Stoning was the most common method of execution in ancient Israel; it was applied for such serious crimes as idolatry, blasphemy, apostasy, sorcery, violations of the Sabbath, child sacrifice, rebellion against one’s parents, and adultery. The condemned person was taken outside the camp or town, and the first stones were cast by the witnesses to the crime. Jesus himself was threatened with stoning, accused of blasphemy, as well as Stephen who was actually executed. Paul survived one attempted stoning. In our gospel, this lucky woman was saved by Jesus from stoning for adultery. We see how Jesus restores her dignity, lets her speak out, has an encounter with her, loves her, forgives her, and tells her that she is not condemned for her sin; however, he tells her not to sin anymore. Through this story we learn that God is merciful to us sinners but part of that mercy requires our willingness to change, to be serious about it, to sin no more; when we are serious about it then we start seeing changes in our lives and grow spiritually.

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