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Humble Hero

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    Jesus Deals With a Case of Adultery

    Jesus turned from the confusion of the city, from eager crowds and treacherous rabbis, to the quiet of the olive groves where He could be alone with God. But in the early morning, He returned to the temple, and the people gathered around Him.HH 213.8

    Soon He was interrupted. A group of Pharisees and scribes approached, dragging a terror-stricken woman. With hard, eager voices they accused her of violating the seventh commandment. They pushed her into the presence of Jesus and said, “Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”HH 213.9

    They had grasped this opportunity to trap and condemn Him, thinking that whatever decision He might make, they would use it to accuse Him. If He would acquit the woman, they could charge Him with despising the law of Moses. If He would declare her worthy of death, they could accuse Him to the Romans as having assumed authority that belonged only to Rome.HH 214.1

    Jesus looked on the scene—the trembling victim in her shame, the hard-faced dignitaries devoid of pity. He read the heart and knew the character and life history of every one. Giving no indication that He had heard their question, He stooped and began to write in the dust.HH 214.2

    The accusers drew nearer, impatient with His delay and apparent indifference. But as their eyes fell on the pavement at His feet, their faces changed. There, written before them, were the guilty secrets of their own lives. The people saw the sudden change of expression and pressed forward to discover what it was they were looking at with such astonishment and shame.HH 214.3

    With all their claims to reverence the law, these rabbis were disregarding its provisions. It was the husband’s duty to take action against the woman, and the guilty parties were to be punished equally. The action of these accusers was unauthorized. Jesus, however, met them on their own ground. The law specified that the witnesses in the case should be the first to cast a stone. Standing up and looking intently at the plotting elders, Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And then He continued writing on the ground.HH 214.4

    Now the accusers were defeated, with their robe of pretended holiness torn from them. They stood guilty and condemned in the presence of Infinite Purity. One by one, with bowed heads and downcast eyes, they slipped away, leaving their victim with the pitying Savior.HH 214.5

    Jesus got up again, looked at the woman, and said,” ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’”HH 214.6

    The woman had stood before Jesus, cowering with fear. His words, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first,” had come to her as a death sentence. Silently she awaited her doom. In astonishment she saw her accusers leave speechless and confused. Then those words of hope fell on her ear, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Her heart melted, and sobbing out her grateful love, with bitter tears she confessed her sins.HH 214.7

    For her, this was the beginning of a life of purity and peace. In lifting up this fallen soul, Jesus performed a greater miracle than in healing the most severe physical disease. He cured the spiritual illness that leads to everlasting death. This repentant woman became one of His most faithful followers.HH 214.8

    Jesus does not excuse sin nor lessen the sense of guilt, but He seeks to save. The Sinless One pities the sinner’s weakness and extends a helping hand. It is not Christ’s follower who leaves sinners unhindered to pursue their downward course. Most people hate the sinner, while they love the sin. Christ hates the sin, but loves the sinner. This will be the spirit of all who follow Him. Christian love is slow to condemn, quick to discern repentance, ready to forgive, to encourage, and to set the wanderer on the path of holiness.HH 215.1

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