A load of guilt
Have you ever been in a spot where someone is trying to find a way to accuse you of something - doing nothing wrong, you are under attack and your reputation is taking one hit after another? Jesus healed the sick - that's not wrong. He fed the hungry - not wrong again. He reached out to the rejected, poor, and those society rejected - still not wrong. Yet, no matter how much 'good' he did, the religious leaders sought to find something - anything - they could 'use against him'. Why? He threatened them by his goodness, gentleness, gracefulness, and his claims to be God's Son. Threatened by truth - isn't that just like us to find something wrong with truth? No matter what, Jesus isn't going to compromise who he is or what he does. We can fight against truth all we want, but the more we fight against it, the harder it will be to resist it!
As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:3-11)
Demand an answer and you will get one - but it may not be the one you really wanted to hear! Imagine the disappointment and sheer embarrassment of standing up to Jesus, trying hard as you might to 'trip him up' with something you think you know better than him - then looking the fool for even trying it! That is what happened to these religious leaders that day - they put themselves out there, fell flat on their face, then had to walk away with their tails between their legs. It always amazes me how God uses truth to dispel fiction, grace to cause shame to flee, and hope to diminish our greatest fears.
He with no sin - you may throw the first stone. Jesus knew very well that he was the ONLY ONE in the crowd that day without sin - only he could condemn this woman. No one ever considered he'd come back with that answer - so imagine THEIR shame when they had to walk away one by one! They had sought to shame her publicly, shame Jesus publicly, and find reason to imprison or kill him, but they left with nothing more than their own load of guilt to bear. I would imagine Jesus knew how much their 'load' would be as he spoke those words, but I also know that he made a way for each of them to leave that load right there, embrace him, and enter into the fullness of his grace. They just chose not to.
"Where are your accusers?" Many might stand against the truth, but none will be able to destroy it, for Jesus cannot be overtaken by anyone or anything. When we feel accused, shame mounting on every side, there is one place of hope that rises above the threats of our accuser - the feet of Jesus. She knew much sin, but she was about to know more peace and hope than she ever believed possible. "Go and sin no more" are key words - grace always being the starting point for us to live a new life. Grace never gives permission to sin again and again, it bids us to learn to live anew. Just sayin!