Jesus: Defender of the Condemned

Read John 8:1-11

I’d been caught in the act. The underlying anger and bitterness I harbored against all humanity had finally, irrefutably manifested itself. I’d been called out by two co-workers within a week for my attitude in two different situations. I felt like the woman of this passage – dragged to the Temple courts, surrounded and accused (not unjustly), with my sin hanging visibly around my neck like an albatross. I replayed the conversations in my head, which triggered memories of other broken relationships. I thought of the angry comment I muttered at a fellow T passenger, the roommate who had once been a close friend but now only saw my flaws, the forgiveness I withheld from my dad for more than two years.

Confronting sin

At this time, I discovered the practice of meditating on Scripture in a way that placed me in the midst of the action, experiencing it with all my senses. I found myself returning to the story of the woman caught in adultery. Confessing my sin through this story made my excuses fall away, demanding honesty about who I’d hurt. I imagined their faces as the ones who dragged me to the court. In the midst of my shame stood Jesus – the perfect one, the only one with every right to throw the first stone. Yet instead of judgment in his eyes, I saw gentleness. Though his eyes penetrated deep into my soul, seeing every intimate detail of my sin, he looked at me with love, compassion, and understanding. His love also refused to let me keep my bitterness and anger.  He called me to change, showed me the way, and promised me the rescuing power I needed to live in a different way.

This is the true meaning of grace. “I do not condemn you, my daughter,” he said. “Go and sin no more.” It is truly his kindness that leads us to repentance – even when our own hearts condemn us.

Are there any hidden sins you need to bring to light to experience Jesus’ grace?


Written by Jessi Rennekamp

Artwork by Peter Howson, Giclee print, Christos Aneste painting series,