I was thinking about a story in scripture today. It always resonated with me, because of the profound message which the Lord was trying to convey. And when I see people trying to act ‘all religious,’ I immediately think of the woman caught in adultery.
I absolutely loath many portrayals of Jesus, since they take away from His most human side. Yes, He was God in the flesh, but the flesh, is the part that intrigues me most. He was the example. And if He didn’t go around acting superior and holier than anyone, why should we?
Today, someone was telling me about a teenager’s phone calling him, accidentally. This is a person, who goes to church all the time and loves to talk about the misdeeds of everyone else. They said, “he had such a potty mouth. His friend and him, were talking and I could hear them cursing. I just thought it was terrible. Meanwhile, I know this person is just as bad. Him and the other person, had recorded the call and played it to each other, and talked about the whole episode, as if it was an unforgivable offense. Now he thought, I would agree, that this was just horrible.
I looked at him and said, “You know, it’s not the outside of a cup that makes it clean.” Reading the discourse in Matthew 23, is a picture of the anger, which Christ had at this hypocrisy. He speaks to the blind leaders. The inside is what needs to be clean. Then the outside will follow.
This guy, just didn’t get it. He stared at me with a blank look. I was pointing out that this is not significant, since none of us are perfect. Without calling him out too much, I hoped he understood, that I wasn’t saying, “Oh who care’s if the kid was cursing?” But my bigger question was, “Why were you listening? Isn’t that an invasion of his privacy? And then you recorded and played it for someone else?”
Then the natural story that came to my mind was, the woman in found in the Book of John 8. When I read, there are always certain words that seem to pop out at me. For example; v3 standing the woman before a group, was humilitating enough. But being caught, in the act of adultery, even more. Imagine this woman’s circumstances. The punishment for this sin was, death by stoning.
But isn’t this what these men wanted to do to her? Flaunt their superiority and decimate her character. And in the end, have the grounds to end her life. But it begs the question, how did they actually catch her in the act? If, they had not been spying on her first?
Ah yes, the argument today would be for the sake of having the proof to accuse her. But now, look at what the Lord does with this information. H bends down and starts to write on the ground with his finger. How odd. Yes, most people would ask, “Why was He doing this?” But to some of us, we wondering, what was He writing?”
I think that He may have outed, some of those people, without giving names. Perhaps He wrote their, secret sins, in the sand. But the most obvious, was His calm demeanor, during this whole situation. I am impressed with the time He took to respond. It seems, a great deal of time. And He took a break from His writing. He straightened up, to utter the famous words; Let any one of you who is without sin, be the first to cast the stone.” This is when He stooped down again.
So, it seems He began His preliminary message, and He stood at eye level to the people He was addressing. And this also allowed the best vantage point, along with the group, read His writing. But then he gave them more time and it may be, to include more of the members. He stooped down to write again, which seemed to give the maximum amount of impact.
Now in verse 8; At this those who heard, began to go away, one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.” This is when He asked her, “Has no one condemned you?” She answers, “No one sir.” ”Then neither do I condemn you.” But the last words to her were, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
I think about the message of redemption in this story. Condemned to die, because of her sin. The enemy of our soul, is called, “The Accuser.” One of his many titles. And he works through humans to constantly remind us of where we screwed up. What we’ve done wrong. How far we’ve missed the mark.
But Christ came to shed His blood as an offering on our behalf. This sacrifice is the greatest gift of love. His blood has, “cleansed us from all sin.
Our sins are like those words, written in the sand. The Wind of Truth, had blown and the sand shifts. It fills in all those areas of darkness and words that condemn.
He cannot lie. He has already told us, “That as far as the east is from the west, I will remember your sins no more.” This always fascinates me. We are human, and although we try to forgive, we can’t really ever forget. It’s not possible. But for God, it is. So, as I’ve heard it said, “if He’s forgotten, why do we keep reminding Him?”
This is the time of the year to reflect on the awesomeness of His sacrifice and what it really means. Passover, Resurrection Day. It is all about Redemption.
Thank you Lord for your great mercy!