In the 1980s, there was a TV show in the United States called “Night Court.” As the name suggests it was set in a Court Room that held its proceedings at night. In one of the episodes, a handsome young janitor started to work in the court building. A female bailiff and the young janitor hit it off, and decided to go on a date after the work is over. Soon after that a marshal walked in, saying he was looking for a fugitive that reportedly was hiding in the court building. He wanted the judge to order a line up to see if the fugitive was there. After much deliberation, the judge conceded, however, the janitor was not in the line, which raised every one’s suspicions. The female bailiff caught up with the janitor and convinced the janitor to give himself up. The janitor agreed only if she took him to the Marshall.
The story ends with the Marshall saying that the fugitive janitor will be tried the fullest extent of the Law. Everyone laughed thinking he was joking. But, the Marshall insisted he was serious, as he ate donuts from a bag he found in the court room. All in the room start pleading with him, but the Marshall would not give in. Finally, the judge ordered the bailiff to arrest the Marshall for theft. The Bailiff grabbed the Marshall’s arm. The Marshall tried to force his arm away demanding an explanation. The Judge answered, “That bag of donuts is mine; you took them without my consent, which means you stole it. Put him away, bailiff, until his time for trial, when we will try him to the fullest extent of the Law.” Every one except for the Marshall cheered. The Marshall then spoke, “Ok, Ok, I get it; you let me go, if I am lenient with my fugitive.” The judge answered, “Do we have a deal?” The Marshall agreed and the bailiff let him go. After this, the Marshall left with his fugitive.
This story showed what most of us believe, that when a law is broken, the breaker of the law, should pay the maximum given penalty, unless it is one of us breaking the law. We suddenly have reasons why clemency should apply to us, but not to others. We are no different than the group who wanted the adulteress woman stoned. They said to Jesus, “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act, Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” (John 8:5, 6). The Law of Moses did say that, “And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 20:10). But, Jesus was not interested in killing the woman. If He wanted any death for her, it was death to self. Yes, the law condemns the woman. But Jesus paid the wages of Sin, and we all die in Him (Romans 6:4). So, our debt to the law – and the woman’s - is paid in full. Jesus, tried to the fullest extent of the Law - was found guilty, and the sentence was death, the second or eternal death. He died that death – as one forsaken of God or totally separated from God; which is how this woman felt, until Christ gave her the good news, “I do not condemn you.”
David lies with a woman that is married to someone else. This is adultery. The Law says he should have been put to death. Why was he not put to death? Some may say, “Who would dare go against the King?” This is a good point. Many prophets died in the hands of the Kings they rebuked, John the Baptist is one example. However, I believe God was not interested in killing David. He was interested in David’s repentance, again death to self. And, David repented after he realized what he had done, not only to himself and the woman, but also to his soon to be born dead child, his family, her husband and those implicated in his death, the whole nation, and most importantly to God. Hence his words, “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:13). David felt forsaken of God and received gratefully the news from Nathan the Prophet, “The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die” (2 Samuel 12:13).
This is the Gospel. The good news of Salvation is that God has put away our Sin in Christ – we will not die. God does not want to kill us; He wants us to die to self – to repent. He wants us to turn around toward Him, and receive from Him freedom from guilt and eternal life. Many reject this message, some believe they do not need to repent and others believe God will never accept them. A few believe the message and continually believe. Each group will receive their just reward. Do you believe David should have been stoned? Perhaps how you answer this question reveals which group are you in?