Throwing Stones

It's not in the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of John, so some scholars doubt its historical accuracy. But is there any parable we need to hear more nowadays than this one? I don't think so.

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; 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.”

People love that last line, thinking it gives us an out. If people keep sinning, then we can keep throwing stones. After all, Jesus said, "Go and sin no more."

Somehow, I'm not exactly sure that's what Jesus had in mind. So maybe we all better put down our stones before somebody gets hurt.


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