The feast was over and everyone went home, well, except Jesus – He went to the Mount of Olives. Doesn’t say why he decided to go there but it is a place He often retreats. There is a great view of the city. I can imagine Jesus was tired and the people He had encountered during the feast might have been on His mind. Maybe He was carrying a mixed bag of feelings – joy because of those who had believed and sadness for those who had not. Being human, he probably needed a place to be quiet and process – and likely a place to spend time talking to His Father.
Early in the morning Jesus is back at the temple. “All the people came to him” and so he sat down and taught them. I’m reminded he went to the place where seekers were likely to come and waited. He rested, he prepared, he went to the likely place and the people came to Him.
(I’m wrangling with how to use my own gifts, my own dreams of how God might use me for something. I want to share the Word in a way that helps ignite others to use their own gifts. Often I think, what’s the point if there is no audience? Or worse – isn’t it arrogant to go sit in the temple? Yep, I’m most afraid of that… I’m also afraid of burying my talents in the ground. Wonder if I could just get my head around the confidence of JTB…he went out to baptize not knowing if anyone would come and not worrying if people thought he was promoting himself. He did his best to point to Jesus. He was given a calling and he just did it for as long as it lasted – knowing the end result was for God’s glory.)
Maybe that is exactly how the Scribes and the Pharisees saw Jesus – arrogant. Clearly they now were showing up to make a fool of Him in front of the crowds and catch Him in something they could hold against Him. “Teacher (I’ll be that came out a little sarcastic)“, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”
Now here is the stumbling block for the ego…”so what do you say? Give us your opinion. So and so says this but we want to hear your thoughts.” I would fall flat right here at the gate. I have an opinion on everything – some already fully formed and some I can whip up from scrapes on the fly.
Jesus? He pauses, he waits, he bends down and writes in the sand. He will not be ruffled. He will not speak out of turn. He gets His words from the Father. They keep asking – pressuring. When He stands to speak the words are brilliant! “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” He does not debate her crime, he does not dispute Moses, he does not accuse them – he offers the opportunity of self-examination and then he bends down again to write.
Strangely – they did it. The older they were the quicker they knew their own hearts but one by one they walked away. He kind of said, “this is the meat of the law, what do you think is right?”
Now Jesus is left alone with the woman standing in front of him. He is bent down. This bending down – is it a sign of humility or not judging? Jesus stands and asks, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
The answer: “No one, Lord.” Was she not just the recipient of a miracle? Was she not terrified one minute and now trembling with relief? No wonder she addresses him as “Lord”. And there is one more moment of waiting for her. What will her new found “Lord” do? To what I imagine is her utter amazement Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
When I enter that woman’s body all I can feel is emotional exhaustion! She had been as guilty of sin as those Pharisees and she received grace – unmerited favor. And just as the Pharisees had been “saved from themselves” by Jesus’ intervention, so she can start over with the chance of a new beginning. “Behold I come to make all things new.” It says somewhere.
He is a mind blowing, giver of grace at every turn.
What will I do with my new grace life? Prepared availability is not arrogance. Do the job God has given – listen for His voice. He brings the audience.
About the World?
There are those who are eager to hear more of what Jesus has to say…be ready.