Those who heard him went away, one by one, beginning with the elders. Finally, only Jesus and the woman were left in the middle of the crowd. — John 8:9
One of the ways to let the Bible speak is simply to be curious and ask questions about the things you read. It opens up new ways of looking at things, and new opportunities for the Holy Spirit to do her work.
The famous story of the religious leaders bringing to Jesus the woman caught in adultery is a great example. After Jesus convicts them–“Let whoever is sinless cast the first stone”–and they leave, the woman remains.
Why? With her accusers gone, it was a prime opportunity to escape. Yet, there she was, silently standing before him.
Here are a few possible reasons.
She was stunned. Just when she expected death, she was given life. It was simply too much to process. That is the purest experience of grace, when it comes as a complete surprise.
She was tired. Prostitution wasn’t her choice profession. Probably her husband and family had died and she was left alone; that was the gateway cause of prostitution back then. She did what she had done to survive. She felt ashamed and guilty, and tired of feeling and living that way. She would stay and face the consequences.
She was intrigued. Who was this man, who could put the powerful, self-righteous religious bigots in their place? She needed to understand what he was thinking and why he had stood up for her, at great risk to himself.
She wanted to thank him. Jesus didn’t need to do what he had done. The easiest thing in the world was for him to say, “Sure, that’s what Moses says, do what you want.” But he advocated for her, and no one had ever done that before.
This famous story is out of place, biblically. No one knows where it came from. It was placed in the eighth chapter for no reason other than it needed to be included. That’s because in it, we see the essence of Jesus. And in it, also, we see ourselves in that woman. Standing in front of Jesus, alone.
Which of these possible reasons for standing there speaks to you? Why?