As Christians we have always seemed to miss the point God is making because of our own personal expectations of His love and plan for our lives. In Jesus’ time, we know how many of the traditionalist Jews struggled to see the son of God right there in front of them because he didn’t fit their traditionally taught image of the Messiah. He was disruptive to every religious group he found, because he wanted them to see and receive the grace he was offering. The best known piece of this was the Pharisees, who followed every obscure tradition they could get their hands on in an attempt to lead the Jews to salvation, riding the wave of power that it provided. In many situations, we see Jesus and those following him clash with them, pushing back against the traditions and judgements they made that got in the way of God’s love.
The Pharisees tried time and again to trap Jesus with their rules and into the old traditions that they enforced. One of the most blatant examples of this was when they threw the adulterous woman in front of a crowd in one of his sermons and told him, as though he didn’t know, that the law of Moses required that she be stoned. They were most likely trying to get him to violate Jewish law by saying she shouldn’t be stoned or Roman law by saying it should be done without a lawful trial. Their conviction to prove that the real Christ would bring down fire and judgement on those who fell short of the many laws was a misplaced one. Jesus simply put them off with writing in the dirt, trying to show love outweighed the stones in their hands. All He said was, let he that is without sin cast the first stone, knowing that this would trap them; He admitted to the Jewish law calling for punishment but prevented them from action knowing their hearts. Every one of the Pharisees began to slip away without further disruption leaving the woman for him to condemn, but Jesus was not looking to condemn her. Often times, we are taught this lesson as a way to forgive each other and to look past our sins to the bigger picture and to God’s plan. However, Jesus, himself, didn’t fit in so well with the church leadership, because he believed in love first. To the Pharisees, they believed that they knew His plan, that they were truly helping the people to come closer to God through purity and obedience. How a man claiming to be God incarnate could not bring the judgement and authority they believed in didn’t make sense to them. .The religious authorities then as now had stopped listening to God’s plan of love and faith in the Lord, preferring to judge the people and impose man-made standards. The Son of God didn’t fit in with religious authorities; we should need to concern ourselves with our own spiritual walk rather than the expectations of others.