March 12 I Friday
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” —Hebrews 4:13
The Festival of Tabernacles, one of the three annual Jewish feasts, was a time of eating, drinking and merriment, a context ripe for acts of sexual immorality. One year, after the festival ended, a man and a woman were caught engaging in an act of adultery. The next morning, some Pharisees and Scribes made the woman stand before Jesus as He was teaching in the temple courts. They proclaimed the charge against her and asked Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:4-5).
The Pharisees and Scribes used this woman to provoke Jesus, but the question should be asked of them, “Where was the man?” The woman certainly bears responsibility, but the onus of responsibility in the Old Testament laws surrounding adultery was placed on the man first. For instance, “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife…both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death” (Leviticus 20:10). By bringing only the woman to Jesus, the Pharisees and Scribes also sinned by reinterpreting the law in light of their prejudices that devalued women.
Instead of answering the Pharisees and Scribes, Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with His finger. “When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her’” (John 8:6-7). While we do not know with certainty what Jesus wrote, we may link this passage to the prophetic statement in Jeremiah 17:13: “Those who turn away from You will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water”—it is quite possible that Jesus wrote the names of this woman’s accusers. They thought she had been laid bare before them, but Jesus turned the tables so their hearts were laid bare before God. He then stooped down to write in the dust again and one by one, starting with the older ones, her accusers started to leave. No stones were thrown.
Jesus asked in the Sermon on the Mount, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). One of the easiest ways to cover up our sin is to accuse other people, but condemning others is never our job. Before we start pointing out sin in others, even if for the purposes of correction, we must establish a priority of laying our hearts bare before Christ and dealing with Him about our own sin.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me when I have become fixated on the sins of others. Draw my attention to anything in my life that may be hindering my relationship with You. Thank You for always forgiving me.
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