3. During his ministry, Jesus publicly thwarted an execution.
Let’s be honest: if you were to say “he who is without sin may cast the first stone” even the most ardent atheist would know what you were referencing: the fact that Jesus stopped an execution. Conservatives will break with literalism when it comes to this passage and will argue that it doesn’t mean what it seems to mean. But why not just take the teachings of Jesus at face value? The fact that Jesus stopped an execution is completely in line will all of his other prohibitions against the use of violence. When Jesus said “he who is without sin may cast the first stone” he was teaching that while death may seem just, and even at times be just, there isn’t anyone alive who is worthy to tie the noose around their neck. Therefore, even if siding with the rationale that death is a just punishment in some cases, we arrive at the difficult truth that– according to Jesus– neither you or I are perfect enough to serve in the role of executioner.