The First Stone

But early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 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 8:2-11

In this story from the gospel of John, The Pharisees and the scribes brought a woman to Jesus to try to test Jesus and set him up for failure. But nothing takes Jesus by surprise, and even in this situation he was not phased. He simply kneeled down, got on the woman’s level, and wrote in the sand in the midst of all the tension. In this Sunday’s message, Ps Luis Guerrero describes how this story reveals the heart of the accuser, the repentant, and the Father.

Heart of the Accuser

  • The accusers are people with a propensity to judge and criticize others. Exposing the sinful actions of other people gives accusers a sense of power, influence, and moral superiority.
  • The heart of the accuser is evident in the world in people who are quick to judge and reveals that we would rather look at someone else’s faults instead of our own.
  • The heart of the accuser is also evident in Christians. We see this in the Pharisees—they allowed their so-called “knowledge” to give them permission to treat people as less than.
  • We are called to love one another, not judge one another—to make disciples, not accusers.

Heart of the Repentant

  • The woman caught in adultery has no opportunity to hide or escape, or even explain herself.
  • Every person who tried to accuse the woman had to drop their stone because no one was without sin. No one is blameless except Jesus.
  • Our sinful nature doesn’t have to look like adultery. We are all sinners in need of repentance.
  • “For everyone has sinned;  we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” —Romans 3:23-34
  • Repentance means you are admitting there are things in your life that do not reflect the life God wants you to live, and you are deciding to turn away from those things.

Heart of the Father

  • Even in our sin and our mess, Jesus comes to show us the heart of the Father.
  • “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” —John 3:17
  • We think repentance means being exposed. But the moments where we start feeling guilty, ashamed, humiliated, or condemned are not from the Father. God does not expose a repentant heart.
  • Deceptive thoughts from the enemy prevent us from receiving the free gift of God’s mercy.

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