Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sign Of The Times

I am going to do things differently. There has been a lot going on in the news, and I've been saddened by it all. It is in times like these when besides prayer, I look to the Bible for guidance. And this story came to my remembrance. I'm going to break it down.

Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery.  John 8:2-3a NKJV

Because Christ knew what He was talking about, and He was healing folks and feeding them, when He entered the temple, people naturally flocked to him. He taught them. He explained the scriptures to them, and I get the feeling, it was a lot less condemning than what they were used to hearing. Temple officials and the Pharisees were not happy. Who are the Pharisees? They held the belief of strict adherence to Judaic law.

Jesus accused the Pharisees of being outwardly religious and hypocritical. He warned the disciples, in Matthew 16:6, of this group and the Sadducees. The Sadducees did not believe in heaven or resurrection.

While Jesus teaches, the Pharisees bring in a woman caught in adultery. Basically she was either cheating on her husband or the man was cheating on his wife. Sleeping with someone other than your spouse makes you an adulterer. Though you may be single, having sex with someone who is married makes you an adulterer.

And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. John 8:3b-4 NKJV

So she was taken out of the bed (and this is an assumption they were in bed, but what the verse boils down to is she was having sex when she was apprehended), and dragged to the temple. She is an adulterer so I doubt they spared her from any embarrassment. She is thrown in the midst of the group. They questioned Jesus.

Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. John 8:5-6

As usual the temple officials and the Pharisees are trying to see how Jesus would answer and what He would do. He ignored them. He wrote on the ground. A minister once said he believed that Jesus wrote "where is the man?" but we don't know what he wrote down. It could have been a bunch of doodles.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. John 8:7-8

They pestered Him until he spoke. He who is without sin among you, throw the first stone.  Basically, you who have been the most obedient, throw the first stone. You who have never sinned, throw the first stone. If you are pure, go ahead and throw a stone at her. Then he went back to writing on the ground.

Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. John 8:9

No one threw a stone at the woman. So guilty were they that not one of the temple officials or Pharisees threw a stone. Oh, I am sure somebody picked up a stone, but they didn't throw it. They couldn't. They were guilty. We are all guilty.

When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” John 8:10-11a

All that talk and braggadocio and the temple officials and Pharisees fled the scene. Guilty of being impure. Guilty of sinning. James 2:10 says when we break one commandment, we break them all. If you lie, you have not only broken that commandment, but you put other gods before God; you did not keep the Sabbath Day holy; you coveted your neighbor's man servant, and you committed adultery. Christ's clean life without sin, His death and resurrection is what purifies us. It's what saves us from sin and death.We are guilty of breaking commandments and failed miserably at keeping the law.

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:11b

Jesus who could have thrown a stone and killed this woman, did not condemn her. Her saw her at her worst, and chose to lift her up. He did not hold her sin against her , BUT he told her to sin no more. She had to stop the sinning. And we must do the same. When it's another Christian, speak to them about the error of their ways in love and get them back on track. An unsaved soul, still no condemnation, but preach Christ. Get them on the path. Being evil, critical, condescending and judgmental will not do it. And we as Christians need to follow Christ. And if you can't, pray about it and seek His word.

This division is not helping the kingdom. And being mean and nasty when God wants you to gracious and merciful is not getting you any brownie points in His eyes.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. Matthew 7:1-2 NKJV

(I've been away because of work. I hope to post a bit more in the future.)

Stay Blessed and Be Encouraged

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