“So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:7 (KJV)
I have always found it interesting reading this story but up until now I have missed a most significant point and I’ll share with you what it is.
In the American trial system a person accused of a crime is to be judged by a “jury of his peers”. Having been accused of a crime and having sat through the process of selecting a jury, I can tell you first-hand, you want to find people who are like you for the mere reason they will be sympathetic and emphatic to your situation and whatever it is you’ve gone through, maybe just maybe, they’ve placed themselves in the same position and will acquit you because it is personal. This is the same application Jesus was making to those who accused this woman.
When Jesus stated, “He that is without sin…” did not imply if there were any of them who were “sinless” because in that case, only One was present who was. And, it is for certain He could have condemned her, but He was not here as a “judge”—yet! This would come later. I’m certain she was appreciative His being there—then, was to be in the role of “Savior”, and He did it quite well.
The other reason why He could not condemn her was because the law said one must have witnesses to the crime. After Christ spent a few moment writing something in the sand, this caused all the witnesses to remember to do some last minute shopping, or return that papyrus to the library, or something, which caused them to miss the what was believed important court date they thought they had!
But this is the point which is worth noting and it might have coincided with what He was writing in the sand. In the Jewish judicial system, one could only condemn someone IF they had not been guilty of the same crime. In other words, you could not serve on the witness team if you had ever committed the same crime in your past. Think about it. How many who are convicted, or even not convicted of drug charges are ever chosen to serve as jury for a drug charge against an offender? It doesn’t happen. So Christ wisely asked the one question, “Any of you here which has not been guilty of the same crime?” And obviously He must have hit a soft spot and one they hadn’t figured on, so they recognized if they did toss the first stone, then the other stones would find themselves as being the target!
So, true, we DO have the right and duty to judge someone, as a witness, provided we are not guilty of the same crime, as given by the Bible injunction. It does not mean we have to be perfect, just not guilty of THAT particular crime. Otherwise, how could you judge them and be in good conscience?