From the Word: 53 Each went away to his own house 8:1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he returned to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and taught them.
3 The scribes and the Pharisees led in a woman caught in adultery, and surrounded her. 4 They said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So then, what do you say?” 6 And they said this to test him so that they might have an accusation against him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground. 7 Then when they continued asking him, he stood up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be first to cast a stone at her.” 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote with his finger on the ground. 9 But when they heard this, they exited one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman standing there. 10 And Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no man condemn you?” 11 And she answered, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no longer.” (John 7:53–8:11)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments
The Fourth Commandment
Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.)
The one who is obedient, willing and ready to serve, and cheerfully honors those to whom it is due, knows that he pleases God and will receive joy and happiness in reward. On the other hand, if he will not do so out of love, but despises and resists authority, or rebels, let him know that he will have no favor or blessing. If he hopes to gain a gold coin through his betrayal, he will lose ten times as much elsewhere. He will become quarry of the hangman, perish by war, pestilence, and famine, experience no good in his own children, or suffer injury, injustice, and violence at the hands of his employees, neighbors, or even strangers and tyrants. What we seek and deserve comes back home and repays us.
Pulling It Together: This section of John’s gospel is not in the earliest manuscripts. The story intrigues me, nonetheless. We wonder what Jesus wrote in the dirt. I like to imagine it was the name of a woman each of the accusers had secretly committed adultery with, if only in their lustful thoughts (Matt 5:28). There are two main points to the story. One, all of us are sinners. Two, God forgives our sins for Christ’s sake.
You may not have honored your parents the way you should have. Perhaps you are now paying the price for that dishonor. Confess it and be forgiven, then get on with your life and sin no more. Honor your parents now, if only their memories.
Prayer: Help me to honor my parents, Lord, and everyone else placed in authority over me. Amen.
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