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 8:10-11
This woman in John chapter 8 was brought before Jesus by religious leaders. The scriptures say that these people were using this question as a trap for Jesus. They wanted to be able to accuse Him of wrongdoing.
What Jesus did was change the game. Scripture says that he began writing on the ground. As he wrote he told the crowd gathered to throw the first stone if they were without sin. The crowd began to walk away – beginning with the oldest first.
We do not know what Jesus was writing but many theologians believe He was writing particular sins on the ground and exposing hypocrisy. These men were so eager to execute this woman but they themselves had plenty of sin for which they should be punished.
The broken heart wants justice for others and grace for self.
Today as you continue your fast- take a posture similar to Jesus. Position yourself not as judge to those who are found in sin but rather as someone who can point to hope, freedom & redemption. John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” We are all condemned already, what people need is an answer and that answer is hope and Salvation in Jesus Christ.
Jesus leaves this woman in shock as she experiences grace. He tells her “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Maybe today you have a ‘pet sin’ that you still keep hold of. Maybe not many people know about it. Today place yourself in the sandals of the woman and experience forgiveness but put down the pet sin. Go now and leave your life of sin and let others do the same.
“He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” – John 7:18
Jesus is faced with this classic dilemma that you and I are faced with every day. This dilemma is central to the ‘why’ behind our ‘what’. Why do we behave the way we do? Why do we perform acts of service and generosity?
Do we do what we do to get a following or to point people to the Father? Following or Father, it’s a simple contrast.
Jesus is being nudged to go to Judea and try to ‘win back’ some of his disciples who left him toward the end of the previous chapter. If you recall they wanted him to perform miracles. The easy thing for Jesus to capture attention for himself would have been to go throw a fireworks display for his buddies and ask them to take him back. Doing miracles doesn’t guarentee one is the Messiah. Jesus had a decision to make on how to live. Would he bring people the 3-ring circus or the truth about his Father?
You and I have that same decision. Many people use the good behavior and good moral teaching found in Christianity in order to benefit their own standing. Most companies today offer some form of charity arm in order to put the company in a good light in their community. Jesus doesn’t just let us get away with ‘doing good things’. Jesus calls us to consider our motives. Is our goal to advance our following or to draw attention to the Father?
Be sure to follow the example of Jesus and do things on the Father’s timing. Do those things that will allow the Father to get glory. Don’t use faith as a means to your own end. Don’t attempt to use church attendance as a way to get yourself a proverbial gold star. Point to the Father in everything you do and allow God to handle your standing among others.
“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” - John 6:66
Jesus had recently finished explaining a difficult lesson. The scriptures call this a ‘hard teaching’ (v60). There were people who were with Jesus all the way up until this hard teaching. They followed Jesus ‘that much’. How far will you go with Jesus?
When I was a teenager we had a lot of characters in and out of our inner city Sunday School class that was held in the basement of a row home. Our group wasn’t exactly the church type. Lets just say that none of us were children of religious people. I recall conversations that were very raw and honest. We often discussed what it meant to really follow Jesus. Some who were into selling drugs would ask if they had to give that up. Others who were sleeping with multiple girls would ask if they had to leave that lifestyle to follow Jesus. Unfortunately for nearly half of the class there was a limit to following Christ.
What is your limit?
My prayer is that you do not have one. My prayer is that since you were saved eternally that you are living for Him eternally.
You know what I see in verse 66? I see many people who looked like disciples who weren’t really disciples. I don’t believe they changed their eternal destiny but rather they revealed it. I believe their heart had finally been revealed by their actions.
I love how this passage ends. Jesus, after this mass exodus of ‘disciples’, looks over to the 12 main disciples and asks if they will leave as well. Peter looks back and says “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (68-69).
Peter got God. Peter knew that there was no where else to go but Jesus. When you’re wrestling through your daily routine, dealing with work or stressed with circumstances of life are you going to be like one of the so-called disciples who abandoned Jesus or will you take the posture of Peter and say “There is no where else to go but you Jesus. You give life.” I pray you run to Christ and embrace Him. There sincerely is no where else to go. Christ is everything.