Daily Devotional Sept. 14, 2022

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 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!” (John 8:6-7, NLT).


     Last week I found myself in a Catch-22 situation. I misplaced my eyeglasses. The conundrum I faced was that to find them, I needed to be wearing them.
     The term, Catch-22, was coined during World War II. Joseph Heller had flown several sorties in a B-25 bomber. Following a harrowing experience, Heller no longer wanted to be a pilot. His plan was to declare himself insane and thereby unfit for duty.
     However, Heller learned that in the military, anyone who is insane must be excused from flying dangerous missions. Ironically, anyone who is smart enough to demonstrate rational fear in the face of clear and present danger obviously is not insane and must continue to fly. A genuine Catch-22.

     The dictionary defines a Catch-22 as a problematical situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem. Jesus found himself in a bit of a quandary. A group of Jewish leaders sought to trap Jesus by asking for his legal opinion about a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.

     The problem Jesus faced is were he to not uphold God’s law by demanding the woman be stoned, Jesus would be branded a heretic. On the other hand, if Jesus gave the Jewish leaders permission to stone the woman, Jesus would have been in violation of Roman law and subject to execution himself. Yet Jesus resolved the no-win situation by granting only those who were without sin to proceed with the execution. By Jewish law, the man who admitted to having the affair with the woman would have been subject to stoning, as well. Jesus’ directive placed the Jewish leaders in a precarious position. Threatened with possible death, the guilty man most certainly would have implicated the Jewish leaders in their crooked scheme.

     All of us find ourselves in Catch-22 situations from time to time. Those who can’t get a job without experience become frustrated because they can’t get experience without a job. Parents who want to go back to work after having a baby face increasingly expensive childcare costs. Yet were they to stay at home, they would lack the income to cover everyday expenses.