Micah 6:8 – “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with you God?”
Israel thought God wanted their sacrifices. But, through Micah, God says he doesn’t want sacrifices and burnt offerings. He wants Israel to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly before God. Micah’s statement is not an isolated portion of scripture as it is repeated over and over in scripture.
When I read Micah 6:6-8, I think of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11. The Pharisees had caught a woman in adultery. And, by the law, she was to be stoned to death. So, they asked Jesus for his opinion? As one who claimed to know God, even be God, would he consent to stoning her?
Jesus said nothing. Jesus stooped down. Stooping down is a sign of humility. Imagine this group challenging you, demanding an answer from you, perhaps even threatening you. But, Jesus got down on the ground, in a sense under the Pharisees.
Then he wrote in the dust. To do so, his eyes would have been on the ground, not looking up to the Pharisees. Again a position of humility. He stalled, delayed, waited. The Pharisees demanded an answer.
Then, Jesus stood up. He got back on the level of the Pharisees and said whoever is without sin let him cast the first stone. Having said that, Jesus stooped down again and went back to writing in the dust. He stalled, delayed, and waited some more. Having answered them, he went back to his position of humility.
The accusers left. But, the crowd was still there. What was the crowd expecting? Did they expect Jesus to stone her? He was proclaiming to be God. Would he follow the law as they had been taught it by the scribes and Pharisees?
It’s only Jesus and the woman in the middle of the crowd. He stands up once again. I imagine he did so to look her in the eye. He asked her where her accusers went. Didn’t any of them condemn her? She said no. And, Jesus said he didn’t either, so go and sin no more. He was merciful. He gave her what she did not deserve.
Think about that. Jesus was without sin. So, by his own statement he could have thrown the first stone at her. He could have rightfully judged her and condemned her to death. But, he was walking in humility and loving kindness. In Luke 6:36 we are told to be merciful even as God is merciful. And, if we have seen Jesus we have seen the Father. So, in Jesus’ act of mercy we see what God is really like.
But, what about justice? Or, what is justice?
I think when most of us think of justice we think of punishment being doled out for wrongdoing. Maybe I need to rethink what justice is to God.