Let me set the scene:

It was early. Jesus was doing what He did a lot. Teaching. He was well known by now. Popular? He knew what was coming this morning. How could He not? He’s God. In the middle of His teaching arises a scuffle. Not a quiet one. Bursting onto the scene are the scribes and Pharisees. And her. The unnamed prostitute. Jesus looks at them. At her. He sees it. All of it. Her entire life. Her emotions. Her hurts. She looks at him. Maybe she sees just another man. A potential client? She looks around and sees their faces. They hear she’s a prostitute and the look even more disgusted.

The “leaders” question Jesus. They didn’t do it for her. They did it for themselves. They hate Jesus. Jesus knows. He can hear their internal dialogue. Their biting bitterness. He hones in on the crowd. He listens. None of them are sinless. Only Him. And His heart breaks. Was it broken His entire earthly life? Submerged into humanity. Dirty. Hard. Sad. And at the time…hopeless. Jesus heard it and breathed it and felt it.

The scribes ask again. Shouldn’t they stone the prostitute? It was in the book of the law. It should be done, right? Everyone’s ready. It’s on the verge of becoming a stoning party. A strange mosh pit with only one person getting hit. But Jesus doesn’t seem to be paying attention. He’s drawing in the dirt. It was probably still cool, maybe the suns warmth hadn’t hit it yet. He just keeps running His finger through the dirt. Squatting like a little kid. But He is paying attention. He’s Jesus. It’s impossible for Him not to pay attention.

They keep asking Him, their grips getting tighter on the rocks in their hands. The citizens fixed their hatred on the woman. The religious leaders were waiting to pounce on the son of God. But…Jesus loves her. And Jesus loves them. He raises His eyebrows. His answer makes perfect sense. “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

And the line was drawn. Maybe Jesus drew it, bent and unassuming. They were on one side. She was on another. Some arms go up, adrenaline pumping into the now warmed stones, heated by human energy. The woman…the anonymous woman…flinches. But. She feels nothing.

What exactly happened? Did Jesus write the Ten Commandments in the dirt? Was He writing names? Sins? Did He speak into their hearts? No one knows. But it worked. Of course it worked, Jesus did it. One by one the warm rocks hit the cool ground. Back where they belong. The crows slowly disperses.

Until it’s just the two of them. Jesus and the prostitute. Jesus and the whore. Jesus and the slut. The crazy Guy and His beloved creation. He looks around. Acts surprised. He walks towards her as He searches for the crowd, the group of all His other creations. “Where did everyone go? You’re not gonna be stoned?”

She’s looking at Him. This guy saved her life. She looks up into His face. Does she see it? Does she see salvation? Does she see the spiritual Being that watched as the universe was created. The Being that sees into eternity. Does she see the thoughts He thinks towards her? Thoughts of peace and not of evil. Does she see God? Holiness? Or does she still just see another man? “No one has condemned me,” she says.

His heart swells with love. It breaks with love. This was not how it was supposed to be. Sex for money was not supposed to be. When she was in the womb, and He was carefully forming her tiny body…He thinks back to the garden. Back to innocence. He wants to hug her. Instead He says, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” Doesn’t condemn. Doesn’t condone.

Jesus loves the prostitutes…and the gang bangers…and the murderers…the rapists and molesters…the condescending religious rulers-both ancient and modern. He loves the druggies and the homosexuals. He is God and we are people and there is not and has not ever been an in between.

He loves you. So you love them. Simple.

He who is without sin can cast the first stone.