By Louis Wade
When Jesus uttered the words “He that is without sin Cast the first stone”, he must have known that his comments would be used by corrupt politicians and secularists two thousand years later to cover their misdeeds.
Of recent the phrase is being used more and more, not only in Belize as it pertains to the issue of corruption, but in several western countries where the push to legalize homosexuality and same sex marriage is taking place.
Castro’s comments in the House were quite telling. Moments after labelling himself as “a poor man” for taking home a whopping 2900.00 monthly, Castro added:
“This outcry over the cheques issued by BAA on the part of the Opposition, the media, and BNTU reminds me of the righteous indignation on the part of the Scribes and the Pharisees. “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.”
That’s biblical language for you, with terms like righteous indignation and even references to the “scribes and pharisees; nobody loves them folks, not even atheists.
And the way the statement was used, the inference was quite clear: “None of you are good enough to tell me anything about what I have done, because you do wrong things too.”
An even more endearing translation could very well be: “Leave me alone to hustle, leave me alone to be corrupt, leave me alone to bankrupt the public coffers. Leave me alone to take away the property of the widows, the defenceless, the poor… you have had your chance to do these things too… it’s now my turn to eat.”
Imagine, a powerful scripture now used to condone corruption and even abomination. Even on social media (Facebook) a few well-meaning Christians use the quote in defence of their favourite vice, addiction or compulsion. But a closer look at the passage of scripture is a must if we are to learn a thing or two about its context.
Note that the quoted scripture is referred to in biblical studies as pericope adulterae. Many breeze past the notes that accompany the story; notes which clearly state in every Bible translation that the story is not found in early manuscripts of the New Testament; meaning it had been added later.
Pastors are continually reminded to educate their congregation on this fact when they preach on this passage. But let us look beyond this footnote to the exegesis of the story itself and see the story’s beauty.
Firstly, it is NOT the adulterous woman who uttered the words! Jesus said it! Only Jesus Christ can meaningfully make that statement for He is the only one who is without sin.
Today these words are being uttered by the very ones that do wrong, that deny Jesus by their very actions, yet turn around and quote him for their defence. To hide behind Jesus as an excuse for sin is in itself inexcusable.
Secondly, It takes two to commit adultery. The bible says she was “caught in” it yet only she was brought before Jesus. Where was the man? Why did the mob choose to exonerate the man? They had no interest in JUSTICE. Hebrews 1:8 states about Jesus that His throne is righteous and His sceptre is one of justice; not just those who belong to “the other side of the house.”
Thirdly, according to law, the proper authorities to have dealt with the charges of adultery would have been the Sanhedrin… not an angry mob. This is why it is so important that those authorities that God has ordained to preserve Justice MUST do their job without fear or favour. If you don’t want the mob to stone you, then stand before the courts!
Fourthly, it was classic entrapment. They were really putting Jesus to the test. If Jesus had said “stone her”, they would have accused him of being merciless. If Jesus had said “let her go”, they would have said “he condones sin and breaks the law.”
But Jesus, knowing their true intentions, disarmed their plot. His powerful response met both the requirement of the Law AND Grace… true Justice. If there is anything that we need in Belize today when it comes to corruption, it is justice.
Finally, Jesus showed love to the adulterous woman but he never legalized or sanctioned adultery.
Today many who quote this scripture use it in their attempts to legalize wrongdoing. Offenders quote His opening remarks with regularity but selectively miss out his follow-up comment! They exclude Jesus’ next statement to the adulterous woman: “Go, and sin no more!”
Wouldn’t it be great to hear those who quote that very phrase end by saying “I promise that from today, I will go and sin no more!”
Truth be told, if they so believe the words they utter, “he that is without sin cast the first stone,” let them make that statement in a Court of law, before a Judge who is about to pronounce their verdict or sentence!
Instead, the words of Jesus are being used to condone the very thing Jesus came to abolish.
Now, THAT is TRUE POVERTY; that we have chosen to turn a blind eye to what is glaringly wrong; that light has come, but men love darkness rather than light.