"Woman where are they? Has no one condemned you?"  
John 8:10 

"Has no one condemned you?" These words spoken by Jesus on an early fall morning to a woman caught in the act of adultery. "Has no one condemned you?" I keep coming back to these words. In context Jesus was referring to the scribes and Pharisees who brought this woman in the temple.  They were hoping Jesus would break the Jewish Law which would allow them to have him charged and sentenced. "Has no one condemned you?"  

The first thing I think about when reading this passage is how did they find this woman? Was it a setup? Where's the man she was sinning with? Imagine for a moment that you're in the temple that morning. Jesus comes in, sits down, and begins to teach. A crowd begins to gather around him, you walk over and join the others sitting at the feet of Jesus as he teaches. Are you getting goosebumps!? I am! How amazing would that be!? A morning at the feet of Jesus as he teaches a radical truth about freedom and salvation. You are captivated by what he's saying. You've never heard anything like it all your life. There's something stirring in your spirit. Something's happening to you and the others in that temple. It feels good.  

Then BOOM! A woman is thrust in the middle of the seated crowd. She's standing there, we're all looking up at her. It's very early in the morning. How does she look to you? What is she wearing? What's the look on her face? What conclusions have you made about her before her accusers open their mouths? I think she's shaken. We're then told she's a married woman caught sleeping with another man. She was probably forcibly dragged to the temple at dawn, presumably right off the bed. She's disheveled with a crowd gawking at her. She knows what's going to happen next.  

Which one of us has never been that woman? Which one of us has never been part of a crowd judging another's actions? That sinking fear and feeling of pure sickness that comes over us when we're feeling condemned for our actions. That feeling of self-righteousness that permeates our ego when we feel we're in the right. We've all felt both. We’ve all been a woman caught in sin. I love what author Jennifer Rothschild says in her study of Hosea,  "a woman caught in the act of living".  

And what does Jesus say to us, the sinners and the crowd? He says nothing. That morning in the temple, Jesus hears our accusers. And he proceeds to write in the dirt. Wait, what!? What is he even writing? Did he not hear that I am a sinner! That I should be stoned to death! As the accusers continue to hassle him, he stands up. He stood up for me, for you, for us, and to us. Jesus stood up for that woman and stood up to the crowd and says:  

Let anyone who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.  

Then he sits back down and continues to write on the ground. The scribes go away, the Pharisees leave, and the crowd disperse.  The woman is still standing there in her shame and distress. Waiting. Jesus stands up, looks at her and says: "Woman where are they? Has no one condemned you?"  

"No one, Lord." 

"Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."  

The light of the world, who has set us all free with his truth does not condemn us. Jesus our living hope shows us mercy and wipes away our shame and distress. And every time those feelings resurface he's there. We only need to abide in his word to know the truth, and the truth will set us free.