A woman was ‘caught’ in adultery. Nothing new there. The man wasn’t accused. Nothing new there. She was dragged to be stoned. Nothing new there except that nowadays it’s more metaphorical. She would be used as a pawn. Nothing new there. To trap a good man. Nothing new there either.
In the end the accusers left her. And Jesus said to her ‘No one’s condemned you?…. Neither do I.’
That’s new. In fact it still feels new. A woman who is in the wrong has all her accusers and accusations made to leave. And she is not condemned.
The rape case in India showed up the attitude of a certain section of its population. It’s the girl’s fault. She shouldn’t have been out late. She shouldn’t be so westernised… blah blah blah… and we have condemned many innocent girls to horrible fates through our prejudices.
Jesus in this story seems to go completely the other way. The system of condemnation that has dragged this woman in, is made to leave. He declares the entire system to be without validity. The system of condemnation and misogyny for that moment crumbles. In the end it’s just him and the woman. He addresses her directly. ‘Is there no one to condemn you?’ No, she replies. ‘Neither do I’ he says, ‘Go and don’t sin anymore.’ This is the freedom that Jesus offers. The woman acknowledges his act by accepting that there is nothing to condemn her.
I think that this is the Jesus we all need to embrace.