And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (ESV)
Imagine a gleaming sword polished to such impossible brightness that to run your fingers along the flat of the blade would feel as if you were touching silk. The mere whisper of its edge would slice cleanly through anything. Now you have an image of Jesus. To take another image, He is pure light. He Himself said in the verse following the one for today, “I am the light of the world.” The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed calls Him phōs ek phōtos, light from light, and the first hymn outside the Bible, dating to the 3rd century, is Phōs Hilaron, or “Joyous Light.”
Light is wonderful, and humans have done everything to produce it when and where the sun was not shining. It takes away the fear that comes with darkness, and this is what we see in the first part of what Jesus says to a woman who was caught in adultery. She would have feared the punishment of stoning, and the One Who is light from light took that fear away. Yet light is also piercing and blinding in its purity, and we see this in the second part of His statement. Like a razor-sharp sword, He cuts to the heart of the matter. Stop sinning.
Jesus is not a cute, cardboard cutout in an elementary classroom. He is phōs ek phōtos. He is the light of the world. Is He loving? Beyond your comprehension or mine. Yet the purity of that love and light cuts through all our reasons and excuses and exceptions. He is above all holy, and if that sounds fearful, it is, but know this. He invites you into that radiant holiness with His own outstretched, nail-pierced hand.
O Jesus, joyous light of the world, comfort me by driving back the darkness of my fears and pierce my sin, with all its pretense and excuse. Draw me into the holy presence that You share with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.