ODJ: Another Option

December 11, 2016 

READ: John 8:1-11 

They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (v.7).

The film Bridge of Spies tells the true story of a lawyer who was selected by his government to defend an arrested foreign spy. As the lawyer strived for a fair trial, he found himself caught in a moral quandary. With both countries standing on the brink of nuclear war, his government wasn’t interested in a rigorous defense. They simply wanted the spy convicted and sent to the electric chair.

When the jury found the man guilty, the attorney looked for another option. Against popular opinion, he convinced the judge to waive the death penalty and to sentence his client to 30 years imprisonment. He argued that the spy might become a valuable bargaining chip if one of their country’s spies was captured.

There’s a story in John’s gospel account about an incident where the religious leaders brought to Jesus a woman who had been caught in adultery (John 8:1-4). They reminded Him, “The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (v.5).

The men were looking to trap Jesus in a corner. If He told them to let her go free, He would have ignored the law. If, however, He told them to put her to death, He would have undermined His message of forgiveness and also usurped Roman law—Rome alone could execute someone (18:31).

The trap may have appeared to be working, until Jesus answered, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (v.7).


Are you in a situation where you feel trapped and out of options? Think it through, pray, and gain godly counsel from others. None of us can think on our feet like Jesus, but maybe there’s another way forward—a surprising option you haven’t discovered that honors the values of God and His kingdom.

—Jeff Olson

365-day plan: 1 Timothy 4:1-16

Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 and consider how God can provide a way out of the challenges you face. 
What wisdom from Scripture can help you in a dilemma? How can you pursue an option that will honor God and be the best for all concerned?