The Third Option

Posted: March 13, 2023 in Uncategorized

One of my favorite stories in Scripture is the story of the woman caught in adultery. In it the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman who was caught in the act of adultery, and demanded he tell them what should be done with her. Here’s the problem, it was a trap from the word “go.” The Pharisees knew that if Jesus said to let her go, he was in violation of the law of Moses, which would have been a sin, and they would have been able to discredit him as a heretic. On the other hand, at the time of the crucifixion, we see that it was against the law for the Jewish people to put someone to death. For Jesus to tell them to stone her would have made him a criminal in the eyes of Rome. They seem to feel rather confident that they have Jesus locked in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

This is what’s called a dilemma. There are two choices and you are forced to make a choice. Let’s stop there for a second. There are times where a dilemma is unavoidable and a choice must be made. Then there are the other times where you find yourself forced into a dilemma by someone else. In these times, it can often be said that the person probably doesn’t have your best interest at heart. This is the situation Jesus is in, but note what He does. People who do not have His best interests at heart are trying to force His hand in what is clearly a no win situation. Instead of allowing Himself to be backed into a corner. Jesus kneels down and writes in the dirt. He doesn’t say anything at first. Now Jesus is all knowing, so He already knows what to do here, but for the rest of us there is a lesson here. Take a little time to think. Don’t be rushed into making a bad choice. Jesus appears to have two choices, both with bad consequences, a real no win situation, so he doesn’t rush in. The old saying, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” really applies here. You don’t need to rush in either.

So Jesus appears to have a choice, command them to let the woman go and lose his credibility (and maybe his life) by violating the law of Moses, or He can say to stone the woman and commit a capital crime in the eyes of the Romans who rule the land at this time. With either choice, there is a very good chance that Jesus would be killed. Worse it could be argued that either of those options may have been sin and thus make it impossible for Him to fulfill His mission of saving the world. What do you do? Jesus took the third option. He said, “Let Him without sin cast the first stone.” One by one, starting with the oldest the men dropped their stones and walked away, This was the third option. Jesus fold the trap. He held up a mirror to the people and they were al pronounced guilty. Then turning to the woman, Jesus said “Where are they? Has no one condemned you.” There was no one standing left standing there, so she said “No one sir.” Then Jesus said “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

Before you fall for a dilemma, seek out a third option.

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