When they kept questioning Jesus, He straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
This is one of the most moving and beloved stories of Jesus found in all the Gospel accounts of His life and ministry. It is a story infused with grace and wisdom, which calls us and causes us to reflect on our own brokenness before we take others to task for their shortcomings. It is a brilliant teaching moment that is attributed to Jesus. However, most scholars agree that this story is not part of the original Gospel account but rather a later addition that attempts to capture the prophetic message and profound love Jesus had for all God’s people in the world. It is unclear whether this interaction between Jesus and a woman caught in adultery ever occurred.
Some Christians might find this belief unnerving at best and heretical at worst; however, it may be a most important testament of Jesus’ continued presence with us. Long after his ministry on earth, Jesus’ guiding Spirit continued to inspire stories of His life. We don’t know if this story actually happened as it was written, but we know without a doubt that it is exactly what Jesus would do. The Gospel story might be set in stone, but Jesus’ Spirit keeps working in our midst.
What is a true story?
Lord, I don’t know about so many of the stories in the Bible. Honestly, I have plenty of questions. Did You really walk on water? How did a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread feed thousands of people? Who was standing next to You taking copious notes at all Your lectures? And yet the portrait I get of You through the Gospels helps to give direction and purpose to my life. You worked faithfully in the world before Your crucifixion, and Your Spirit helped to shape the New Testament long after Your resurrection,…and I dare to believe You are still working in my life and in the world this very day. For all this I give thanks and praise, in Your name. AMEN.