Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:47
I had an encounter with Jesus. It was some time ago when he was in town, and I’m almost ashamed to talk about it—but it changed my life.
I’ve not always been a good person. You could say I’ve made a number of mistakes, and my decisions haven’t always been the best. But I’ve done what I had to do. My husband had always taken us regularly to temple. He was a good provider, and he’d always paid his tithe and his offerings at all the set occasions. But after years of faithfulness, when he got sick, and when we had no food for the baby, the elders and the priests were nowhere to be found. And when my husband and baby slowly declined and when everything that was precious to me was buried in the grave, where were those religious leaders?
So I did what I had to do. There was no one there for me, and the elders, when they did notice, just pointed their fingers. I did what I had to do. And then, one day they found me with a man who wasn’t my husband, and they grabbed me. They said they were taking me to the temple. (What about that man? Why didn’t they bring him?) They dragged me over the cobbled streets scraping my legs and cutting my feet, jeering at me. I tried not to cry, but as their torment increased, angry tears mixed with the dust from the street.
And they brought me to the temple. These men who had visited me night after night. They brought me to the strange, young rabbi who was teaching in the porchway. They brought me to the man who said he was the Son of God. They brought me to Jesus. And they threw me at his feet. “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?”
Tears of hatred and anger coursed down my cheeks as I waited.
Silence thick as death filled the porch and held me to the marble floor. No one spoke. The Son of God didn’t say a word. I raised my head and saw that the Teacher was writing in the dust. There were words I couldn’t make out, but he just kept writing. They kept badgering him. Finally, he straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, cast the first stone.” And then he went back to writing.
I was frozen to the floor as I readied myself for the pain that was to come. I waited. And I waited. Softly, I began to hear shuffling of sandals, one pair and then another, as feet were moving across the pavement. And then he spoke to me, “Ma’am, where are your accusers?” My eyes had been fixed on him, but I turned and looked around.
“Sir, there’s no one.”
“Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”
That was my encounter with Jesus, the Son of God. I went back home; I took a few coins from my clay vessel and bought seeds for a garden. It’s been two harvests since I met Jesus, and I’ve heard that he’s returned to Jerusalem and is dining tonight with Nicodemus, a ruler of the synagogue. I am taking all the coins I’ve saved and will buy a jar of fragrant ointment to pour over his head in thanksgiving. I know it’s not much, but it’s all I have. I want him to know how he’s changed my life, how I’m a different person than the one he saved in the temple. I want him to know I love him.
I wonder if he will remember me?
Sweet Jesus, each of us has a story to tell of your redemption. Give us time in heaven to share the miracles you have done in our lives. And provide us opportunities here on earth to demonstrate our great love for you. AMEN.