Thursday, April 3, 2014

John 8:1-11 The Woman Caught in Adultery

John 8:1-11

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.  Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst  they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.  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.”
The Pharisees are at it again.  Wanting to trap Jesus, they brought to him only the woman caught in adultery, and not the man.  This shows how the Pharisees viewed women in Jesus' day.  The trap was that no matter how Jesus answered their question, it would get him in trouble.  Either with Rome, or with the Pharisees.  Rome was the only one allowed to execute a person, and the Pharisees knew that the law required Jesus to answer that the woman should be stoned.  It was a failproof trap!  But look at Jesus' reply.

What reply, you ask.  And you rightly ask that question because Jesus did not give an answer. He allows the accusers to keep talking.  He makes no eye contact with anybody.  Look at this verse:

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. James 2:10

Jesus knew the Pharisees were guilty of failing in all points of the law and were accountable for all of it.  In their continued attempts at forcing Jesus into a corner, they condemned themselves.  Can we learn from the wisdom Jesus exhibits here in answering accusers?  Jesus allows them to walk away.  The sad part about the departure of the Pharisees is that they did not stick around to hear Jesus forgive them as well.  But the woman.... well, there she is all exposed, physically and spiritually, in her shame.  And Jesus does not condemn her.  She does not deny her sin, but stands in the midst of all the men, hoping for mercy, fearing for her life.

Jesus gives her so much more.  He gives us the same. Rejoice in that!

What is a Balanced Life?

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. ~Luke 2:52

As a child, Jesus had a balanced life.  He grew in his mind and in his body; he had favor with God and with us.  He did not neglect one aspect of life in order to achieve another.  He grew physically which requires exercise and healthy eating.  He grew in wisdom, which requires time to learn, reflect and apply that knowledge.  He grew in favor with God which means learning of God, gathering with people where God promises to meet us, in his church (Matthew 18:19-21-“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”).  He grew in favor with man, so Jesus was around people and in community with them.

There are many good things in life that are gifts from our Heavenly Father.  Our jobs, our families, our church family, physical activity, sports programs, gaining knowledge and wisdom.  All of these things can lead one into a ditch and throw us off balance.  When one gift is overemphasized at the expense of other gifts, we have lost balance.  Have you known someone who is a workaholic?  The gift of employment has been misused at the expense of family.  Do you know someone who chooses sports activities at the expense of Sunday morning worship?  How about someone who cannot exercise enough?  They also abandon other gifts from God to attain endorphins. 

Often these good gifts that can be mishandled try to lure us in with unsure promises.  With exercise comes the promise of youth and beauty never leaving you.  Employment holds the allure of earthly treasures and praises of men.  Sports activities, for families offers an often unfulfilled scholarship.  But we, the children of our Heavenly Father, have a sure promise from God that He will meet us where and when He says He will, in the gathering together of believerson Sunday mornings.  His Word never returns to Him without doing what He intends.  Sometimes the hard decisions look as if we are choosing the weakest and least wise, but being with God and his family is the wisest choice.

In our families, it is very challenging to find balance.  There are many good gifts that call us.  Some gifts beckon us away from other gifts when they are in conflict. “Welcome to the Lord’s Table” is for all of us.  My prayer for you and your family is for balance in your lives, and an ability to enjoy all the good things our heavenly Father has blessed us with: growth in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and man.