Jesus and those who throw stones

Jesus Close Up

Jesus didn’t have a home…by choice

Everyone goes off to their own houses but Jesus didn’t have a home. We must never forget how Jesus came into our world so that we don’t make much of ourselves. If we learn nothing else today, know that the infinite God showed us how to live and walk a humble life.

It is very hard for us to demonstrate the grace that Jesus demonstrates because we live with such an attitude of entitlement. I’m owed wealth, health, happiness, peace, comfort…that is what life is about. Well, your vision of life doesn’t include the life of Jesus lived.

Jesus Gets Away from the World

Pilgrims, like Jesus, often stayed on the mount if they could not find lodging. The Mount of Olives, is a small range of four summits, overlooking Jerusalem and the Temple from the East. At this point, he’s been accused of being a blasphemer, being possessed by a demon, breaking the law, disturber of the peace, and a liar.

The people were confused and argued about who he was, the Jewish leaders debated with him, then both groups wanted to arrest him so that he could be killed. Who wouldn’t want to get away? Not only was his birth Jesus went off by himself to pray, to meditate, and to think about God.

 

Brought a Woman “Caught in the act”

Jesus enters the temple and sits down to teach. As he is teaching, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman “caught in the act” of adultery before him. We have to ask ourselves, how they “stumbled” upon this woman in the act of adultery—they had been looking for it, like some sort of “sin police.”

But regardless, these guys do not appear to care for this woman in anyway. If a person knew that someone was about commit a sin, they had a responsibility to try and stop them.

Galatians 6.1

The Law concerning Adultery

Make no mistake about it, this woman is guilty. Although this woman is most likely a prostitute, and may have been set up, they do have “legal” grounds for their actions. The Jewish people viewed adultery as a serious crime—much more serious than we do today. Adultery was one of the gravest sins punishable by death although there were considerable differences in how the death penalty was to be carried out.

Lev. 20.10;

10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

Testing Jesus, the true purpose

These guys have the legal right to judge her actions, but she is simply a tool for what they really want to do which is catch Jesus in something they could bring a charge for. In their mind, Jesus has only two possible responses:

1. Yes, STONE HER:

a. He would lose his the name of “mercy” that he had become known for. He did not come to judge to but to seek and save the lost.

b. He would usurp the authority of the Roman Empire who stated that Jews had no power to carry out death sentences on anyone.

2. No, DON’T STONE HER: if he said to pardon her, then he would be breaking the law of Moses and appear as if he was condoning people who committed adultery.

We’re really good at finding and using other people’s sin

· TO PUNISH: We bring people caught in sin to God so that we see them punished. Rightly, this is simply identifying an authority beyond yourself, wrong….We believe that the person just doesn’t recognise how sinful they are so if we judge them enough, threaten them enough, or otherwise scare them enough, they’ll change.

· TO HIDE: We bring people caught in sin to God so that we don’t have to go ourselves. If we’re taking a stand for God’s rightness by condemning every sin we find (not that finds us) then it becomes easy to ignore our own sinfulness.

· TO ARGUE: We bring people caught in sin to God so that we can catch God in a contradiction or a mistake. This is the person who really doesn’t believe to begin with and try to justify their sin or sin of someone they know. They break God’s Law and the “scare” that they had been given never happens. or, someone they know breaks God’s law and their not the Devil Incarnate so they try and argue with God.

Jesus remains silent and writes in the sand

Jesus doesn’t fall for either of their options. He remains silent. Jesus is already sitting as he had been teaching the people. He bends down to write on the sand. As 93-4% of our communication is non-verbal, I’m always curious what we’re supposed to understand Jesus to be saying here.

Then, what did he write. Scholars put forward all kinds of different opinions, all of which are guesses at best.

Jeremiah 1.13;

13           O Lord, the hope of Israel, 
                    all who forsake you shall be put to shame; 
          those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth, 
                    for they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water.

Proverbs 26:4

“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him”

As they continue to ask…

These guys keep asking and asking…and finally Jesus has enough.

He says ‘Let him who is without sin’

He did not say that the woman had not sinned or that her sin was a trifling one. But he reminded her accusers that they at any rate were not the person to bring a charge against her. Their own motives and lives were far from pure and were full of hypocrisy. Then he starts writing again….

Who is without sin?

Romans 3.23 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

1 John 1.8-9 says, If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we’re all sin, do we have the right to judge anyone?

Is Jesus telling us not to judge anyone here?

Matthew 7.1-4 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2

My first question is why you are judging? What do you really hope to accomplish? Do you feel like you need to help God out? Do you believe that if you don’t judge that for some reason those things that God has declared as sinful suddenly become right?

#1 We’re naturally bad judges…we categorise sin according to consequences only

#2 We’re bad judges…we judge according to letter of the law, not the spirit

#3 We’re bad judges…because we don’t take our own sin seriously

Neither do I condemn you…but I could.

Jesus did not condone the sin. He offered forgiveness not approval Jesus was without sin. Jesus could have thrown a stone, but he shows mercy (not giving something she deserved) and grace (giving her forgiveness)—we wouldn’t do that for an adulterous husband or wife today.

From now on sin no more.

Jesus did judge her. Jesus said, you are an adulterous, you did sin, you do deserve death…but I forgive you. He doesn’t just forget the penalty for sin…he is going to defer it for about 6 months when he pays for it on the cross. As he judged, however, he pointed out that she needed to stop sinning. True repentance that consists in nothing more than feeling, talking, professing, wishing, meaning, hoping, and resolving is worthless in God’s sight. Until a man ceases to do evil and turns from his sins, he does not really repent.