Scripture:

John 8:5-11 ESV

“Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” 

Observation:

The Pharisees were looking for a “gotcha” moment concerning Jesus. Clearly they thought finding a woman committing a clear violation of the Law (a sin) would be the opening the Pharisees were looking for. Jesus didn’t have any problem seeing what was happening and what was driving this confrontation—a complete misunderstanding about the nature and fact of the judicial relationship between God and Man—and of the Grace and Mercy coming soon through the Cross.

Application:

This is a situation which I can struggle with—the idea that “now I am redeemed; look at all the poor sods who should know better. If only they would stop doing [fill in the offense or condemnation of the moment].” I can fight with myself about condemning others: Maybe they cuss. Drink. Have immoral relations with others. Porn. Pride. Maybe just stays away from meeting at a local church. Fellowshiping. Doesn’t study, pray, and so forth. Has a sharp tongue for spouses. Not kind, short, angry, mean. I keep that “Bar” firmly in sight and measure everyone against it. Oh, yeah—and I do it with scripture references wielded like a sword, chopping up and laying bare anybody that has the misfortune of coming into contact with me. So just like the Pharisees I can be tempted to pick up that stone and hurl it “righteously.” I know why I do it: I forget the Gospel. Sounds like a trite answer but it’s true. I forget that, just like the scripture above, I am always a sinner saved by Grace. I revert to being a Pharisee, thinking that I have a pass before God because I am “doing the right things” and that others “who are not as enlightened as I” need to straighten up and fly right. So my attitude, my thinking, are skewed—away from the Word of God and into some sort of judgmental, condemning, mode of looking at others. It is noteworthy that how I look at others is not the merciful way I look at myself. Jesus doesn’t look at me with condemnation—but do I to others? But why? Why does that happen to me? From a practical side it can be a number of things:; I don’t get into the Word or I just gloss over what I am reading (skimming); I don’t pray well (also skimming); I don’t confess my sin daily to others; I don’t want the Spirit to expose my soul; Stress and anxiety of the stuff that I have to deal with daily (which leads to sickness and lack of sleep which can lead to all sorts of not doing the Fruit of the Spirit stuff), temptation, and, and, and…. At the end of all this thinking I am being self-justified, self-righteous, and self-important. I forgot what I deserve and the price that was paid for me despite me.

Prayer:

Lord God, Please forgive me lapsing into Pharisee. I do that way too often, even if I don’t say anything, I struggle with thinking it. I saw that commercial on TV the other day about “what I do in the dark…” and I was reminded about “what do I do when no one is watching?” Am I still submitting, surrendering, working hard to conform to and embrace Your Word? You are always watching, always there. It is part of “never leaving me, nor forsaking me.” I welcome Your “conforming me to the Image of Your Son”—Please make it always true that I welcome it. Thank you for reminding me that Your Grace is sufficient—that my salvation is dependent by Faith about Your Work on the Cross—not my performance. Just the same, I want to honor you by walking Worthy of the Gospel.

-Rick Sutton

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