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Words of Life

Not Guilty

By Max Lucado March 6, 2022 Words of Life

“Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”—John 8:12

The woman stands in the center of the circle. Those men around her are religious leaders. Pharisees, they are called. Self-appointed custodians of conduct. And the other man— the one in the simple clothes, the one sitting on the ground, the one looking at the face of the woman—that’s Jesus.

Jesus has been teaching. The woman has been cheating. And the Pharisees are out to stop them both.

“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery” (John 8:4). In an instant she is yanked from private passion to public spectacle. Nothing can hide her shame. From this second on, she’ll be known as an adulteress. When she goes out to the market, women will whisper. When she passes, heads will turn.

“The law of Moses commands that we stone to death every woman who does this. What do you say we should do?” (v.5 NCV).

What does Jesus do? Jesus writes in the sand. And after he writes, he speaks: “Anyone here who has never sinned can throw the first stone at her” (v.7 NCV).

The young look to the old. The old look in their hearts. They are the first to drop their stones.

“Woman, where are they? Has no one judged you guilty?”

She answers, “No one, sir.”

Then Jesus says, “I also don’t judge you guilty. You may go now, but don’t sin anymore” (vv. 10-11 NCV).

If you have ever wondered how God reacts when you fail, watch carefully. He’s writing. He’s leaving a message. Not in the sand, but on a cross. His message has two words: not guilty.


Max Lucado appears on LIFE TODAY on Monday, March 14. Excerpted from 3:16: The Numbers Of Hope by Max Lucado. Copyright ©2007 Max Lucado. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

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