disciples heart

Interacting Well Part 8

This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “Interacting Well”.

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Scripture Reading

John 8:12 (NIV)
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

In this series we are talking about interacting well. Loving God all in and loving our neighbor as ourselves. We are looking at some encounters that Jesus has since He is our model for life and ministry. Jesus is humanity as God intended it to be. We are also looking at the concepts of doing what He did, by thinking like He thought, seeing like He saw, serving like He served, and loving like He loved. Last week we looked at Jesus encounter with Nicodemus in John 3. Today, we are going to look at an encounter Jesus has in John 8 with a woman caught in adultery.

John 8:1-6 (NIV)
1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.

1. What was Jesus writing?

The Bible doesn’t say so there is no way of knowing. People have offered lots of suggestions, but that is all they are. Some say He was writing down the sins of the accusers, some say He was writing the Ten Commandments, and on and on.

John 8:7-12 (NIV)
7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

People that are all in for God, trying to love their neighbors as themselves, following the example of Jesus, have the light of life, not the darkness of legalism.
Let’s look at how the established religious community treated this woman, and how Jesus treats her. The Pharisees demonstrate the darkness of legalism while Jesus demonstrates the light of grace.

2. The darkness of legalism

a. doesn’t care about people (cares about the rules)

John 8:3 (NIV)
3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group

b. is selective

John 8:3a (NIV)
3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.

Last time I checked it takes two to commit adultery. Where was the man caught in the act?

c. focuses on the punishment

John 8:4-5 (NIV)
4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

Legalism still is all about the punishment. It likes to tell people that they are going to hell. It doesn’t point them to a God who loves them that He made a way for them to have eternal life with Him, it just points at their sin and tells them that they deserve to die. While there is some basic truth in what they are saying, because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and the wages of sin is death, this legalistic, morally superior acting, finger pointing message, is not what Jesus does in these encounters. And the reality is, that because He is the only one without sin, He is the only one who could have thrown a stone, and He does not. He demonstrates the light of grace.

3. The light of grace

a. cares about people first and foremost (not about the rules)

John 8:10 (NIV)
10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

After everyone else had walked away, Jesus is still there and He ministers to this woman, who had been so humiliatingly placed in front of the critical finger pointing crowd. Imagine this woman, embarrassed, scared, thinking she was about to be stoned to death, and Jesus, standing next to her and saying, “look, they are all gone now, and no one has condemned you”.

b. understands that we are all sinners

John 8:7 (NIV)
7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

None of us is without sin, so none of us should be throwing stones or pointing fingers.

c. offers hope of a righteous life

John 8:11 (NIV)
11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Jesus isn’t taking sin lightly, or saying that we don’t need to deal with it, He just loves people so that they can change. If you don’t love people, you will never be able to help them to leave their life of sin and have the hope of a life with God forever.

This encounter shows us again the importance of seeing the beauty of people’s potential and being a people of mercy and grace, a people of salt and light to a lost and hurting world.

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