One of the most amazing stories in the New Testament to me is the story of a king who reversed roles with his subjects. The story that I’m referring to is the story that’s found in John chapter 8.
3 When the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in the middle of the court and put the case before Him. 4 Teacher, they said, This woman has been caught in the very act of adultery. 5 Now Moses in the Law commanded us that such [women—offenders] shall be stoned to death. But what do You say [to do with her—what is Your sentence]? 6 This they said to try (test) Him, hoping they might find a charge on which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger. 7 However, when they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. 8 Then He bent down and went on writing on the ground with His finger. 9 They listened to Him, and then they began going out, conscience-stricken, one by one, from the oldest down to the last one of them, till Jesus was left alone, with the woman standing there before Him in the center of the court. 10 When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you? 11 She answered, No one, Lord! And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more.
I am talking about the famous story of the woman caught in adultery. We find in the story that the religious leaders of his day, in an attempt to trap Jesus, brought a woman caught in adultery to him wanting him to respond with judgment.
What I think is important to note here is that the religious leaders and their followers had already judged this woman. They stood there, with stones in hand, preparing to destroy her. Never once did they consider that the authority to judge was not in their hands. Never once did they consider that they were subjects of the King and their correct place was to bow down and serve. But they stood there holding stones of judgment.
Jesus, on the other hand, whom the Bible tells us is the only one worthy to judge, never picked up a stone. Jesus instead, took on the role of the servant. Jesus bowed down and lifted the woman up. Kings don’t bow to anyone. A King, especially in Jesus’s day would never bow down; neither would they touch a woman, particularly a woman caught in sin. And there you have a role reversal. Jesus, the King with the power to judge and condemn traded places with his subjects, and did the work prescribed for a subject: to down and serve.
And what a beautiful job Jesus did. Jesus reached out to this already shun, broken, and hurting woman and picked her up out of the dirt. Not just the dirt of the earth, but the dirt of her life. In Jesus says one of the most beautiful things in all of the Scripture.
He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you? 11 She answered, No one, Lord! And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more.
And Jesus says that to you and Jesus says that to me. Where are your accusers? I do not condemn you either…
That is the message of the gospel. The King of King’s and Lord of Lords loves you and I so very much that he would bow down taking on the servants role in order to say I do not condemn you either.
And to us, the religious community of today, who call ourselves followers of Christ, We should take note of this story. There is a lesson here to be learned. We are not the Kings. We are not the judges. We must realize our place. We are the servants. And if we are truly followers of Christ, than we should emulate what Jesus did for that woman caught in the dirt of sin. We too should be the ones bowing down and lifting up the broken and condemned sinners of the of this world.