“At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ’Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” (John 8:9-11)
The greater context is about the woman caught in adultery, and the religious leaders wanting to know what Jesus would do after pointing out that the Law says to stone her. Many things can be pulled out and built upon and I have heard many sermons using this account by John, but the significance of the old leaving first and then the others (younger) following, never stood out. When I was young, I was idealistic and unbending, even slow to forgive, convinced of my righteousness before God. Wisdom is supposed to come with age and experience. Time reveals most of my shortcomings, bringing with it humility and a greater appreciation of God’s grace in my life. It is significant to me that the old among the crowd that day were the first to realize their unworthiness to pass judgement. They also set the example for the younger among them as to what their response to Jesus’s challenge should be.
Understanding that my walk through this life is indeed a journey, I cannot allow myself to stop searching for that which best reflects Christ. I would like to think that my response would have been like Jesus…to encourage and not condemn. That will be a practice for me daily until he takes me home to heaven. Also, I need to be more aware of how my actions and words are being noted by others and be quicker to correctly discern and act upon those things as Christ would.
“Father, help me to better reflect you in this journey of life. As I get older, I ask that you will help me become more wise and discerning in how I respond to and judge others. Continue to reveal my shortcomings, but thank you for your grace and forgiveness in my life. Help me to extend that same grace to others. Amen.”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.