Ocean View Women’s Bible Study
May 26, 2011
- We are seeing only pieces of Jesus’ ministry through the story-telling of John, as he only shares the parts of the story that he deems most important
- John 7 is Jesus moving through again some of the teachings we have covered in our time. He is speaking about who He REALLY is and who people are saying He is. John then leads us through the beginning divisions of Jewish leaders.
Now we move to a passage in John 8, one of my favorites
- READ John 8:1-11
- This is such a complex passage and a defining moment of Jesus’ ministry and teaching
- For the Jewish people, adultery was one of the worst sins you could possibly commit and the punishment was death. The Jewish leaders were completely correct in their accusation that the woman was punishable to death by stoning.
- The trap was a complex one because if Jesus said she should be killed, and then he was losing the name he had gained for being merciful and loving. If he stoned her then the Roman government would be mad because they believed they must be present. If he didn’t stone her then he was defacing the Law of Moses and everything he stood on as a Jew.
- So Jesus completely diffuses the very tense moment. He bends down to the ground and begins to write. What is he writing? Well we will never know for sure, but one idea is that he is writing the sins of all the men who have gathered to stone her.
- Whatever he was writing, you can believe that the Jewish leaders were growing impatient and surely were yelling and repeating the sins of the woman to Jesus demanding a response.
- And so He gives them a response, but completely turns the entire incident on its head.
- He states the law is correct, and so whoever is without sin can cast the first stone at her to pay her price.
- What Jesus was saying was not that the Jewish law was at fault, and he was also not saying that the woman wasn’t guilty, and he even wasn’t saying something about the Pharisees who were pretending to be super-spiritual but really just trying to take down both Jesus and a troubled sinner. He actually didn’t seem to blink an eye at any of these things.
- What Jesus does want to make a point about here is that those who judge others. Judgment is what is on stage here.
- Jesus says in Matthew 7: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
- He also said in Matthew 7:1-5, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
- Jesus was using the confrontation as a profound teaching moment. He was asserting that He alone was the only one without sin in the crowd.
- Furthermore, to worry about the sins of other is a futile game. Something all of us struggle with at one time or another is demanding standards from others that we aren’t focusing to meet ourselves.
- The qualification for judging sins isn’t KNOWLEDGE, we ALL have that. We must be perfectly good to judge others, and none of us have achieved that.
- Second, we see a compassion and respect given to this woman. He doesn’t look down on her; He looks into her misguided heart and longs to make it better.
- If we go to see a doctor, the doctor doesn’t pity us or isn’t embarrassed we are there. Something is wrong and He wants to fix it. God sees our sinful hearts the same. We are lost in sin and He wants to fix it. He finds joy in the healing.
- Finally Jesus sends the woman on her way and tells her to go and sin no more. This is truly how we can try to love others, and moreover, know that God sees us in this way too.
- When Jesus sends the woman off, there are three things we learn about Him
- He believes in second chances. And I mean really believes. Jesus really thought that the woman could leave that situation and truly be a changed person. We must also believe that when people encounter the living God something can change deep within them. We must believe that for ourselves. Repentance is the TURNING away from sin. We must turn and walk a new way – Jesus believes we can and will do that!
- Jesus challenges us to go and become more than we have been. Even though Jesus has true compassion on us just as where are, He wants more for us. So that we can experience the fullness of life. So He challenges us to go further, dig deeper, and reach higher. That may mean that we will have huge challenges in our life – and God might just allow these IN ORDER that we would grow. But God believes the challenge is good, and we are sharpened in the process.
- He sees the WORST in us but believes the BEST about us. We are made in the image of God, so no matter how depraved and dark we may look; He sees the best of what could be. He made us, after all! So we must pray for eyes like Jesus has, that no matter how depraved and dark a person might be, that they have the fingerprints of God all over them, and so no one is too far or too lost. There is always hope for anyone.
Who are you in this story? Are you the judgmental Pharisee who is blinded by your opinion of everyone else? Or are you the sinful woman, continuing to live in your sin but hoping no one will realize? Well God sees you both, just as you are. He has compassion on you, but He longs for more. Will you come into the light?11