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Icon of Christ Forgiving the Sinful Woman – F72

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The woman caught in adultery is brought to Jesus for judgment by those who would try to trap Him into outward disobedience to the Law while He judged rightly, but with mercy.  The letter of the Law without mercy can kill, or make virtue just outward, without the salt of inner virtue and love as its basis.  The Sad-ducees, Pharisees, and Lawyers were mostly threatened and embittered by Christ’s words and miracles.  He plumbed to the depths yet was practical, direct, and personal in His dealings with those around Him and around them.   This could not be arbitrary or just external, but called for a living and direct honest personal response.

Christ sees clearly our sins and their devastating effect on us.  He saw clearly this woman’s sins, too.  He does not deny that she has sinned, but calls her instead to repentance.  To those that would stone her, He wisely said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7).  To her He says after they have all left, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).   Let us learn to repent for our sins humbly and without excuse, and trust in God’s love and yet real judgment. 

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St. John the Baptist Monastery, Makrinos, Greece


20th c. (Late)