Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Shepastor: "Casting Stones..."

1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 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. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
John 8: 1-11, NIV

“Caught in the very act!” These damning words were hurled at Jesus concerning the guilt of a broken, bullied and shamed woman. Surely Jesus would quote some Old Testament law and agree with the accusations of the crowd. But Jesus flipped the script.
He did not join into the fast and furious kangaroo court that assembled with the intent to do more than convict a defenseless woman, but ensnare Jesus in a trap they believed was air tight. But the ways of the Lord are far above the ways of man.

Rather than engage them on their own terms, Jesus simply stooped down to the ground and began to write in the sand. Some have conjectured that Jesus was writing the names of those who were themselves involved with the adulterous acts! We don’t know what Jesus was writing, but we have the record of what Jesus said…“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Pivot to 2016…the worst shooting massacre in U.S. history in Orlando, Florida. Unfortunately, there are those, who like the Pharisees, are railing against the victims, suggesting that their lifestyle (LGBTQ) brought down God’s judgement upon them. Could Jesus still be writing names in the sand?

This is not a season to engage in theological debates about sin. While Jesus did not condone the life style of the woman, He also did not condemn her. Jesus exhibited love, mercy and compassion. He gave her a word of direction and change after he protected her from vicious accusers and murderers.

God’s word calls us to speak words of truth in love. Jesus shows us how to live that out. As we seek to minister to those who are broken, grieved, struggling and disillusioned, may we do so with the heart of Jesus. May we be found on the right side of the lesson.

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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