While passing through an intersection one evening, a small car hit my SUV on the driver side. For a brief moment that seemed like an eternity at the time, my life flashed before my eyes. The impact of the collision flipped my SUV over and then back upright about 20 feet down the road. Thankfully, I walked away from the accident unscratched and pain free.
We might find ourselves in the midst of an unexpected collision, often surprised by a life-altering impact. In the eighth chapter of John’s gospel, we discover an adulterous woman who was also impacted by a major collision, a collision with God’s forgiving grace.
The Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in the act of adultery before Christ in the temple. They attempted to test Christ, wondering if He would either uphold or compromise Moses’ lawful instruction to immediately stone her. Christ shifts the attention from the adulterous woman to squarely upon the religious accusers. His actions seemingly exposed their pious attitudes, quick to judge the shortcomings of others who have neglected to live perfect, righteous lives. He also exposed their self-imposed positions as jurors of morality apart from God’s authoritative judgment.
Christ responded to the woman’s accusers by stooping down to write on the ground with His finger on two occasions. I believe there is a correlation between Christ’s actions and the recording of the Ten Commandments found in the book of Exodus. In Exodus, twice God wrote the Ten Commandments with His own hand, the second time following a display of sinful disobedience from the Israelites. On both occasions, these tablets were given to Moses on Mount Sinai. Exodus 32:16 states, “The tablets were God’s work, and the writing was God’s writing engraved on the tablets.”
Christ demonstrated that only He was able to judge this woman for her actions. Unfortunately, the religious leaders failed to recognize Christ as the same law maker who previously wrote out the commandments by hand before Moses. Christ then proceeded to diffuse their judgmental attitudes by stating that the one who was without sin should cast the first stone. Upon acknowledgment of their own sin, they left the accused woman alone with Christ.
At the conclusion, Christ is left alone with this accused woman in the midst of the aforementioned divine collision. Surprisingly, she was personally impacted by the grace of God. By choosing not to condemn her, Christ emphatically demonstrated Himself not only as the law giver, but also the grace giver. He displayed the forgiving grace to this woman which He continuously offers to us today. A scripture which best illustrates this point is John 1:17: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”
My life was changed that eventful evening due to the auto collision. I am thankful for God’s hand of protection, sparing me from pain and tragedy. The adulterous woman’s life was also changed after being deeply impacted by Christ’s grace. I imagine she lived with a grateful heart after meeting the grace giver. May we reflect everyday on Christ’s forgiving grace.
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