Sunday, January 18, 2015

We Are An Adulterous People

Do you recognize this image? You might. It's from The Passion of The Christ movie. It is the story from John 8 about the adulterous woman. We read . . .

"2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” - John 8: 2-11

This is an interesting story. Many people read it and think, "Gee, Jesus didn't condemn her. He let her off without punishment. It looks like Jesus broke the law!" Did He? The law clearly states that both the man and the woman should be put to death.

10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." - Leviticus 20:10

According to the law she should have been put to death. Why did Jesus let her off?

Jesus knew she had sinned and that she was guilty; hence the "go and sin no more" statement. But do you see anything that is missing from this story? Something required according to Mosaic law?

There are several thing missing in this story. Ready?

Where was her partner in the alleged adulterous act? Hmm. Nowhere. Interesting. The law clearly states that "BOTH the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." Where's the dude.

Something else is missing. Turn to Deuteronomy 17 . . .

"On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness." - Deuteronomy 17:6

There are no witnesses present. It says the woman was "caught in the act" yets the witnesses were not present at this potential stoning. Let's keep reading in Deuteronomy.

"7 The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst." - Deuteronomy 17:7

The two witnesses are supposed to throw the first stones at the adulterous couple. None of the Pharisees were willing to throw the first stones. My guess is because the actually witnesses, if there were any, were not even present.

So Jesus obeyed the law. AND He turned the situation around to confront the Pharisees - questioning them about THEIR sin? Interesting.

So let's talk about you and me for a moment. When we sin, and we ALL do, are there witnesses? Are there TWO witnesses present to convict us of our sin? I would submit that there ARE two witnesses - ourselves and God. We know what we did. So does God. Are our sins on the level of adultery though? I also say yes.

Today there is a big football game. Our Green Bay Packers are in THE NFC Championship game. Many people will be tailgating at Lambeau Field . . . even though the game is in Seattle! Packers fans will be partying it up all over the planet. Will they be passing up worship today to do so? Will they be getting drunk out of their minds? Some WILL get "stoned" in a different way than described in The Bible.

In the Old Testament days people were stoned for adultery. I am grateful we don't do that to each other today because I would be one of those to be stoned. How many times have I put off reading His Holy Word to us? How many times have I not prayed? In other words, how many time have I cheated on my God by spending time with someone or something else? Yeah. I am worthy of death. So are you I'm guessin'.

However, we serve an amazing God. A God of grace and forgiveness. A God of mercy and compassion. As a matter of fact, God is SO gracious and merciful, so loving and forgiving, that He makes me want to worship and praise Him more!

My prayer is that we each would think about the adulterous lives we ALL lead, lthe time we spend ignoring God or replacing worship with something else, and come to Him on our knees in humility, seeking His forgiveness. Please, won't you join me in doing so today? The Packer game isn't until later. What are you doing right now?

Mighty To Save - Hillsong

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