Gospel authors take us back in time, providing a God-like lens. We become polite passive bystanders silently observing Jesus’ every move, word and deed. We know how the story ends. Jesus is clearly the good guy; we easily identify the bad guys (Boo! Hiss!); roll our eyes at the stupid guys and pity the least, lost and left out.
Have you ever thrown yourself in a Bible passage, changing it to a first person testimony?
Let’s put ourselves in the place of our biblical sister caught in adultery (John 8: 3-11):
At dawn, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees dragged me out of my bed into the temple courts where all the people were gathered. I was barely clothed, caught in the embrace of my lover. I could still feel his body upon mine, taste his kiss and enjoy his scent.
They pushed me to the center of the crowd and made me stand before the group. They said to the man called Jesus, “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?”
What? They weren’t allowed to kill me, only the Romans could execute. Who is this man? Why did everyone suddenly care what I did in the privacy of my own home? And where was my lover? He was in bed with me. It takes two to commit adultery!
Was this the end? Would this be what I would forever be known for – my obituary?
Who is this man? I heard he’d been causing trouble, some type of prophet. Did he really have the power to condemn me?
I needed to look into his eyes, deep into his eyes.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When the religious guys kept 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.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
OH dear God NO! I tried to look at each of them but everyone looked away. Each began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with me. I was still standing there.
Jesus straightened up and asked me, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” I said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Lord, thank you for saving me from my sins; and from the stones of my neighbors. Thank you for not taking advantage of me or rightly condemning me. Thank you especially for looking away, for not casting your eyes on my nakedness and treating me with dignity. Thank you for your grace and for all the women you rescue from shame and death. Amen