Looking back on my high school years- one stands out. I was reminded recently of my embarrassing audition as a just turned 16 year old to play the adulterous woman in a professional production of the Passion Play. The Passion Play was a re-enactment of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. I had been cast the year before as a shepherd girl and I was pretty great at herding sheep and shouting “Hosanna” or “Crucify Him”during my scenes. Mid season the actress playing the adulterous woman left the show, so the director held an open audition. My friend Sandy, a beautiful curvy junior in high school with perfect 80’s hair was auditioning, though as a sophomore, I had the figure of a skinny middle school boy and flat hair that did not scream stylish, oblivious to the concept of typecasting, I decided to audition. Getting the part would have doubled my pay, plus it wasn’t a hard role. All I had to do was scream, cry a little and look around and say “No one, my Lord.” No problem, I thought.
The time for the audition came. Sandy’s audition went perfectly. She screamed loudly while being roughly dragged to Jesus. She huddled crying softly on the ground by his feet. The priests proclaimed, “This woman was caught in adultery, the law says we must stone her.” Jesus looked each of the accusers in the eye and said, “If any of you are without sin, let him be the first to cast a stone.” Each of the priests and accusers dropped their stones and slowly began to slink away. Jesus then looked her in the eye, and gently asked, “Where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, my lord.” “Neither do I accuse you, go and sin no more.” Jesus answered. End scene.
It now was time for my audition- I was ready. Everything went perfectly till the actor playing Jesus looked my accusers in the eye and said, “If any of you are without sin, let him cast the first stone;” then he ad-libbed, “You should be ashamed of yourselves, this woman is not even in High school”. I was mortified. First of all, that wasn’t in the script and most importantly, I was in High school! The director had us redo the scene to give me a fair audition but it was too late. It was even more embarrassing the second time. I knew what people thought of me. I knew I didn't have a chance.
Every time I would read this story in the Bible, I would hear "This woman is not even in Highschool." I finally got past my embarrassing audition memories of this story by focusing on Jesus amazing sacrificial love for this woman and all of us. When Jesus got down in the dust and told her “neither do I accuse you,” he made this statement as one who was without sin.
I realized by pardoning this one woman, He was condemning himself.
Jesus made the choice to bear the consequences of her sin. For Jesus, it was personal. That woman didn’t realize the price Jesus would pay for her pardon. She and everyone watching the accusers drop their stones probably thought this was a legal and philosophical question. They were impressed with Jesus’ ability to turn the question back on the accusers.
Two thousand years ago, every person that witnessed this woman being accused of adultery knew that the legal consequence of adultery was death. They didn’t realize Jesus had come to fulfill the law. The woman and the man she had been caught with were to be stoned according to the law. (On a side note, this situation was a little sketch because only the woman was brought to Jesus).
Long before he lifted her out of the dirt and shame, he knew that he would pay the ultimate cost for her selfishness,her choice to please herself and her lover instead of choosing to please God, yet he still chose to intercede and to save her. Jesus has done the same for all of us, regardless of the mistakes, selfish choices and shameful decisions we have made, Jesus reaches down into the dust to lift us up and ask us “Where are your accusers?” “Neither do I accuse you. Go and sin no more.”
Do you feel guilty or ashamed of the choices you have made? Take a minute to imagine yourself accused and caught red-handed in the biggest mistake you have ever made. Now imagine Jesus choosing to accept the consequences, the suffering and to pay the price for your guilt. It is finished. You are forgiven. Jesus chose to pay the debt long before you fell at his feet.
You are free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36