There was a day when the law met Grace and demanded judgment and death, but Grace delivered mercy and forgiveness.
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Pharisees were right. According to Leviticus 20:10 the law stated anyone committing adultery were to be put to death and they were ready to do just that. Justice demanded satisfaction.
The Pharisees were setting a trap for Jesus. They wanted to see how He would respond to this situation. The law was clear. The woman was guilty. She deserved to be stoned to death. The law had been broken.
Jesus answered their accusations with words so profound that they startled, shocked and shut the mouths of the adulteress’ woman’s accusers. They had no defense…so one by one they dropped their stones and walked away in silence, leaving the woman alone with Jesus.
The Day Law Met Grace
The only person standing there that day that was without sin was Jesus.
He could have stoned her to death. He was the only one standing there without sin that day. Instead He offered the woman love and forgiveness and told her to go and sin no more.
Jesus said He didn’t come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Matthew 5:17 KJV
The law was a list of do’s and don’ts dependent upon what man did. The law was all about outward appearance, judgment and condemnation. No man was able to keep the law, therefore, man was always breaking it. The law was ‘broken’. The law couldn’t save man. Only one man could keep the law and that was Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God. That’s why Jesus willingly died for our sins. We needed a Savior. Only Jesus could ‘fix’ us. Only He could ‘fix’ what was broken through the fall of Adam.
We owed a debt we could not pay, He paid a debt He did not owe.
Moses’ law said an adulterer or adulteress were to be put to death, but Jesus said if a man looks upon a woman and lusts after her he has committed adultery with her already in his heart. The law was about the flesh and outward appearance, but grace was about the heart, the inward man. Only God knows what’s really in a man’s heart, that’s why He’s the only one worthy of judging man. But instead of judging us he offers us mercy, grace, and pardon.
Jesus came to die so that we could live. We are no longer under the law, but are now under grace when we accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin. Grace is about the inward man, the heart. Jesus sees the inward man, our heart. One day He will Judge us, but that day is not now. Today is the day of Salvation. Today it’s all about Grace…and Grace is a man…Jesus. He offers us love and forgiveness. He knows we aren’t perfect. He knows we are human. He knows we fail. That’s why He came. He was the perfect sacrifice and all the wrath of God was laid upon Him so we could go free. On the cross justice met grace. Love took our place.
He died, so that we could live. He suffered, so that we don’t have to. He took our guilt and shame and offered us His forgiveness. He, who knew no sin, took our sin upon Him and gave us His righteousness.
Yes, the law condemns, but grace pardons.
So thankful for His mercy and grace today!