Forgiven and Free

Familiarity can breed forgetfulness.

When I live with my children, which I most assuredly do, it is easy for me to forget the wonder and beauty contained with each one of them.

A similar thing can happen to us when we approach the Scriptures. After hearing the same stories over and over, it is easy to not only forget the beauty and wonder contained therein, but also to forget that these are real stories of real people encountering the real Christ.

This week, my heart has been hovering over the story of the women caught in adultery recorded in John’s gospel.  It is no wonder that this particular incident stood out indelibly in the memory of the tender-hearted John.  It is also no wonder that John saw fit to include this account in his gospel whose self-stated thesis was, “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

A woman caught in the midst of a lawless act who deserved a rightful consequence of death. A crowd of angry, condemning voices ready to give her what she knew she deserved.  The teacher who simultaneously condemned the sin but protected the sinner.

This incident is loaded with double meaning. It happened as a fact and a reality, but it also pointed to the coming sacrifice of Christ. The One who was sinless stood condemned before an angry mob, taking a punishment that every human deserved that we might walk away forgiven and free to live lives pleasing to Him.

Forgiven and Free

Exposed in an act of iniquity,
Adding public shame to guilt,
Her hidden, personal life
On the square was spilt. 

Stoked by self-righteousness,
The maddened mob’s fire grew,
Hungry to condemn the caught
And finally trap the Teacher, too.

Stooping down in compassion,
The Teacher wrote in the sand,
Inviting the one without sin

To be first to try his hand.

A pile of would-be punishment grew,
As slowly the stones were dropped,
Leaving her alone with Jesus.
Her frightened heart nearly stopped.

She hung her head in shame
Before the only sinless One.
He alone could condemn her.
In a moment, it would be done. 

Cringing and cowering, she awaited
The sentence she fully deserved.
Instead, He utterly spared her life,
As His love flowed unreserved. 

She, though guilty as charged,
Walked away forgiven and free.
He, though perfection personified,
Would soon be hung on the tree. 

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