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Inspiration Corner
By Barbara Steiner
Classic stories from American history and the Bible
Thursday, April 25, 2013

Let him...throw the first stone.

Barbara Steiner

"Thomas, Lydia needs help! She's like a dead person wrapped in misery. Look at her blank eyes. She does not see us."

"Caleb, forget her."

"No, she's our sister, Thomas."

"I hope you're not taking blame for her adultery. How could you have helped her? Could you have stopped her from meeting Micah? Do you think that you are her protector?"

"Not really, but put this into your mind: She is our sister and I love her."

"Caleb, you don't owe her anything."

"I'm not talking about owing. This is about loving her. It's not like she wanted money and I didn't give it to her."

"You think too much. What are you going to do, Caleb?"

"I think we should find Jesus. He understands justice, better than the authorities I see around us."

"Caleb, you're such a fool."

"Be careful, brother. If you're so concerned about the law, remember our religious laws tell us to not call another person a fool."

"You sure would qualify, if they did. Lydia needs to pay for what she did. She committed adultery."

"Thomas, back off! Come with me."

The brothers found Jesus in the Temple. They stood behind a crowd of people, who were listening to him. A group of men were coming towards him and dragging a young woman. They dumped her in front of the crowd. "Jesus, we caught this woman in the act of adultery. She deserves to be stoned by Moses' law. What do you think?"

As Thomas recognized his sister, he was shaken. "Caleb, do you see who it is? It's Lydia. Those men with her are teachers of the law and religious leaders. Some have rocks in their hands. How can they be righteous judges? Their faces are twisted with hate and excitement. They want to stone Lydia."

Caleb said to Thomas, "This isn't about justice."

Jesus watched the men and young woman.

Caleb wondered, "What will he do? He has no authority in the temple or political government."

Thomas nudged him. "Caleb, why did those men bring Lydia to Jesus?"

This is a trap and Lydia's the bait. These leaders despise what Jesus says and does. He exposes their attitudes, claims to be God, and helps the people.

Jesus bent down and wrote letters in the dust. There was silence. Then people murmured, "What is he writing." No one seemed to know.

The accusers of the woman started demanding, "Should this woman be executed? What do you have to say? Do you have an answer? Tell us!"

Jesus stood tall. "Yes, I will answer you. Stone the woman, but be sure that the first people who throw stones at her have never sinned." He again wrote in the sand and again there was silence.

The accusers became uncertain, debating within themselves. Then they began walking away. The oldest accuser left first. Then they all were gone. Jesus, the crowd, and the woman remained. Jesus spoke to her, "Aren't any of those men going to condemn you?"

"No, master."

Jesus looked intently at her. "Neither will I. Go and sin no more."

This incident, recorded in John 8 of the Bible, has been quoted for centuries. It is encouraging to see in it that God believes in the future of each human being. It opens a window to defining love.

"If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal."

"If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever."

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." (I Corinthians 13 of Bible)

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