No Longer Measuring Up

[B]ut Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:1–11 NIV)

There was a doorframe in our old house where our kids would measure their height. They would measure how tall they were and write it down on the doorpost with their age. They would compare their most recent measurement to their last measurement. They would also compare their height with the height of their siblings at the same age. We so easily want to compare and see how we measure up. Are we greater? Are we lesser? How do we compare with others? As experts in Jewish religious laws and the commandments of God, the Pharisees were experts on how people measured up to these same commandments and laws. They were also experts on how people failed to reach God’s intention.

The Pharisees brought this woman caught in adultery to Jesus because they knew she did not measure up. They were trying to trap Jesus because they knew he made a practice of caring for and having compassion on those who did not measure up. Jesus confounded these experts by asking if any of them were sinless. They knew the answer to that question, and they slipped away, one by one. Jesus knows what sin is. Jesus knows what failing to measure up to God’s commandments and intentions entails. Jesus also knows it is in forgiveness we are released from the bondage of sin. It is for forgiveness and beginning anew that Jesus came to this Earth to die.

In Jesus, we no longer need to compare, we no longer need to figure out how we measure up. Our sin is forgiven as we surrender our lives to God in Jesus Christ. We now can live in the grace of God. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift to us in Jesus (2 Corinthians 9:15).