Many seem to perceive God as a vengeful, wrathful, God who is out to condemn us all on the slightest whim and send us straight to hell. But contrary to this view, I see by the scriptures that God is proven to be a most wise, patient, and merciful God. He is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9).

In John 8:1-11, we read how the Pharisees brought a woman, caught in the act of adultery, to Jesus. They asked, "Moses commanded us to stone such a woman, but what do you say?" Immediately Jesus, in his infinite wisdom, saw the situation for what it was, a trap set for him. Verse 6 tells us they were tempting Jesus so they might have some grounds to accuse him.

Jesus came to earth to be the perfect sacrifice for sin. He came to fulfill the prophesy of the law of Moses, and could in no way violate any part of that law, yet he came to save people, not to kill them. To the wisdom of man this situation presents a contradiction, an insurmountable dilemma, so what would Jesus do?

Jesus could have said, "Where is the man? If this is a stoning offense, he should also be stoned." (Deut. 22:-24) Or, Jesus could have said, "Was this woman a virgin? If so, let the man pay 50 shekels to her father and then marry her." (Deut. 22:28-29) Jesus could have said many things, but He said none of these things. What Jesus did say to them was, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." When they heard this, they being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the eldest even unto the last. Not one of them was willing to admit they had witnessed this sin. They would have been admitting to adultery themselves, or conspiring with the adulterer, who by the way, was conspicuously absent. Since this was a craftily constructed trap, every one of the Pharisees was just as guilty as the woman. Whether they were the ones who committed adultery, or just a part of the conspiracy of the trap, they were all equally guilty. When Jesus saw that only he and the woman remained, he said unto her, "Woman where is your accusers, has no man condemned you?" She said, "No man, Lord." Jesus said unto her, "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more."

In the end, the only witness to the woman's sin was Jesus. Since He was only one witness, and the law of Moses required two or more witnesses, with one witness casting the first stone, she could not be stoned. (Deut. 17:6-7) Instead, Jesus called her to repentance, for this is God's desire for mankind, that all should repent and turn from sin.

We can learn many lessons from this powerful story. First, we see that Jesus knows the truth about all matters and will sort out all situations, no matter how complex they may seem to us. Secondly, we see that Jesus is not out to condemn us, even though we sin and fall far short of the glory, our Heavenly Father would have us to be. Thirdly, and I think most importantly, we see the love and mercy of Jesus. He directed his tender love and mercy for mankind, to save this woman, in keeping with God's eternal mercy and righteous judgment.

May I say, what an awesome, yet patient, wise, and merciful God we serve. He has been patiently waiting since the garden, for his children to return to him, and He awaits us still.

We invite all who would, to come together with us each Sunday morning at Kedron on the Coopertown Road, Russellville, Kentucky, to worship God in spirit and in truth. We neither add to God's word or take from it. Bible study at 10:00 and Worship at 11:00.