...one to stop, and the dance is over. The need to dance appears ingrained in our DNA; in every known culture dance exists in some form. Shows like Dancing with Stars and a host of others prove our continued interest and fascination with what amounts to an ancient art form. The Tango is beautiful to watch because the moves are intricate, fluid and require great skill and focus. And, unlike other dances, the Tango requires two people.
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."*
This is a powerful lesson about self righteousness, deceit and a new beginning. Despite appearances, the religious leaders had no sincere interest in the Law or its interpretation; their motive was to trap Jesus. They knew full well the Law of Moses required both parties be stoned not just the woman. Much like performing the Tango, two people are required to commit adultery; so…where was the other person? If they caught her “in the act of adultery” they could have easily have brought the other person as well. What’s worse, they showed no regard for the woman they were publicly shaming and pronouncing a death sentence upon. Jesus knew their true intentions and simply issued a challenge that highlighted the accusers’ sinful state. The scripture records they left not as group as they had come, but one by one – convicted by their own evil intentions and hardness of heart. The person with the most to lose in this situation, the woman, gained the most when she encountered Christ and was transformed by His love. Perhaps for the first time in a long time, she knew what it meant to be loved and accepted not judged based on what she had done, but what she would do: “Go and sin no more.”
At some point, each of us may find ourselves in the role of the accuser or the accused. If Jesus does not condemn, then why must we? If we examine our hearts, we may remember things we’ve said and done that, if known, we would become "the woman" standing before a crowd of people armed with stones. God’s Word was never intended to be used a stone to be hurled at others –condemning them with rules and regulations. Self righteousness is just that – self righteousness – it means nothing and carries no weight in sight of God. The Word of God binds up, lifts up and brings healing and hope.
In this dance called life, there many who will accuse us of one thing or another; don’t worry - Jesus intercedes on our behalf. When we sincerely repent and turn from our sins, they are thrown into “a sea of forgetfulness” and they are not held against us. Freedom like that is worth singing and dancing about! It is time new things: new hope, new lives and a new future in Christ.
Amen and amen.
* New International Version - John 8:1-11