Naked and Stoned in the Courtyard

 I see Him again, this time standing in a court yard. Catching accusatory questions and glances with an abundance of patience and truth. 

He sees out of the corner of His eye, men dressed from head to toe in a years worth of salary. In their hands, as though she were just plucked out of last nights garbage, is a small woman. 

I see her tattered and barren body thrust across the cold stone pavement. There's evidence of rough handling across her face. Not sure if it was only at the hands of these pious men or the one from last night. 

I see terror and shame plastered across her face. It screams louder of her indiscretions than the men yanking her to her death. 

The court yard is filled with hungry eyes. I can feel the darkness converge in this place. The heavy and bitter scent of jealousy, hatred, and lust fills the atmosphere. 

Every eye is on her exposed shame as they toss her to the ground. Damaged goods. A spectacle. A tool. I can see the smirks and knowing grins on their faces. She will do the trick. 

I see Jesus kneel down. He slides to his knees and his eyes catch the dust in his fingertips. He doesn't look away because of weakness or disgust as some do but because He won't bring her anymore pain. What He writes in the dirt I can't even imagine. It's probably not as significant right now as the gesture, the pause, the plea He silently sends up on her behalf. 

He can feel them. In this moment He must be filled with righteous anger over the careless and cruel disregard for this precious life. But even in this, He doesn't have misguided anger. He knows the true culprit lies in wait among the shadows. In the lure of pride and status. 

I see Him lift up two small stones. I wonder if in this moment He can feel the weight of those stones against His own skin. If He can feel her shame, adultery, and fear flash before Him as His own on the cross. Guilt He's never tasted but will one day adopt as His own for her.

I wonder if he can see these same men setting Him on trial and then eventually being cut to the heart when reminded that they killed their messiah as they gaze toward that upper room. 

What compassion to see ahead to that day for them.

I see Him invite these men to throw their stones. The lust for murder in their eyes. They want Him but she will do for now. 

But first, He brings an eye opening reminder of their own status before God. As they gawk and hunger after the same woman they are so willing to stone, Jesus's words bring a shockwave to their consciences. They feel the same sin they are about to murder her for bounce around in their minds.

"Him without sin, throw the first stone." 

They flee before they have to admit to their false religiosity, that their hunger for sin is greater than for truth and justice. 

Not one remains. They retreat at the sound of their backfired condemnation. 

I see her still laying there. Mud, shame, and blood cover her face. Her arms trying to wrap up any dignity that's left. 

Then Jesus looks up and straight into her eyes. Her entire life she has been gazed upon and exposed by the eyes of men. But for the first time in her life she is seen. He sees into the pain and trauma. His gaze penetrates all her shame and brokenness with a love so deep and pure she forgets her nakedness completely. 

I see him gently remove His outer garment and cover her bruised and mishandled body. He tells her, like He tells us all, that there is no one left to accuse. No one to judge how she got here and the choices she made.

If He doesn't then no one else can.

He lifts her off the ground and in an instant, in one encounter with Him, she is forever changed. He doesn't condemn her but He doesn't leave her as she was.

There would be no love in that. That would only call back the darkness in her life. Change is the language of love. He can see it in her eyes. 

"Don't leave me in the dust." 

The cry of her heart saying if He doesn't change her she will wake up in that same dark room, in those same dark hands. In the clutches of sin. If He leaves her like this He might as well pick up the stones and place them in her accusers hands. 

He looks into her eyes and says "Go on and sin no more." 

It's not permission but it's Him imparting His very power into her being to accomplish the impossible. 

Infused with His love the past fades away. The darkness is lit up and blinded in that moment and she is made new. 

She will follow Him. No matter where He goes, she will go with Him. Because she now knows He is life itself. And to not be with Him would be worse than the world she knew before this day. 

As she looks down one more time she sees her name written in the dust. The whole time they saw her guilt, He saw her name. 

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