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A Dramatic Retelling of the "Woman Caught In Adultery"

Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?" This they said to test him,  that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."  And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"  She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again." John 8: 1-11

I wrote this dramatic narrative about one of my favorite scenes in the scriptures.

In the distance there was a tumult;  voices of anger, judgment and condemnation.   Jesus, who was praying at a nearby hill was distracted by the voices of the crowd.  As he kept praying something inside of him told him to go the scene of the noise.  Jesus finished his prayer saying, "Father, I wanted so much to be with your more, but something inside of me is compelling me to go to the scene of the noise "not my will, but your will be done."  As Jesus prayed these words he began to walk to the scene of the noise.  As he walked closer to the scene, the voices became louder and louder. 

As he walked, and entered the town square, he saw a great multitude assembled there; every man, woman, and child. As he made his way nearer, he pushed against the crowds so that he could get a better view of the scene.  As he pushed through he made his way to the center when he saw the cause of the uproar, a woman, half clothed, crying, pleading for mercy shouting, "Please forgive me, I am wrong, I have been caught, please be merciful, to me!" As she said this several of the men sneered and shouted, "Get up you whore, get up,  it is time to meet your end, you will now answer for your transgressions!"  Each time the men were saying this they kept kicking and shoving the woman violently.  A few of the men even laughed and mocked her yelling, "How does it feel to meet your fate? Now finally you will pay for sleeping around with married men! Our father Moses wrote "that a woman caught in adultery should be stoned to death."  "Who will you sleep around with you bitch, you good for nothing, whore." "You have defiled your husband's bed, and now you will receive the just penalty as described by our father Moses!"  While the men shouted these charges Jesus also remembered  how his own earthly father Joseph had often told him about his own ordeal of finding out that his betrothed Mary was pregnant. Joseph related how he did not know what to do.  He did not want to tell the religious authorities, because it would have meant that Mary would have been stoned to death, nor did he want to marry her since he taught that the child was not his. Instead he choose to forgive her and to keep the matter to themselves until the Lord would reveal his will. If it wasn't for Joseph's kindness and faith Jesus' mother would have met with the same fate, as this woman who was being charged with adultery.

With each  kick, laugh, and curse, Jesus' heart would  feel the deepest pain, he loved this woman, even the crowd and zealous men.   He knew her pain and he knew the limits of the old law which he had come to free mankind from. The risks for taking action were great, he knew full well that recently while he was at his hometown of Nazareth, he was violently chased from the temple and also nearly stoned to death. 

As the men kept shouting and attacking the woman Jesus sat down and began to write on the ground with his finger.  He kept writing until one of the accusers asked out loud, "Master we know that you are an esteemed teacher of the Law, tell us what should we do? Our Father Moses wrote that any woman who was found in the act of adultery should be stoned to death,  Tell us, we will do anything that you say."  Jesus kept writing in the sand when another man shouted, this time with more excited fury, "Master we have a law, so what would you want us to do?  Jesus immediately got up and walked to the center of the crowd,  near the woman and began to say, "Let the one who has not sinned cast the first stone!"  As he said this he gazed into the eyes of the woman and almost instantaneously her facial complexion began to change.  She ceased crying, and began to smile instead.  She had gone from terrified to serene, condemned to acquitted which baffled the crowd. Some of the onlookers even commented, " How can this be? this woman is about to die yet she looks so peaceful, so serene."  Jesus once again shouted more loudly than before, "Let the one who has not sinned cast the first stone!" 
As Jesus finished saying this one of the men began to hurl a stone when all of a sudden he stopped, midstream of his throwing motion and he gazed also into Jesus' eyes.  His facial complexion also changed as he dropped the stone. The crowd was dumbfounded, how could this zealot, who only a few moments before was dead set on exacting the ultimate penalty on this woman all of a sudden reverse course with just a simple glance from the master? After this encounter the crowd began to disperse one by one, leaving their stones behind.  Even the men who only a few moments before were determined to inflict the maximum penalty on this woman could not overcome the power of the master's gaze. They were paralyzed not by fear, or by the burden of a written law, they were paralyzed instead by a new freedom, one in which they could not grasp or comprehend. They were free men now, but they did not know how to claim this new freedom.  This new power had awakened something that these men never had felt before. With one glance their entire belief of the law was upended; years and years, generations and generations of teachings and faithful adherence to the law had been torn away with just one glance. After all of the crowd left, including the men, Jesus approached the woman, caressed her hair and face and smiled gently at her saying, " Is there anyone left to condemn you?" she answered mystified, slightly confused, "No, master no one is left"  Jesus answered, "So neither do I condemn you, go and do not sin again."  The woman left, fixed her shawl, covered herself and walked away a new person, she had gazed into the master's eyes and her life would never be the same again. 

As Jesus began to walk away from the woman, a boy ran towards the area where the woman was nearly stoned.  He was curious, he wanted to know what exactly had Jesus written in the sand with his fingers.  As he swept way the dust and debris he read the words, "Mercy"  After reading them he left and the wind swept away the word that he had just read.  The boy never told anyone of what he read, but in his heart he treasured the word and he began to follow The Master.


Comments

  1. Beautifully written, Marco. For me, Christ was writing the names of the men who had laid beside this woman..many of whom were among the crowd. As He wrote the names in the sand...it was written on the hearts of the men. It was guilt, shame, self-disgust that filled them. They couldn't look Jesus in the eye. In their hearts they asked forgiveness..and the wind swept the names away...forgiven and forgotten by God. Thank you for allowing me my slant of this wonderful story. N

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well said Nanette. The Holy Spirit is pleased. You are blessed!

    Jonah Aiza

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