John 8:1-11 While 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 began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
When Jesus spoke a word, it was written, but not by Him. So, today, we speak of words we have heard from those who have written, interpreted, or translated that which was copied by those who had before them a copy of those words heard and written by those who listened as He spoke in another language (Hebrew), in the context of another culture (1st century Judea and Israel) and, of course, in another era.
So, now, let’s listen! We must experience the enabling aid of God as Spirit for this to take place. He not only inspires the Word but He interprets it in the context of our lives…so our ears are spiritual ears dealing with reality.
It seems to me that a significant number of folk are afraid of forgiveness, although we have experienced it. The fear is that forgiveness, whether extended by God or a person, just isn’t powerful to be effective (after all, we look at our own abuse of our relationship of forgiveness).
She had avoided the family reunion for a very long time. You may be able to fill your own list of possible “whys.” Reality had become imagined…hard feelings, harsh words (both had grown wonderfully as the years went by). She came and we talked. “She won’t forgive me,” she said. “How will you know unless you demonstrate the faith to risk?” I responded. She went to Mississippi. She returned. The result? Forgiveness is more powerful than we often are willing to believe.
So it was with Jesus. Ask the woman. Ask that woman of today, wrapped in the arms of her forgiving cousin.
Ask me about forgiveness! Can we ask you about forgiveness?
How can we say thanks for things you have done for us
Things so undeserved you’ve given to prove your love for us
The voices of a million angels can’t express our gratitude
All that we are and ever hope to be, we owe it all to you!
(Andre Crouch 1942-2015; revised JCW)