It was a culture of stone-throwers. The gang of religious zealots came from one direction dragging a woman caught in the very act of adultery. Jesus arrived at dawn from the direction of the Mount of Olives. His followers had also arrived from various directions to hear Him teach and see a few miracles. It was an awkward apex of society and would become even more awkward by the conviction of silence.
The zealot gang of accusers threw the accused before Jesus and attempted to frame Him as anti-Moses! Over the sobbing sounds of the woman caught in the very act, they demanded Jesus stone her in line with the laws of Moses or else! The sobbing continued and we can imagine followers dutifully murmured their opinions, as well. Then another sound emerged on the scene: Jesus began writing in the sand. His scratching in the dirt drew zealots closer.
Perhaps before anyone could read His words, He said to the crowd: “If anyone is without sin, let him cast the first stone!” Imagine the fear and increased sobbing from the crouching one in the shadows of the stone-throwers. But a good word for ‘stone-throwers’ of any generation. Jesus continued writing.
The sounds of sobbing, sand-writing and the murmuring opinions of the followers was eclipsed by yet another sound that took the story in another direction. It was the sound of the zealot stone-throwers’ arsenal of rocks falling one by one to the ground and their swift exit from the scene.
The older more experience stone-throwers left first followed by their inexperienced recruits.
Jesus inquired of the one caught in the very act as to where her accusers were. The woman scanned the crowd for her accusers but found them gone. Startled, she must have turned to see only Jesus’ followers; their heads down staring at the ground. Jesus’ words then filled the morning air: “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
Imagine the followers fear and guilt as Jesus turned from the woman’s exit to them! Talk about a teachable moment, this was it. Convictions of guilt had hung heavy in the air, but now, only forgiveness and mercy. Then His teaching and the self-examination of the followers. Hearts throbbing with guilt were washed by the power of Christ’ forgiveness. The Kingdom present!
Conviction of the God-kind never leaves its mark without the power-washing of forgiveness and mercy. It is in that place that life is renewed in the Culture of Grace where it is always the morning of a new day. (Check out the whole story in John 8:1-11)
Speaking of the Holy Spirit Jesus said:
“When He is come, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin…..in regard to sin, because they men do not believe in me.” John 16:8-9 NIV
The intent of Holy Spirit conviction is to bring us to forgiveness and renewed faith. Let it be so.