But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. 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, “If any one of you is without sin, let him 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. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you.” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” – John 8:1-11
Do you remember a time of feeling absolutely free? Maybe as a child on a swing or on the first day of summer? How did it feel?
This poor woman in the scripture passage is not free. She is being held captive by the religious leaders, and she is trapped in sin. Using your imagination, fill in the details of this woman’s story. What life choices and circumstances led to her decision to be a part of an adulterous relationship? How did she get caught? What was her night in jail like? How do you feel about this woman?
As our text suggests, “But Jesus” is a powerful phrase. How have these words affected your life – times when you were trapped or suffocating, but Jesus…? What impossible thing has God done in your life? Do you have a “but Jesus…” story?
As it turns out, Jesus was the only truly free person present that day. The crowd was made to see that they were sinners too. How might this event have changed the men who had been so quick to punish?
Jesus offers the woman forgiveness and encourages her to leave her life of sin. What sinful parts of your life would you like to leave behind? How might your life be different?
Receiving God’s forgiveness makes us free. Have you found it easy or hard to receive forgiveness?
What stands in your way of believing you are forgiven?
What do you think the rest of this woman’s life was like? How would freedom from sinful habits and patterns change your own life? How would you use your freedom to help others experience healing and wholeness?
How would a greater experience of freedom allow you to enter into Sabbath rest more freely?
Leave this quiet time trusting that you have been set free.
Note from the Editor: the accompanying featured image is “Liberty Garden,” painted in 1972 by Walter Darby Bannard, Fair Use.