Midday Meditation

Reading: John 7:53-8:11
Today’s reading begins in a strange place – the end of
the previous section. The reason for this is because this entire
section is not found in some early manuscripts, and so there is some
question about whether this was part of the original Gospel of John.
Whether it was or not does not change the fact that this story is
consistent with the character of Jesus as described in the rest of the
Gospel. Just before this story, the crowds had questioned whether
Jesus was the Messiah or not. The religious leaders felt that if they
could show that Jesus did not obey the law, they would silence this
Messiah-talk. So, they brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus,
and reminded him that the law required her to be stoned. What they
failed to say is that the law also required the man to be stoned, but
he was strangely absent. If Jesus had allowed her to be stoned, he
would have lost the support of the crowds. If he refused, he would
have proved that he defied the law. But, of course, Jesus responded
in a way that went to the heart of the law, and which ultimately
liberated this woman.
When we make our religion about the law, we tend to create
checklists that are relatively easy for us to follow, and then use
those same lists to judge and condemn others, as the religious
leaders did. But, when we recognize that even the law was really
about what’s going on in our hearts, we are freed from constant list
keeping, and we begin to acknowledge that we are all equally in
need of God’s mercy. Then, as we receive God’s grace for
ourselves, we cannot help but extend that grace to others. Those
who know their unworthiness are far quicker to make concessions
for the unworthiness of others. Those know that they have been
forgiven much are much quicker to forgive.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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