The Tenderness of Jesus

The Tenderness of Jesus


The most striking revelation of Jesus Christ in my life is the revelation of his tenderness. For most of my life, the holiness and power of Jesus dominated my perception of him.  He is a friend, but he is well above me – this I knew.  His ways are not my ways – of this I was certain.  But tender?

My first encounter with his tenderness came through reading John 8 with a new perspective. Fresh out of a long stretch of sinful living in my early twenties, I stumbled upon the account Jesus with the woman caught in adultery.  She was a sinful woman, and everyone in town knew it.  They were ready to chastise her – a chastisement so severe as to end in her death.

They gathered ‘round with rocks in hand, ready to stone her, when Jesus knelt low in their midst writing something in the dirt. I’ve always wondered what he was writing, and speculators throughout the ages have asked the same question.  I’m convinced that the content of his writing isn’t mentioned because it wasn’t important.  His posture is the noteworthy aspect of his presence in this scene.  His posture indicates that he’s not in a quandary.  He’s not overly concerned or surprised by what is happening.

Pausing from his dirt drawing, he invites anyone without sin to cast the first stone at the woman. Slowly, they all leave.  There is still no mention of his eyes shifting away from the drawing in the dirt.

I imagine I am that woman. We are all that woman.  We’ve all messed up, fallen short, broken the law, and we all deserve punishment.

When I read the passage in my early twenties, my heart nearly stopped for fear of what Jesus might say to the woman. It was as if he were speaking to me:   ”Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10).

After her acknowledgement that no one has condemned her, he responds, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (verse 11).

The first time I absorbed these words in application to my life, I was astonished by the tenderness of Jesus. Where I expected him to fold his arms and gaze down in disdain, he extended only compassion.  Where I expected disappointment, he simply defended.

While Jesus takes sin seriously, while he calls us to turn and sin no more, he is relentlessly tender toward us in our sin. Wherever you’re at today, will you pause to acknowledge your sin to him, and will you receive his tender forgiveness and his admonition to go and sin no more?


About Stacey Pardoe

Stacey Pardoe is a wife, mother of two young children, writer, Bible teacher, and mentor. She is most passionate about walking closely with Christ and sharing his love with a broken world. Find out more about her at her website.

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