Television is full of “drama mamas,” whether reality TV stars or celebrities who always seem to be in trouble in the tabloids. (This is not to say that there are not men with drama, but the focus of today’s message is drama among women because our Bible passage is about a woman caught in sin.)
As Jesus speaks and lives out His ministry, He ignites controversy wherever He goes. Though the common people were very glad to hear Him, the authoritative religious leaders of the day did not want to be challenged or to submit to the authority of Jesus. Therefore, they constantly sought to catch Him in a lie to accuse, arrest, and have Him killed.
In today’s passage from John 8, the self-righteous religious leaders bring to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery.
Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. John 8:3-6
What is the motivation of our hearts when we respond negatively to those caught in sin or self-inflicted crises?
This woman is certainly guilty, but this story is not as much about the sin of the woman than about the critical hearts of those who bring her for judgment. What is the motivation of our hearts when we respond negatively to those caught in sin or self-inflicted crises? Pastor Miles suggested that our criticism of others reveals the broken relationships we have with God, as self righteousness and arrogance are the exact opposite of what Jesus would want from us.
1. We are more committed to proving how much we know versus who we know.
We are more concerned about being right than doing right.
Remember that without Jesus, our own terrible sin remains, as none of us is without fault. When we come to church each week, our focus should not simply be gaining more information to store away in our minds. We need to let the Gospel penetrate and transform our hearts. The Gospel is not information, after all, but the person of Jesus Christ, so we should never focus on how good and righteous we think we are (because we are not) or how much we know, but on knowing Jesus better and better.
2. We believe that highlighting the sins of someone else will distract God from our own sin.
We think that highlighting someone else’s faults will make us look better, but actually, God is examining the self-righteousness and hypocrisy in our own hearts.
When the accusers bring the woman to Jesus and highlight her shortcomings, what does He do?
But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. (v.6)
Jesus remains quiet ant lets them keep talking. (The more you talk, the more you expose your ignorance to your own sin!)
So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (v. 7)
If you think pointing out someone else’s faults will make you look better than you are, then you don’t understand the forgiveness of God. You don’t need to make yourself look better for God to love and value you. You can’t earn His forgiveness or pay it back, and when you have that forgiveness, He expects you to share it with others rather than to condemn them. If God wants to reach out and save the world and you are bent on condemning the world, there is a disconnect between God’s heart and yours.
3. We are more interested in breaking broken people versus healing broken people.
We are all guilty of sin, which separates us from God, but He loves us to the point of His own sacrificial death. Look what Jesus says to the guilty woman.
Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman,
where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11
Jesus is not defending or condoning the woman’s sinful behavior, but rather extending His love and mercy to her. As Christians, we are called to do the same in His name.
Can you humble yourself enough to allow God to speak His words through you?
When was the last time you had that kind of conversation with someone? Can you humble yourself enough to allow God to speak these words through you? Or will you rather delight in kicking someone while they are down?
Think twice about how you talk about people and how you love people. Jesus calls us to remove any perception of self-righteousness and snobbery. Today we are called to repent from thinking critical thoughts about others and recognize the great forgiveness that God has extended to us.
When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Matthew 9:12-13