I love sparkling things. When I was a child I remember going through a phase where I collected pretty stones. I scoured my backyard in search of the shiniest, most interesting stones I could find. From glittering white quartz to smooth igneous rocks, I was on a quest to add the most stunning stones to my collection.
Years later, I am still amazed at the beautiful stones that are worth thousands of dollars. Many adults have their own rock “collections”, though much more sophisticated. Collections of diamonds, emeralds, rubies and topaz. As we move into our series on studying the nameless women of the Bible, today’s featured woman was more priceless than the most precious of gems.
But unfortunately, she was seen as worthless in her community. Instead of being treasured like a glimmering stone, this nameless woman was nearly killed by an angry mob who ironically picked up stones to bring her demise.
But Jesus saw her worth and dignity.
Even in the midst of her sinful choices, he did not condemn her to death–but offered her the gift of eternal life.
This is the story of the adulterous woman.
In John 8, the religious leaders viciously used this woman as a way to try to arrest Jesus. They attempted to trap him into saying something against the law of Moses regarding her sin of adultery (John 8:5-6).
The religious leaders clearly had no interest in the welfare of this woman. They did not value her life or have any genuine concern for her. They dehumanized and humiliated her, forcing her to stand before a large crowd at the temple.
“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?” (vs 5)
Instead of showing interest in their question, Jesus ignored them by writing on the ground. (The religious leaders must have been furious!) Finally, Jesus responds with a simple, profound statement:
“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
One by one, the stones that meant to destroy the woman fell to the ground. Disgruntled and unsatisfied, the crowd gradually dissipated, until only she and Jesus remained.
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.” (vs 10-11)
We, like the adulterous woman, stand guilty as charged for our times of rebellion and disobedience. But instead of hurling stones of condemnation, Jesus sees us as precious, sparkling stones of beauty and brilliance.
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He took our guilt and shame, and released us from the angry mob of our sins. He took the blows of death for us, so that we could stand free and forgiven.
The next time you feel the stones of condemnation beating you down for your faults and failures, remember these words:
The stones that should have destroyed us were exchanged for a stone that was rolled away to reveal an empty tomb. The nameless, adulterous woman was labeled a “nobody” in her society. But in the eyes of her Savior, she was the apple of His eye.
Likewise, we are a new creation in Christ. We have a new name, a new identity– a new life.
To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. Revelation 2:17
When you see a stone, whether a sparkling diamond or a muddy pebble, remember that you are precious, valued and loved in the eyes of God.
Chosen, cherished, and no longer condemned.
Feel free to download a FREE printable to remind you of your precious worth. Just click on the image below!