He sets free a woman caught in adultery
…JESUS WENT OFF to the Mount of Olives.
Early next morning he returned to the Temple and the entire crowd came to him. So he sat down and began to teach them. But the scribes and Pharisees brought in to him a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in front, and then said to him, “Now, master, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. According to the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women to death. Now, what do you say about her?”
They said this to test him, so that they might have some good grounds for an accusation. But Jesus stooped down and began to write with his finger in the dust on the ground. But as they persisted in their questioning, he straightened himself up and said to them, “Let the one among you who has never sinned throw the first stone at her.” Then he stooped down again and continued writing with his finger on the ground. And when they heard what he said, they were convicted by their own consciences and went out, one by one, beginning with the eldest until they had all gone.
Jesus was left alone, with the woman still standing where they had put her. So he stood up and said to her, “Where are they all—did no one condemn you?”
And she said, “No one, sir.” “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus to her. “Go home and do not sin again.”
Many years later…
THEY ARE WALKING THE BEACH, hand in hand; the breeze off the Mediterranean is cool against their cheeks; they are smiling; silent. It is early morning. The waves roll in in their slow gentle succession, tossing ashore. The gulls and terns are resting yet.
Behind the aging couple walk their four lovely daughters, whispering quietly to each other. They are considering the beauties of the day; what it will bring. They enjoy their fellowship. They regard their parents, ahead, with a great affection.
They can’t hear the words their mother is saying to their father.
“Philip?” she says.
Her husband turns to her: “Yes, love?”
“When you think of him—when you really, truly, deeply think of his face, his presence—what is it that you think of?”
The husband ponders. “Probably of those last forty days,” he says. “Of the way he’d suddenly appear to us, and then disappear.”
“Do you feel him now as strongly as you did then?”
“Many days, yes. But sometimes others, no. Those are the days when I go away to meet again with him…” Philip grows thoughtful. “And how about you, my love?”
“When do I go to meet with him?”
“No, your first question. When you’re thinking of him, what is it that you think of?”
She casts her eyes over the sea before turning back.
“I think of how he was when I first saw him for myself. Of that morning—it was cool and fresh like this one. And I always think of the look in his eyes.”
Philip smiles. “As do I, my love.”