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The One Who Had a Right to Cast a Stone, Didn’t

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20

Christians can be some of the harshest judges of falls, and character, can’t they? Don’t get me wrong, I think people on the other side of things, when they chant “don’t judge,” don’t understand that Jesus is calling for “not judging” was actually Jesus saying “judge with right judgement.” That’s a different lesson, for now, we’ll get into believers and the stones they sling. And instead of slinging stones myself, I’m going to settle for toe stomping and grinding. Our role isn’t to judge someone’s character, or stomp on them when they fall. The Ministry of the Gospel, which everyone who says they follow Jesus should be an active participant in, is the ministry of reconciliation. The Gospel, that Jesus lived perfectly for us, died in our place because of OUR sin, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day, conquering death so that we could have New Life now and in the time to come, is all about reconciliation.

Jesus died that we might be reconciled to God, but He also died that we might be reconciled with one another. Think about that woman caught in adultery. Jesus didn’t pardon her sin, He didn’t excuse her sin, He didn’t affirm her sin. He told her accusers that the first stone should be thrown from the hand that was without sin. From the youngest to the oldest, the Pharisees walked away in shame. And His hand, the only hand without sin, merely wrote in the sand. He said to the woman “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” The Hand that was without sin didn’t cast blame, or shame, or remind her of her guilt. The One who had the right to cast a stone, didn’t. He, lovingly, yet firmly, said He did not condemn her, but reminded her that it was her sin that was the problem.

When Jesus preached on the Greatest Commandment, He didn’t stop at loving God only. He said the second was on equal footing: to love your neighbor as yourself. All of the Law and the Prophets concern loving God with all we are, and loving our neighbor. The law is about reconciliation, too. So loved ones, neither should we condemn, but seek that ministry of reconciliation. When our brother falls, we don’t go to the gossip chain. We try and reconcile (be careful if you are weak yourself, lest you stumble. Best to go with some loving partners and seek grace and reconciliation together with them if you are). Seek restoration and reconciliation that is found in Christ Jesus.

John 8:2-38

Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

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