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 8:1-11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
This is one of the passages of scripture that finds more clarity in a footnote.
When I read the story from John 8:1-11, I am comforted by the image that Jesus, the rightful Judge, tells the sinful woman, “Neither do I condemn you …. Go and do not sin again.” I love knowing that one day Jesus treated a pitiful woman with such love and grace. And when I re-read the story, paying attention to a footnote, the message contained in this passage hits closer to home.
In most Bible translations there is a notation at the end of verse 8, directing our attention to a footnote. In the NRSV, the footnote reads: “Other ancient authorities add the sins of each of them.”
Jesus dealt with a judgmental crowd, those who were eager and anxious to condemn this fellow human being for her exposed sinfulness, by writing in the dirt the dirt on each of them. The sinless Jesus didn’t condemn her. Who am I, sinner that I am, to condemn anyone else?
God, I thank You that in Jesus You have saved, claimed, and forgiven me. Let me show that grace to others as I embrace them today with Your love, in Jesus’ name. Amen.