Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are your accusers?’”
John 8: 10
“The Guilt Problem”
Guilt causes us to be ashamed of ourselves.
“Ashamed” – Reluctant because of the fear of shame.
“Be ashamed of nothing but sin; not of fetching wood, or drawing water, if time permit; not of cleaning your own shoes or your neighbor’s.”
She had made a mistake. She had been caught in an act of adultery. The good old boys – the scribes and Pharisees – decided they would “use” this fallen, sinful woman to lure Jesus into a trap they had set for Him. Evidently, these “holy men” had noticed one thing about Jesus. He had a heart for the fallen. He had a message too – a message of hope. With the lady as their bait they opened court. They were going to have a field day at the expense of a woman they deemed worthy of nothing more than a good stoning.
Here’s how the Apostle John describes the scene. “They made her stand in the middle of the court and put the case before Him (Jesus). ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘This woman has been caught in the very act of adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us that such shall be stoned to death. What do You say to do with her?’” (John 8: 2-5, Amplified Bible).
I want to point out several glaring highlights, or in this case “lowlights” found in this passage. The scribes and Pharisees didn’t even bother to call the woman by her name – they referred to her as “Such” – “Such shall be stoned.” We never hear Jesus calling one of His lost children, “Such.” He calls us, “Son, Daughter, Woman, Mother” – but not a cold, unkind word like “Such.” I read not long ago that it is so much easier for us, as humans, to have an unfeeling attitude toward individuals when we don’t know their names. It is as though they become faceless objects in a world that all too often is a blur of “unidentified living objects.”
The next thing I want to mention is that this was a woman who had been used by a man before. For all we know she may have been “used” on many other occasions and now it was the “religious” men who were “using” her. This was to be a test for Jesus. Was He or was He not a “lawbreaker?”
What a way to hit a girl when she’s down. First, the woman was caught for breaking the law. Then she was going to be condemned for breaking the law. And finally, if the “rogues of righteousness” had their way, she would end up being killed for breaking the law.
Pointing fingers, scowling faces, incriminating stares – what would your reaction have been if you were the guilty party? I’ll tell you how I would have felt – I’d have been ashamed of myself!! I’d have asked myself, “How could you have messed up like this? How could you have fallen so low? Girl, what were you thinking?” Oh, yes, I would have been ashamed big time! And then, something beautiful and wonderful happened!
The Bible says, “Then Jesus bent down (John 8: 8, Amplified). John says that He began writing on the ground. For years, theologians have had opinions about what Jesus was writing. Some say He was writing down the sins of the people doing the condemning. I don’t know because the Bible doesn’t say. However, and this is a big however. Every version of Scripture I read says, “Jesus bent down!” In John 6: 38, Jesus says, “For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will and purpose but to do the will and purpose of Him Who sent Me.”
It is as though you and I fell into a deep well, unable to do one thing to get ourselves out. God didn’t just send a rope down and holler at us from above, outside the muck, filth and grime of the well. No. He sent His “one and only begotten Son” to carry us out. Jesus came down – He bent right down and lifted us out of the mess of sin. No wonder the Apostle Paul writes so eloquently and with such certainty, “For I am not ashamed of the good news of Christ – for it is God’s power delivering me” (Romans 1: 16, Amplified).
You see, when I take a look at my life and everything I’ve ever done – there’s a lot to feel guilty about. Like the woman in court in front of Jesus and her accusers – I know that I’m going to be ruled, “Guilty.” So I stand ashamed – feeling worthless and humiliated. Then I see a Man. He’s bending down – extending His hand to me. But He doesn’t stop with just a hand, for John tells us in Jesus’ own words: “I lay down my life” (John 10: 17).
Is there any wonder Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the good news about Jesus.” It is Jesus who bends down, takes my guilty verdict and stamps a big “not-guilty” sign on it – then He lifts me up – and tells me, “I have, in Him, nothing to be ashamed about anymore!” With confidence like this, I can understand why English philanthropist, William Wilberforce encouraged Christians to “vindicate boldly the cause of Christ.”
If you and I accept Jesus – the Son who came-down and bent-down to rescue us – we are pronounced not guilty. No guilt! That means there’s nothing to be ashamed about anymore!
“Lord, let me return to You,
Let me come to You,
reach out to me.
I am alone.
Ashamed of myself.
Let me come to You.
Reach out to me.”
“She doesn’t know God forgives her. That’s the only power you have – to tell her that. Not just that He forgives her the poor little adulterer. But the faces she’s (ashamed) to look at now. The man’s. Her husband’s. Her own, half the time. Tell her He forgives her for being lonely and bored, for not being full of joy with a house full of children. That’s what sin really is. You know – not being full of joy. Tell her that sin is forgiven because whether she knows it or not, that’s what she wants more than anything else – what all of us want.”
“Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you…go on your way and from now on sin no more.’”
John 8: 11
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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