People…Or Precedence?

“…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.” - John 8:6-9
 
 
We continue to examine John 8 which tells the story of a woman who had committed adultery and how the pharisees and teachers of the law wanted to punish her. They brought up to Jesus that, according to the Law of Moses, the woman should be stoned. Their real intent was to use the incident to discredit Jesus. If He said stone her, then He would have been guilty of going against Roman law which forbade Jews from exacting such punishment.  
 
These men cared nothing about the woman, her shame, her story, or what led her to this moment in her life. All they cared about was using her to set a precedent and discredit Jesus. This is an issue within the church now. Christians need to spend more time valuing people over precedence.  
 
What is redeeming about this text is that Jesus does not seek to expose this woman’s brokenness. He does not ask who she is with or why she is with them. He doesn’t even address her first. Those who sought to stone her seemed bent upon imposing a kind of religious orthodoxy that demanded doctrinal conformity over sensitivity to the woman’s humanity.  
 
Jesus’ response shows He is more interested in affirming the humanity and personhood of the woman than in protecting some notion of doctrinal purity.  
 
Have you ever found yourself caught up in the precedence without attempting to understand the person? We all have values and beliefs, and these are great. But if we want to be more like Jesus, we should seek to better understand the person. Who are they? What are they going through? What led to that decision? These would draw a lot more people in our direction where we could then be a light in their life, instead of trying to be like these men who want to play judge and jury for others.
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