Everybody Must Get Stoned

Have you ever been stoned?

No, neither have I.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I study scripture, I find some answers and, often, more questions.

I’m still reading, learning, and wrestling about the issue of homosexuality and faith which is also part of a greater question about how we understand the application of Old Testament laws and New Testament grace since the first coming of Jesus.

Let me start this post by saying – don’t just take my word for anything. Something that really bothers me in this entire discussion is how much people rely on others to tell them what the Bible says. Don’t do that. Read it for yourself. Study it. Pray about it. Ask God to teach you. When you find a challenging passage research what mature, reputable teachers (whose lives match up with what they teach) have to say.

People spend more time researching and test-driving cars than they do investigating the Bible and no one is likely to be stuck with the wrong car choice for all of eternity!

God is absolutely worth the time and effort. Most of the Bible is not hard to understand – it’s just hard to put into practice.

I’m no one special. I’m just a woman who loves God. You, too, can read the Bible and see what God has to say with your own eyes. In fact, you’ll miss out on the adventure if you don’t. (okay, that’s the end of my sermon.)

Today, I’m wondering why Jesus didn’t stone the woman caught in adultery. (Ohh, that kind of stoned.)

It is a law. In Leviticus 20:10, the law clearly states that if a man is caught in adultery, both the adulterer and adulteress are to be put to death.

Lapidation.

That’s the term for stoning. According to Wikipedia, “Stoning, or lapidation, is a form of capital punishment whereby a group throws stones at a person until the person dies. No individual among the group can be identified as the one who kills the subject. This is in contrast to the case of a judicial executioner. Stoning is slower than other forms of execution, and hence is a form of execution by torture.”

Not pretty. But in Jesus’ day, it was not only legal, it was mandated by His Father’s law.

Surely, there was hypocrisy in the crowd. The woman hadn’t committed adultery alone and yet she stood solely accused. Certainly, her bedmate was among those trying to trick Jesus.

And so, Jesus challenges them. Let him who is without sin throw the first stone.

No one does. They slink off, properly schooled.

But Jesus does not declare the woman innocent. She is an adulteress. And He doesn’t tell her that she’s okay. He tells her to stop sinning.

But He also doesn’t throw a stone at her.

Jesus is without sin. He CAN throw the stone. It is in the law. It is cosmically LEGAL for Him to throw the stone.

Maybe He doesn’t throw the stone because Jesus knew that He is the stone.

According to Peter, Jesus is the Living Stone and those who follow Him will also be living stones built into a spiritual house. Those who reject Him will be crushed by Him, He will be a rock that makes them stumble and fall. Is it coincidence that He did not throw the stone or are we seeing the living Stone in action? I honestly don’t know.

What is the implication for us as we move forward in ministry with one another? As we proclaim the truth and encourage others to follow Jesus? What does it mean for us?

Here’s what it means for me: Of everybody standing in that crowd – all the religious leaders, the teachers, the scholars, the Pharisees, the powerbrokers and decision-makers – only one man has the power and the answers – Jesus.

In John 13, on the night He was betrayed, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. John tells us that “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.”

Throughout this past week’s discussion, I keep thinking about the lyrics from a Dave Matthews Band song “I am no Superman, I have no answers for you. I am no hero, Oh, that’s for sure, But I do know one thing is where you are is where I belong. I do know where you go is where I want to be.”

In the hardest moments and most challenging questions, with Jesus is where I want to be. The disciples were not great philosophers or scholars or teachers, they were men of their times. But when they encountered Jesus, not even always sure of what they’d encountered, they simply knew they wanted to go wherever He was.

I stand with them – following the man who came from God and who is going to God who has all things under His power.

And I stand with the woman caught in adultery. If Jesus comes between me and the stones (and He has), I want to do whatever He says out of love and gratitude.

You can follow the Living Stone or you can stumble and fall because of the stone. Either way (I have to say it) “everybody must get stoned.”

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3 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Lesley says:

    Love this Lori! ♥

  2. calvin says:

    That was beautiful. I am, in fact, going to get stoned right now. And by “get stoned” I mean “go to my jewelery store and try to sell a few stones”! Thanks again for the beautiful words…

    Cal

  3. Thank you, both. May you find grace and peace in your day.