Reading Time: 5 Minutes
Every little detail is a reminder.
John 7.53-8.2 – Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them.
It is easy to skip over these verses as merely an introduction to another account of God’s love. They are, in fact, another reminder of Jesus’ mission and God’s love.
Jesus came to reveal what God is like by explaining his very nature and character to the world (John 1.18). These verses show us that God is personal. He comes to where we are and can be encountered. He is willing to sit down with us today and be our teacher.
Let’s stop for a moment and ask God, the Holy Spirit, to be our teacher as we continue reading this account of Jesus’ ministry.
Using people versus loving people
John 8.3-6 – The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
6 They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
The religious leaders were more concerned with trapping Jesus than they were over the charge of adultery. They only brought an accusation against the woman and apparently did nothing with the man. The woman was nothing more than a “tool” for these men to fulfill their scheme against Jesus.
By contrast, Jesus was seated and teaching a crowd of people. He was sharing with them the “words of life” that Peter so appropriately described (John 6.68).
As I read this, I have to ask myself who I am most like. Do my words reflect Jesus and point people to the Life-Giver? Or, do I use people as a tool?
For example, is the checkout person at the store a “tool” to help me get what I want, or is the checker a person to whom life-giving words are spoken?
Are my family members “tools” to make my life happy, or are they the most important ones to whom life-giving words should be directed?
You get the idea. Why don’t you think of other ways people can be seen as “tools” or as opportunities for life-giving words?
Jesus both speaks and acts with life-giving power.
John 8.7-11 – When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
9 When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
10 Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
Jesus silenced the religious authorities by appealing to their conscience. He gave them the opportunity to look inward and glimpse the state of their inside condition. In my mind I see them dropping the stones they were prepared to use and walking away in shame.
Jesus set the woman completely free from her guilt and said, “Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
I believe this last phrase is a profound gift from a loving God to people. On a regular basis I hear addicts say, “I lost the urge to use, praise God!” That’s exactly what Jesus gave to this woman. He gave her the power to be free from the urge to commit adultery.
So much is taught in twelve short verses. Let’s ask ourselves to what extent we are like the religious authorities who use people as “tools.” Before we condemn others today, can we agree with Jesus and look within our own lives for character flaws? Is there some area of our life where Jesus wants to say to us, “Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
Dear Jesus, thank you for revealing the very character of the Father. Please help me embrace your kind of living today. May my words be life-giving to everyone I encounter today. May your power be effective in me to set me free from the one sin that continues to trip me up. Thank you for your grace.