Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The 6th Day of Christmas

Then each of them went home, while 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." John 7:53-8:11
"Neither do I condem you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again." Then she's gone and we don't hear from her again (unless like many fictional accounts we roll all the sinful women up into the person of Mary Magdeline--which is totally unlike the Scriptural accounts of her). But what a wonderful reminder of the reason for Christmas. As it says elsewhere in the Gospel of John:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Why is it that we humans are so quick to condemn others and so slow to judge ourselves? So as we thank God for the gift of Jesus perhaps we should ask ourselves:
Who do I condemn? How would Jesus respond to that person?
Where in my own life am I guilty? How can I go my own way and sin no more?

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