The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
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, “Woman, where are they? 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 8:3-11 (NIV)
I’m sure everyone has a particular point of view about the woman in this story. This woman didn’t lead the most moral life, not by today’s standards and certainly not by the standards of her day. Nevertheless, think about what Jesus is asking of her. He was asking her to give up her life as she knew it; everything she had poured herself into. I can’t imagine what would have caused more trepidation for her: getting “caught in the act” or being asked to completely change her lifestyle. And the thing is: Jesus wasn’t asking her to start to change, He was asking her to change.
Sometimes there are things that God wants us to work at. Things that are a process, a journey. Other times we need to make an immediate decision to turn around and head in the other direction. Regardless of which it is, much like this woman would have had no easy task before her—think about it, where would she go? What would she do? Especially in that culture—it’s not always easy for us to make tough decisions about changing our lifestyle. Yet the reality is clear:
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
Regardless of the level of difficulty or the challenges that may ensue, God is able to provide us with all that we need to walk the journey He’s laid before us. While the immediate repercussions may seem insurmountable, it’s often these things that prepare for what’s really ahead. And look at the promise Jesus made in the very next verse:
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12 (NIV)