Jesus starred into her deep brown eyes. She wanted to look away in shame, but she couldn’t. Her eyes had seen everything, and every type of man. They were muddled with condemnation. But, the man her eyes beheld in the moment was different.
There was something different about the way HIS eyes beheld HER. The only part of her that carried movement was her violently beating heart, pounding rhythmically, and preparing for a dramatic and painful end. Her face was covered with dust as the Pharisees had purposefully thrown her sinful body at the feet of Jesus.
The men yelled, and they shouted, and they yelled, filling the air with the scent of every bit of her dirty laundry. Her hair matted, and her skin broken by the journey from the bedroom to his feet, she watched as he broke eye contact with her and began writing on the ground. Why was he down there with her? Was he writing her death sentence for all to see?
As she awaited her well-deserved judgement, this man broke through the chaos, stood up, and made a surprising suggestion. Although, it DID sound a bit more demanding than suggestive.
“Any one of you whom have never sinned may cast the first stone.” Nothing but more silence immediately followed.
What? Trembling with unbearable humiliation and fear, she braced herself. Everyone knew these men could never be found sinful. But, there was nothing. Nothing, but the sound of the wind carrying on through robed and clothed observers. She let out a shivering sigh releasing her naked soul to the wind. She wanted to die anyway. She always knew she would die at the hands of a man.
Then, she heard a sound that shook her, a sound her soul would never forget. It was the sound of stones returning to their resting place, followed by fading footsteps. She didn’t know it then, but this SOUND, would become an anthem and the sound of freedom ringing in her ears. Did he just shut the mouths of her accusers?
Jesus bent down and placed a warm, healing hand on her shoulder. “Where are your accusers?” He asked. “Are they not here to condemn you?”
He grabbed her arms and lifted her to her feet and she glanced to her left and right and back again. Was she dreaming? Did she die already?
“Um.. no, Lord.” She whispered. Shame littered her soft reply and tears filled her eyes. And with an authoritative tone she’d never heard before, he released her with these powerful words. “Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
Wow... what a beautiful picture, right? What powerful words! You know, I was thinking about these words today as I was inspired to write. Everyone who has encountered and excepted the grace of God, has heard these words within the context of their own story. And after becoming re-acquainted with this story, I can definitely understand why so many of us talk about grace and it’s power in connection to Jesus.
But I want us to focus even more on the greatness and power within that phrase- GO AND SIN NO MORE. Jesus didn't just cover her sins. He did WAY more than release her and defeat the downward gaze of her accusers. He freed her from shame AND SIN. Jesus didn't just say, "GO." He followed through with a command that many of us, if we're honest, don't like to focus on. He said, "Sin no more."
You see, I don't believe in this moment that Jesus was spanking her hand in frustration saying, "Don't you EVER do that again!" I believe this was the empowering grace in action and on display. One version (ASV) states, "go thy way; from henceforth sin no more." I LOVE THAT! In essence he was saying, "From now on, you don't have to live this way anymore. From now on, you will never be the same." My perspective stands on my genuine belief that Jesus would never command us to do anything He didn't believe we were capable of. In that moment, we saw Jesus break the bondage of unhealthy relationships, unhealthy choices, and generational curses off of her in a few words.
This is the power of our savior. Now, let's be honest. None of us know the confidential/individual journey and processes that followed this moment. However, what we CAN see is that in this moment, Jesus saw her as a human being. And he gave her the keys to a life of fulfillment and freedom ALL in one moment. I LOVE rediscovering this characteristic of Jesus. Jesus is more than just a nice/nonjudgemental character that sinners feel comfortable around. He is an empowering being that we are constantly CHANGED by being around!
Romans 6:14 states that sin is no longer our master, for we are not under law, but grace. Aren't you so thankful that when God distributed Grace That Covers, and Grace that Overpowers the Law, he also distributed GRACE THAT EMPOWERS US TO STOP LIVING IN OUR SIN? What an incredible message! The grace that releases the forgiveness of sins, is the ALSO the SAME GRACE that liberates us from the power of our sins.
You need to know today that you are more than forgiven, and you are more than covered!! YOU ARE EMPOWERED!! This is exciting. It's so exciting that some of us need to wake up every day and declare that over ourselves. "I AM EMPOWERED, I AM EMPOWERED, I AM EMPOWERED!!" I'd like to end this blog with a phrase that has meant a lot to me during my journey. It's a simple phrase that I know many of us, if not all, can identify with. All it takes ONE MOMENT with HIM for a LIFETIME OF CHANGE.