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One False View and One Right View of Jesus

January 7, 2013

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, 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?” 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. 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.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 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. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]
(John 8:1-11 ESV)

False View

In this story, the false view of Jesus (and people for that matter) comes from the Pharisees. In an effort to test Jesus, they bring a woman to him who was caught in adultery to see if Jesus would be “soft on sin” or if he would he would uphold the Mosaic law which says, “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both…shall surely be put to death.” (Deut. 22:22) This is a good question, however the Pharisees have missed the point of Jesus coming into the world. What Jesus wrote on the ground that day is a mystery to us and one day we can ask him exactly what it was. It is apparent, however, that it probably made the Pharisees see more clearly their hidden, secret, unexposed sin in light of a holy God. They had exposed a sinner while they too were guilty of breaking the law in many ways. We parade around John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son,” and often forget verse. 17, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” To condemn this woman would undermine the the very purpose for which the Father sent the Son. What the Pharisees should be doing is looking to their own sin. Jesus charges us that we are always to take the log out of our own eye before we can see the speck of dust in someone else’s eye (Matt. 7:3). Consider your own sin before your debate the sin of another. Also, instead of dragging this woman in front of Jesus (this hardly passes for good pastoring!), the Pharisees should have welcomed this woman in as a sinner in need of love and mercy. They should have been like their Father in heaven, who is kind to the ungrateful and the evil (Luke 6:40).

Right View

While the woman probably would not have chosen this method of exposure, she experienced the grace of God like never before. Think about her position…she was not only an adulteress, but she was caught in the act. I will spare the details. She was then handed over to the religious officials who were supposed to represent God to her (although they did an awful job!). Then, those religious officials made the decision to leave the man behind and cast the blame on her. How horrible! A mutual crime gets pegged to one person. Then she is cast in front of Jesus. We are not sure if she believed he was the Messiah or not before this encounter, but she certainly knew God’s grace afterward. Having been humiliated with exposed, socially unacceptable sin; Jesus cared for and defended this woman. How many of us live with a view of God that runs scared with our hiddenness when Jesus sees all our sin, knows the sin we are unaware of, and lavishes grace on us. By the end of this story, this woman had at least one right view of Jesus…he does not condemn. His grace is sufficient. He defends the poor in spirit.

What view of Jesus do you hold? Is he like you in that he looks down on sinners and puffs himself up with pride? Is he angry at you because of your hiddenness? Come clean, confess your pride and relinquish control of your shame. Jesus has borne both on the cross for you.

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