CAST THE FIRST STONE
The Rev. Penny Ellwood, United Methodist Resurrection, Leawood, Kan.: Years ago when my husband and I were first dating, whenever we had a lengthy car ride we would often play a game where you made up a guest list for a dinner party of eight. You could invite anyone to the party you wanted, living or dead and then you had to explain why.
The possibilities were endless. Jesus often had a place at our imaginary tables. This question reminds me of this game.
I’ve been thinking about all the stories I would have liked to witness; Jesus raising Lazarus, the feeding of the 5,000, Mary at the tomb. There are so many I would love to have witnessed, and some I’d never want to see.
One I’ve often wondered about comes from the gospel of John, in the first 11 verses from Chapter 8. Jesus is teaching in the temple when the scribes bring in a woman caught in the “very act” of adultery. This scene affords several opportunities I would loved to have witnessed.
First of all, I would have the chance to hear Jesus’ teaching. Second, the opportunity to witness how he dealt with conflict when his adversaries tried to trap him by challenging his knowledge of the law.
To see how Jesus first refused to engage and then returned the challenge by subtlety questioning the scribes’ own actions and relationship to the law in his call to have the one without sin cast the first stone.
I would see how Jesus reacted to winning. I could bear witness to his exasperation at the lack of compassion expressed for God’s people. I would get to see how Jesus offered forgiveness and compassion to one who had sinned.
How he treated the second class and marginalized of his day, in particular, a woman of my own making. How he offered her the opportunity for a new life.
I can imagine watching his face and how he might have gently reassured her.
And finally, I would have a chance to know, once and for all, what Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger as he tried to refuse engagement in their trap.
I’ve always wondered.
The Rev. Raymond Davis Jr., founder of the Greater Corinthian Church of the Christ, Kansas City, Mo. There is one New Testament scene that is recorded all four Gospels, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I would choose to have been there, a part of the group that were real-life witnesses to the empty sepulcher, when the women and the disciples found that Jesus had risen.
Why I chose this scene as a wish to be witness is because of the connecting circumstances that encourages a Christian to a fulfilling moment. Jesus had predicted his own death and a most critical circumstance of rising from the dead. To be a faithful hearer of the words spoken as Jesus spoke the Resurrection, we would be careful to consider his message and engage ourselves to the words spoken.
Consider what the women at the tomb were told about the crucified Christ: “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen. Remember how He spake unto you saying … the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered His words. (Luke 24:5-7)
I wasn’t there in body, but yet I believe in the words spoken in the Gospels.
A prime topic of truth used by Christ and respected is — “It is written.”
The resurrection was spoken, then written because it happened.
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