March 26, 2010
Caution: Mind at Work
"'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'" John 8:11 (NIV)
"Hey! I want a do-over!" she screamed. The sun was clearly blinding her as she struck the volleyball with her fist to serve. She didn't see the serve fly straight into the hands of the opposing team. It was interesting to watch the reaction of her teammates. Some agreed to offer her grace, others muttered, "Tough stuff! Too bad!" Middle school volleyball resembles a story that Jesus lived.
In the middle of an ordinary teaching day Jesus shared a revealing truth about our Savior. The Pharisees interrupted His lesson by dragging in front of the crowd a woman who had been caught in adultery.
This woman had obvious, visible sin in her life. She was caught red-handed. It was easy for the lawgivers to snatch this life and display it before the crowd. They had their motives for bursting onto the scene, but Jesus flipped their intentions upside down.
When these puffed up leaders asked Jesus if this woman should be stoned, "Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger" (vs. 6b, NIV).
Did you catch His reaction to the confrontation? Silence. His mind was at work, but His mouth was not. We learn from scripture that Jesus asked His Father in heaven about every decision before moving forward. Why would this situation be any different?
We've probably all heard that pausing to count to ten before getting angry can diffuse an argument, but I want to park here a minute to see what Jesus did.
Jesus' agenda had just been altered by a bunch of self-righteous leaders. He was preparing to teach truth, and now He had the opportunity to live it. Instead of a quick response He hit the pause button while the Pharisees continued the barrage. Jesus was in no rush to respond.
As He bent down, I imagine Him offering up prayers. He saw that broken woman, He heard that accusing crowd, and yet His focus was on truth. The verse tells us He didn't just stand up, He straightened up. Jesus knew about body language before it was hip to study it. The power of this visual communication meant that He was about to say something that would pierce their hearts.
Many scholars have guessed Jesus was writing on the ground all of the sins of each of the accusers there. His words, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" (vs. 7, NIV), must have been the first glimpse of light this woman had seen in a long time. Finally, someone saw value in her beyond the bedroom.
Can you imagine the flood of emotions filling her at that moment? She witnessed hope in the middle of her circumstance. Jesus then straightened up to speak to her. He declared that He did not condemn her but she must leave her life of sin. She was given a do-over!
Have you ever wished for a do-over in life? I have. I've been that woman who had no hope. I'm a witness: Jesus is the master of second chances. Throughout the Bible He not only raised the physically dead, He resurrected the spiritually and emotionally dead as well.
Romans 3:10 tells us, "There is no one righteous, not even one" (NIV). Jesus wants you to see that you are not alone. If you look around and think that everyone else has it all together, this story is for you. No one is righteous, not even one! Everyone has their sins, some are just more visible than others. But Jesus knows your heart. He knows your struggles. He sees what plagues your life.
Where are you in this story? Are you the adulterous woman looking for hope? Are you the leader looking to condemn? Are you part of the crowd standing silently in the background? There was only One in this story without sin and He offered grace.
Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to live the truth. Quietly seek the Father's guidance. Think before we speak. Then straighten up and live redeemed.
He has come to give you a second chance; a do-over. Will you listen to His voice?
Dear Jesus, I need a do-over in my life! My sin may be hidden from others, but it is so obvious to You. I'm listening to Your Voice. Will You cleanse me and teach me to straighten up and live redeemed? In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit with Luann at Encouragement Café!
Confessions of an Adulterous Woman: Lies that Got Me There, Truths that Brought Me Back by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz
Kneel down in prayer and ask God to forgive every sin in your life. As you stand, straighten up to experience the symbolism of the new redeemed life you are about to live!
What sin is hiding in my heart?
Do I offer grace to others?
Am I willing to listen to His Voice and live redeemed?
John 1:16 "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another." (NIV)
Psalm 71:23 "My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you- I, whom you have redeemed." (NIV)
© 2010 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 26 March 2010.