The Monday in the 5th Week of Lent
March 27, 2023
John 8: 1-11
John’s Gospel, unlike the other gospels, is devoid of parables; however today’s reading sounds parable- like. This is a much loved scripture, but it is not found in many of the earlier manuscripts of John’s Gospel.
The scribes and Pharisees, in their attempt to discredit Jesus and his teachings, turned to a woman caught in the act of adultery. One guilty of this offense was to be stoned to death under the Law of Moses. They asked Jesus what should be done, knowing that either answer, stone the woman and refute his reputation for kindness or free her and disobey the Law of Moses, would trap Jesus.
Jesus did not immediately respond. He stooped and began to write in the soil, and continued to do so even after further inquiry by the scribes and Pharisees. Some scholars suggest he was writing the names, and sins known only to him of his inquisitors. The plot recoiled when Jesus said, “Stone her, BUT let the man without sin cast the first stone.” The men slowly left and no stone was cast. The woman was left alone in the presence of Jesus. She affirmed the men had left and none had condemned her.
Jesus did not pass judgment either; telling her to go and sin no more. This story has given rise to affirmation of a “God of second chances”. There is no mention of repentance, and the woman was sent into her future without condemnation.
As He wrote in the soil, perhaps Jesus gave the scribes and Pharisees time to realize they were not fit to judge another. Jesus did not judge the scribes and Pharisees as they too encountered the “God of second chances.” Only Jesus, who was without sin, was fit to pass judgment, and He declined. We worship a “God of second chances.” Alleluia!