“Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Is there no one to condemn you?” She said, “No one, sir.” [a] Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, don’t sin anymore.” – John 8:10-11
The story of Jesus’s encounter with the woman who committed adultery is of one the most memorable stories from the gospels. In this story, Jesus reveals the heart of God for sinners. The woman had every reason to be judged, sentenced and condemned. The penalty for her sin should have been the taking of her life. Yet, Jesus gives her life. He gives her physical life as her accusers and prosecutors quietly leave. He gives her spiritual life as he forgives her and commands her to turn from the sin that has caused so much destruction in her life. It’s an incredible story of forgiveness, compassion and hope.
I’ve often wondered what happened to this woman. I want to believe that she left her life of sin. I believe I’ve even preached that Jesus’s mercy turned her life around. This is my hope. Yet, we don’t see the rest of her story. I hope this woman embraced the grace and hope that she had been given and allowed it to change her life. I hope she shared her story with family and friends and spent the rest of her life pointing people to the grace and compassion that she had been given by Christ. I imagine her telling children and grandchildren about the hope that she found through the one who had been crucified and rose from the grave. I hope the rest of her story was filled with love, kindness, grace and mercy as she embraced the new life that Christ offered her.
This is my hope.
Truly, we don’t know the rest of the story. The woman disappears into the streets of Jerusalem. We don’t know how she lived out the remainder of her life. As I reflect on this story, I realize that the only story I live is the story of my life. I don’t know the rest of the woman’s story, but I can control the ending of my story. I have sinned in my life and Jesus offers me the grace and mercy which he offered this woman. My responsibility is to embrace this grace and allow it guide and influence the decisions I make and the actions I take each day. Jesus is the One who offers us His grace with the command to repent and allow this grace to change our hearts which changes our behaviors and attitudes. What I do with this incredible offer of grace will write the rest of my story.
Each of our lives is a story. Jesus’s grace gives us the opportunity to allow a beautiful story of redemption and love to be written in our lives. We must embrace His grace and allow it to transform us so our lives reflect the story of His love and leading in our lives. He is our Savior and Lord and His presence in our lives should write the rest of the story. I’m thankful for the grace Christ offers and for beautiful stories that He writes in our lives.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23