Rembrandt’s “Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery” (1644). Wikimedia
Jesus asked the woman who had been caught in adultery who was left to condemn her.
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. - John 8:11
Jesus said that wheat and tares would grow together until the end of time and that in the end, God Himself would sort them out.
Until that time, we are called to live without the burden of judging others, without condemnation, and with a solemn commitment not to destroy anything of God’s planting in the futile process of sorting our evil people from good people in this life.
Not everything that grows in a field is what we have planted. Not everything that we plant grows to maturity. Still we plant and water. Still we wait in expectation.
Many would have discarded the woman caught in adultery if they could have done so without condemning themselves. They would have relegated her to the trash heap of humanity as someone soiled, sullied, and unworthy of grace.
Not so, Jesus.
He refused to cast her away, but sent her away with mercy and hope.
“Go and sin no more,” He commanded her with the built-in hope instilled in her heart that such a life was now possible for her.
She had been redeemed.
Let us look unto the fields as they are white unto harvest and be ever so careful not to destroy any soul that God has planted through our own premature judgment of them.
Let us see every person as a potential part of God’s harvest of grace. Let us labor in His fields with love and hope.
Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and began to teach them.
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and, making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” - John 7:53-8:11