Left Alone with Jesus

…and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”  (John 8: 9-11)

We don’t know what happens to this woman after Jesus speaks to her. Her response is not part of the story. Imagine it, though. This woman has come very close to being executed by a mob of men who are intent on stoning her as a pawn in their quest to entrap Jesus in that place where love and law meet. Coming so close to death must have been life-changing for this woman. Jesus’ words to these people show us that life is a place where compassion and conscience meet. He forces these men to see beyond themselves and realize that while they have made this woman’s sins public, they must certainly know that they have their own sins—sins for which they are not judged as harshly, not only because they are men but because men hold the power in their culture.  The man who has committed adultery with her is not called to account as she has been, but Jesus reminds these men of privilege that God does not grant them a pass for their own sins.  Then, gently, he reminds this woman that she, too, must search her own soul at the end of this road of compassion down which he has led her.

Wondering:  How are we changed by our encounters with Jesus?  How can we walk away feeling empowered rather than condemned by God?