Herod’s temple had a large open outer courtyard called the court of the gentiles. Here, people from every nation were welcome to gather and listen to different teachers describe the God of Israel or expound on His law. The court was a busy, bustling place with large crowds that would sometimes rival a modern day sports event. Especially around the major feasts and festivals.
\It was festival time. And a new teaching sensation from Galilee created quite a buzz. Some said he was the messiah. Others said that he was a madman. Some said he had a demon. Everyone agreed that he was an extraordinary speaker.
The sun was just breaking over the eastern rim of the Mount of Olives. A chill fall air was nipping the ears and cheeks of the early morning worshipers. Jesus was quietly teaching in the corner of the court of the gentiles.
The placid scene suddenly erupted. A loud noise came from across the courtyard. The Pharisees, dressed in their finely starched robes, with the law of God strapped to their biceps and foreheads, were coming en mass. They were dragging something, or someone. What is it? A woman. A half-naked, red-faced woman. Two large Jews had her by either arm and her feet dragged helplessly across the dusty ground.
They stopped just short of Jesus and angrily heaved her at his feet. She was wrapped in the remnants of a bed sheet. Mostly exposed. Face down. Humiliated and afraid. The big Pharisee spoke, “Here teacher of grace. This woman was caught in adultery. IN THE VERY ACT! The Law of Moses demands that she be stoned. What do you say?”
Jesus stooped down and with his finger wrote in the soft sand which had blown in and covered the stone floor. Finally, he stood to speak, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jesus then quietly bent back down to the sandy floor and wrote again.
Some think that the first time he wrote the names of the men that accused her. The second time he wrote their sins beside the names.
The accusers dropped their stones and walked away.
You know of course that those words were meant for us too. I try to remember them every time I find myself with a fallen brother and a stone in my hand.
That’s the good news. Now have a great day.