3 Words

by DanWolgemuth on October 29, 2021

The Bible is a collection of over 783,000 words. 184,600 of them are in the New Testament, with 82,590 tucked in the four Gospels. Of these words, the Gospels record 31,426 spoken by Jesus. Each word measured and masterful. Every word a light.

Yet, within the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks three words that anchor our standing, that amplify His mission, and that underscore the power of His sacrifice.

“Neither do I…”

John 8:11.

The Woman Caught In Adultery

The woman.

Escorted into a crowded Temple by a collection of religious leaders. Scribes. Pharisees.

To those who brought her in, a pawn. To Jesus, she was the reason He came.

She was setup so that they could set Jesus up. Placed in the midst. A specimen. 

The leaders viewed her as an object to be leveraged, a means to a noble end…

Not Jesus.

A woman, like this woman, wasn’t a distraction from His mission… she was His mission. The trap they set for Him included an image bearer. A sister. Beloved. As such, the stakes were undeniably high.

As the tension rose, Jesus knelt. As words flew, Jesus wrote.

The religious leaders saw her through the lens of the law… Jesus saw her with His eyes fixed on the rough-hewn timbers of the cross.

Condemnation. That was the only currency they cared about. The Law of Moses.

Jesus knew… sin had to be paid for. And as the spectacle unfolded, it was clear that He knew exactly who would pay for her sins.

In His own words, He had come to fulfill the law, not rewrite it, not demolish it. So yes… for the sake of justice, punishment was required.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17)

With the Holy Spirit pulsating through his pen, Apostle Paul put it this way… “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

In that moment. The moment. The Woman was in Christ Jesus. With Him. In front of Him. Therefore, no condemnation.

Perhaps He wrote her name in the dust. Perhaps they were words that revealed His knowledge of her. Like the woman at the well, Jesus demystified her past without condoning it. Her shame met its match. Grace exploded. In three words…

Neither do I…

Dignity instead of death. Hope in the face of hatred. Three words as a salve for a wounded soul. Three words for her. Three words preserved for us.

Times change, but often the script doesn’t. Like two thousand years ago, our currency is often condemnation. Motive imputed. Guilt forgone.

We occupy space that Jesus never invited us into. In fact, He evicted us from this space.

In three words. Grace unleashed. Love lavished.

Perhaps… The Woman has no other name, because it is our name that fills that space. We are that broken mess. Busted. Guilty. Shamed…

His words in the dust remind us that we are redeemed. Rescued. Secured. Adopted.

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone…

Then and now. We file out.

Then and now. We cling to the cross.

Then and now. He demonstrates His love.

Together. Followers of Jesus. Devaluing the currency of condemnation. Elevating the power of grace.

Neither do I…

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