“Raising Up” On the Self-righteous
Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left along and the woman standing in the midst. John 8:3-9 NKJV
Self-righteousness can be defined as being piously convinced of one’s own righteousness and one’s own ability to be accepted by God. Self-righteousness people can be deceitful, critical and uneven in their use and application of the “Law.” For example, the Law of Moses didn’t say only women should be stoned when an offense was committed worthy of death as prescribed by the Law. For example, in the case of adultery, the Law provided that “the man who commits adultery with another man’s wife . . . the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 20:10-11). This same sentiment can be observed in Deuteronomy 22:22, where the Law clearly indicates that “if a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die; yet when the woman who was taken in the very act of adultery in John chapter 8, the religious male zealots brought only the woman to Jesus to seek prosecution by stoning her to death—where was the adulterous man? This uneven action was the hallmark of self-righteousness.
“But what do you say?” This was the question that the self-righteous men asked of Jesus. They had already accused the woman of adultery and now they wanted to use her sin as grounds to accuse Jesus of not following the Law of Moses. This one-sided persecution of this broken and desperate woman was the height of self-righteous and hypocrisy.
But what did Jesus do? “He raised himself up and said to them, He who is without sin among you; let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7). Jesus “raised up” on self-righteousness and got rid of the woman’s accusers (John 8:9). Being convicted by their own conscience, the self-righteous dropped their stones, withdrew and went away in shame. When the self-righteous comes against you to accuse, Jesus our Lord, will always “raise up” on the self-righteous finger pointer.
When an accuser comes to condemn you, expose you, and judge you: when they persist in their accusations, trying to lay a guilt-trip on you for your mistakes, Jesus “raises up” on their self-righteous with unconditional love and forgiveness for you. Don’t worry about your accusers, Jesus will “raise up” on them. Let God arise and His enemies be scattered!