Summary: We are all in need of the grace of Jesus. We cannot afford to be throwing stones
Laying Down Your Stones
June 24, 2005
I can remember a time when my neighbor and I were looking for stones in my driveway that we could skip across our creek. We made a nice pile of flat stones that might work well for the task of skipping stones across the creek. In the process we made a pile of larger stones to use for other things, like throw at snakes or maybe birds or even a car.
My mom had an old car that was ready for the junkyard and was used for nothing. So my neighbor and I decided that it would make for a good target to practice on before we went and tackled those snakes or whatever else we might have come across that day.
The first throw my neighbor missed by a mile, little did I know he missed on purpose because he saw my mom watching from the kitchen window, and I knew I could do better. So I hauled off and hit the driver’s side headlight. It went to pieces literally and so did my mother. There were very few times that I heard my full name come out of my mother’s mouth but this was one of them. That hot summer day I learned a valuable lesson, don’t throw stones.
This morning as you came in you should have been handed a stone. Stones can be valuable as well, you use stones to build something. You can use stones cover something up or you can even decorate with stones.
Take just a moment to feel the stone, what do you feel? There is a hardness. There is a heaviness. There is a coarseness. There is sometimes a feeling that you just want to throw that stone.
If you have your Bibles with you this morning, open them to John 8:1-11.
1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11 "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
The Reason for Throwing Stones
There is absolutely nothing wrong with calling sin exactly what it is. God hates sin and makes it clear that sin will never have a place in His presence. As believers, we are called to hate sin and stand against sinful behavior. However, it is important to remember that God hates sin but He loves the sinner. Jesus died to redeem lost people, to buy them back from the penalty and punishment of sin. More important than our call to hate sin, is to love sinners. Far too often we forget this fundamental fact. We look at people, size them up, pass judgment and begin throwing stones. The sad truth is that we are far more willing to point out the faults and failures of others without realizing and recognizing that we are not without faults ourselves.
As the Pharisees take this woman out before Jesus, she is nothing more than a pawn in a plan to attack Jesus. Let’s not forget the fact that there was indeed a man involved in this situation and it doesn’t make sense for the Pharisees to bring the woman and not the man. Both of them were guilty but one thing is clear about life, the behavior that comes from the flesh never has to make sense. The stone throwing began when they discarded being just.
The Law that the Pharisees were so careful to quote and defend had already been disregarded because they had only brought the woman. Clearly there was no interest in justice. The stone throwing began before anyone ever picked up a rock. It began with a malicious intent to discredit Jesus no matter who got harmed in the process.