"Neither Do I Condemn You"
This is the story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery. It’s the story of an unexpected encounter between the Savior and a sinful woman. Someone has remarked that just as we have the parable of the prodigal son, here we have the story of the prodigal daughter.People who rarely read the Bible know this story. In his book Great Interviews of the Bible, Clarence McCartney comments that the great museums of Europe always have at least one work of art based on this dramatic encounter. Our text also contains one of the most famous statements of Jesus: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
As we approach this story, it is worth noting that there is some question about where it should be placed in the Bible, or if it should be in the Bible at all. Most modern translations note that the entire story is absent in many of the oldest Greek manuscripts. Some translations put brackets around the story, and a few relegate it to the footnotes or place it at the end of John’s Gospel. It seems that some church fathers commented on it while others apparently did not know the story at all. This is not the place to discuss detailed matters of textual criticism, but I am attracted to St. Augustine’s comment (made approximately 1,600 years ago) that some copyists omitted the story because it seemed to make Christ too lenient toward the sin of adultery. Hold that last thought because we will return to it at the end of the message.
This “portrait of the Prodigal Daughter” seems to perfectly illustrate the meaning of John 1:17, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” In it we find two things revealed:
The dangers of a judgmental spirit, and
The forgiving heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This story demonstrates the enduring relevance of the Bible. If you update a few details, this incident could have happened yesterday.
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