Where is Mercy
“They said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’ This they said, testing Him.”
Jesus knew the Scribes and Pharisees expected Him to forgive the woman caught in adultery and that they would accuse Him of breaking the law of Moses. Jesus changed the picture; “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (V.7). All her accusers left and Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” He agreed that she had sinned – that adultery is sin before God and deserved stoning – but in His mercy and grace he forgave her and gave her a second chance. “Go and sin no more.” He did not bless her conduct nor reasons for doing it. He demanded new conduct, new reasons for choosing her actions and living her life.
Many in the world, both then and now, want to change Scripture to fit their own agenda and bless their own actions. We too, attempt to make decision from different motives, yet all seeking to obey Scripture. The Pharisees were trying to enforce the “Law of Moses,” but without “mercy and grace.” Like standing around the mud hole with accusing fingers, but no one helping the person out of the mud. Others want to pull the person out of the mud without addressing the muddy sins. Neither way pleases God, nor follows Scripture.
We must never compromise biblical truths nor ignore personal sins. All biblical truths must be addressed in love and Christian Grace. To ignore biblical truth, or even to soften it, is to deny the way and Word of God. The doctrines (teachings) of Scripture are not just good ideas in a complicated culture, or even the “ideal” to strive for, but never to be achieved. The doctrines (teachings) of Scripture are to be believed and obeyed, because we trust God and believe His way is right and best always. However, to condemn the sins of another, without explaining the grace and mercy of God betrays the example of Christ. It is, in fact, playing God--speaking judgment, while forgetting all the forgiveness we have experienced. “He who is without sin among you. . .” It is wrong to condemn without explaining the grace of forgiveness.
Jesus was being perceived as too soft on sin, even though they broke the law of Moses rather freely themselves. Why would they accuse a woman caught in the very act of adultery and not accuse the man caught in the same act of adultery? The law of Moses demands they both be stoned. Several times Jesus rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees for heaping burdens upon others (their own laws and rules added on top of the Laws of God) and Jesus claimed they would not lift a finger to help. They were trying to protect God and His Laws, by adding more rules and Laws to ensure that they properly obeyed God’s Laws. Jesus said they were hindering, not helping.
Like Jonah, who feared if he preached as God sent him to do, the people would repent and God would forgive them and not destroy Nineveh. Jonah feared God was too soft. God reminded him of how hard hearted he was. Mercy and grace was not his passion. He refused to preach so they could not repent. He was trying to control the situation-- to control God.