus gave no basis at all for them to do that.
I imagine them walking out, with heads down and heavy hearts being awakened to the truth that they too were sinners. They probably were a little shaken to realize that the righteousness they used to hold on to was not quite there after all.
Just as I think they had entered the temple to face Jesus, self-centered, with their own secret and evil scheme, I think they left the temple, self-centered too. Filled with shame, they left probably for fear that more would be exposed if they had stayed.
In the Bible passage, Jesus never told them to leave. They left on their own accord. But what took place after they had left was an amazing truth that they so very much needed.
John 8:9-11 NKJV
9 …And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 …He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
“Neither do I condemn you.” How sweet-sounding this must have sounded to the woman. How liberating these precious Words of love and forgiveness are.
If the scribes and Pharisees had not walked out so soon, they too would have received this truth from the Son of God. They too would have been freed from the bondage of sin and law.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, in our walk with God, we must never come to this position where we are so consumed by our own agenda that we miss out what Jesus wants to do in our lives. We must not rebuke or even condemn others out of self-righteousness forgetting that our righteousness comes from God and that He has called us to minister love and forgiveness. Above all, always come to Jesus in complete trust and obedience, believing and acknowledging He is Christ, Son of the Living God.
Then, only then, we are able to walk in the light and blessings of Jesus, and shine light and bring blessings to the people around us.
Join me in this prayer.
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for those times when I chose to walk out on You when things did not go as the way I hoped. I believe and confess that You do not do things according to my ways and timing, but according to Your perfect ways and perfect timing. And I thank You for that, O Lord. Teach me to always have a gracious and forgiving heart toward others. Help me to in all things, acknowledge and trust You as my Lord and Master. Thank You for Your love and forgiveness, and use me as an instrument to bring Your love and forgiveness to the lives of many. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”