“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. 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.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground” (John 8:6-8).
Continued from Jesus Who?—The Rich Young Man.
In a previous post, I reflected upon the fact that Jesus called the Pharisees “a brood of vipers”, and the apostle Peter told Simon Magus that his heart was “full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Jesus is God, and Peter was surely operating in the Holy Spirit. Yet today, Jesus and Peter would be the ones likely vilified, while the Pharisees and Simon the Sorcerer would be indulged. Lest not we forget the innumerable “Don’t judge me” memes, which would undoubtedly overflow our social media feeds. What a shame that Jesus Christ, Himself, and the apostle Peter, would be tossed out of many churches today onto the street. “Peter answered: ‘May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin’” (Acts 8:20-23). Peter’s words were strong, rough with jagged edges, truthful, and yes, even gracious; they were absolutely uttered in love.
“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. 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.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground” (John 8:6-8). John 8 opens with a group of men wanting to stone a woman accused of adultery, and the chapter ends with a group of men (maybe the same men) wanting to stone Jesus. Jesus didn’t condone the woman that day; instead, He exposed the hypocrisy of the would-be stone throwers. The woman was rescued by grace and found a new identity as a child of God; thus, Jesus said to her in verse 11: “’Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” Jesus neither condemned nor pardoned the woman, but He did issue a warning that she should refrain from sinning. What’s more, Jesus never instructed the onlookers not to judge; He instructed them how to judge (Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:37-42; John 8:1-8). Although Jesus’ response to the woman demonstrates that grace isn’t truly grace without repentance, sadly, the lesson that day is often distorted in order to justify taking an apathetic, or even approving, stance toward wickedness.
The scripture considered in this post is full of any number of other revelations and wonderful truths worth exploring, but I have written what I believe the Holy Spirit has guided me to write.
“They say to the seers, ‘See no more visions!’ and to the prophets, ‘Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” (Isaiah 30:10-11). I am glad Jesus spoke up, that Peter and Paul spoke up, that Stephen spoke up, among others. They caused civil unrest, were thrown in prison and even killed, and most undoubtedly, offended people; lots of people. Moved by love, theirs was a mission of mercy, an eternal rescue operation, and the world hated them. So why should we be any different today? Whether sin takes the form of greed or exploitation, slander or gossip, abusive words spoken in a fit of rage, jealousy or gossip, deceit or adultery, sin is heinous, and the one who offers correction should do so in the absence of self-righteousness, knowing that they are equally fallen and capable of much worse (Galatians 6:1-5). Until next time!
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