Today's Reading - John 7-8
These two chapters are packed full of information about who Jesus is, His divinity, and likewise His authority. In these two chapters alone, Jesus’ life was threatened numerous times because of who He claimed to be and the message He delivered. He was a divisive figure in history and this was never seen more clearly than in these chapters. Some believed, others thought he had a demon. Some followed, others wanted Him dead. He was radical and unabashed and fit into none of the stereotypes of the coming Christ that the Jews were expecting.
You see the people of the time had their own idea of what the Messiah would look like and where He would come from and when Jesus did not fit these criteria they dismissed Him as the Christ. This begs the question, how often do we do the same thing? How often do we want Jesus to fit into our “box” and when He doesn't, we dismiss Him? The struggle comes when God asks us to conform to the image of His Son, while at the same time we want God to conform to the image of the prefabricated god of our own theology. Scary thought…
The only character that we meet distinctly in these two chapters is the woman caught in adultery. In this story, The Pharisees try to trap Jesus and He (Jesus) uses the law against them in order to give life and demonstrate grace to the woman. According to the law to which the Pharisees are referring, the couple has to be caught in the act of adultery and be brought together to be put to death. Jesus knew this and knew their hearts. He knew that they did not care about the woman or even that she had been caught in sin, but that they were only accusing her in order to trap Him and had completely neglected the law by allowing the man to not be punished in the same way as the woman. Do we ever in our own way act as the Pharisees did? Do we ever test God to see if He will remain faithful to His word?
Knowing the hearts of the Pharisees and knowing that their motives were impure he flipped the script on them and pointed out that none of them who were accusing the woman was without sin themselves. He then bent down and wrote something in the dirt (this was the second time He had done this) and they walked away in order from youngest to oldest. The scriptures do not tell us what He wrote. Did He write out the accusers’ sins? Did He write personal information about them in order to let them know that He was speaking with authority? Clearly we do not need to know, but what we do know is that He chose to show grace in spite of obvious evidence and reason to condemn. Aren't you glad that we serve a God of second chances? Do we live like Him and likewise show grace while at the same time calling sin what it is and calling for repentance, or do we simply say that the god of our theology is solely a god of grace and therefore would not call out the sin and command repentance?
Do we recognize God even when He doesn’t fit into our “box”?
Do we ever put God on trial as a test of His faithfulness?
Do we live in an equal balance of calling for repentance and displaying grace to others?
Ok, put down the Bible and go do it!
by Josh Vaughan