Wednesday, December 28, 2011

John 8 1 to 11

1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Key Observation:
This portion does not appear in the earliest manuscripts. However, McGee tells us: “Augustine writes that it was omitted because of a prudish fear that it would encourage adultery.”
McGee, J. Vernon (1990-01-30). Thru the Bible 1-5 (5 Volume Set) (Kindle Locations 101329-101330). Grupo Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I find it interesting that again and again the leaders try to trap Jesus into some sort of verbal sin, blasphemy or whatever. Here the Pharisees bring Him a woman, specifically challenging Him to dare to show her mercy. Each time, Jesus perfectly keeps the Law, yet shows the mercy through the Law that God meant men to show all along.

Here is a woman taken in the very act of adultery. Was she yet undressed? I can easily imagine the Pharisees wanting to add to the difficulty of Jesus by presenting the woman exactly in the state which she had been taken. (I have always wondered if Saul of Tarsus was among one of these groups of Pharisees that keep challenging Jesus) I ask this question because of the action of Jesus, who stoops down, perhaps avoiding looking at the woman, and writes on the ground. Perhaps He was embarrassed, if not for Himself, for the sake of the woman.

I am not told many things which I wonder about here. I imagine such a woman, taken by the religious rulers, would be in quite an awful emotional state. Perhaps tears were streaming down her face as she knew that she quite easily could be stoned for her deed. Perhaps she had struggled, and with torn clothing, tears, and whatever bruises they may have inflicted in dragging her along, she faced Jesus. I love the fact that my Lord did not look at her, but gave her respect, and told her to go and sin no more.

He was able to turn the tables on the religious leaders, giving them an answer they did not expect: He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone. I find it remarkable that these men whom I tend to think of as “whitewashed walls” (a reference that Jesus later makes, a metaphor telling them they are whitewashed tombs, or walking dead people) were aware enough to realize their own shortcomings. I wonder if they knew enough about each other that just looking at each other was self-condemning. At any rate, they were convicted by their own sins, yet even as with Judas, this conviction led not to repentance. Contrast the woman, who knows her own sin, even as does the whole group, who calls Jesus Lord. Her belief grants her the mercy of God, and Jesus commands go and sin no more.

There is no sin for which forgiveness cannot be granted, unless it is the sin of unbelief. What must we do that we might work the works of God, asks the crowd. Jesus replies, This is the work of God, that ye believe in Him whom He hath sent. In the last chapter Jesus said, if any man thirst let him come unto me and drink, McGee comments:

“This is free will, friend. “If any man.” That means you. God is offering a gift to you. Also here is election: “If any man thirst.” The question is, “Are you thirsty?” Have you perhaps been drinking at the mud holes of the world, and have you been finding that they are not satisfying? “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” You can come to Him and receive Him as your Savior.”
The Scripture says if any man come unto me, I will in no wise cast him out. If you are making the mistake of believing you are too rotten for God to forgive, let me suggest that you might be getting close to seeing your sins the way that God does, in all of their degradation and filth. Perhaps you can identify with this woman, almost naked, beaten, and emotionally at her end. And even as she, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was sufficient, that she could walk away from her old life of sin toward her new life of faith. What a good God we have, rich in mercy and longsuffering towards us!
McGee, J. Vernon (1990-01-30). Thru the Bible 1-5 (5 Volume Set) (Kindle Locations 101284-101287). Grupo Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Another Year Is Dawning

1. Another year is dawning;
Dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting,
Another year with Thee;
Another year of progress,
Another year of praise,
Another year of proving
Thy presence all the days.

2. Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness
In the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning
Upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting,
Of quiet, happy rest.

3. Another year of service,
Of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training
For holier work above.
Another year is dawning:
Dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in heaven,
Another year for Thee.

Lyrics: Frances Ridley Havergal
Music: Samuel Sebastian Wesley

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