If you read and study the Bible, you know there are many instances in which future events, especially the coming of Jesus and his actions, are foreshadowed or sort of preparing us for the Messiah. I recently finished Jesus’ Family Tree and came across scripture in which Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant.
“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” Matthew 1:19. In Jewish custom, Joseph and Mary were considered married, though the marriage had not yet been consummated. The point is that they had not been together physically and yet, she was pregnant. Jewish law allowed, because of her perceived unfaithfulness, that Mary could be placed before the elders for judgment and stoned to death. But Joseph wanted a quiet divorce. This is before the angel comes to him and tells him the wonderful news about Mary and how she became pregnant. So Joseph must have been hurt and may have wanted vengeance or justice, rightful under Jewish law. Yet, he chose mercy or grace.
Compare to the story from John as the Pharisees test Jesus and the adulterous woman. “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:3-7
Of course, Jesus was both God and human on this earth, but Jesus showed mercy or grace to a woman caught in adultery. Though Mary and this woman are not the same, the perception of the Hebrews of both would have been equal for the elders would have seen both as adulterous women who could be stoned under Jewish law. Yet Joseph and Jesus (of course) showed mercy or grace.
We are faced many times throughout life with people who deserve to be stoned, yet how do we react? Do we throw those stones? Or do we think about the log in our own eye while looking at the speck in other’s eyes? Maybe it’s even a log in their eye, but never forget our eyes stay permanently logged. If not for the grace of God and his son’s death at Calvary, we would deserve our own stoning.