"Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more."John 8:10-11
In John chapter 8, we meet a woman accused of adultery. Scribes and Pharisees (I wonder how many? At least 2 scribes and 2 Pharisees which makes 4 men!) lead her to Jesus. Can you imagine her shame, her self-loathing, how dirty she feels when they force her to stand in front of everyone?
"Teacher," they said to Him, "This woman has been caught in the act of adultery. In the law, Moses ordered such women to be stoned. (In the law, Dt. 22:24, both the man and the woman who sinned should be stoned. Where was the man?) What do You have to say?"
I imagine that I am one of the crowd. Do I condemn her and want to spit on her? Do I know her? Perhaps I knew her history and think, "Good! It's about time she gets her comeuppance!" Do I pity her? Do I continue to jostle the crowd to see what happens out of curiosity, in satisfaction, or in revulsion, my eyes glued to the scene like it is a suspenseful thriller?
What did Jesus do? He bent down and started tracing the ground with His finger. How many have attempted to surmise what He wrote? Why didn't John write down what He wrote? The thing is, He wrote, not for a second or a few seconds. He wrote all throughout the persistent questioning of the Scribes and Pharisees. He ignored them and their questions.
Finally He straightened up and said, "Let the man among you who has no sin be the first to cast a stone at her." Then He bent down and wrote on the ground again. Suddenly there is silence but for the shamed shuffling of feet. No one cast a stone, even if Jesus did not say DO NOT cast a stone in direct violation of Moses' law. I am one of the crowd, ashamed to have taken part in this poor woman's humiliation. I leave and do not know what happens next.
I believe when we sin, Jesus wants to meet us one to one. I like to think only the woman knew what Jesus wrote. I am almost certain that John would have interviewed many and asked them if they knew what Jesus wrote. No one knew. But Jesus obviously thought it was important, as He spent much time writing it on the ground. Easily erased after the one it was meant for, read it. When I sin, it is me and Jesus, against a condemning world. But Jesus did not come to condemn me, but to save me (Jn 3:17). When I sin, all I need is to stand, sit, kneel, or prostrate myself in front of Him. He will say, "I don't condemn you. Sin no more." And He will tell me words for me alone, no one else will know.
"Sir, we should like to see Jesus." John 12:21
In the 12th chapter of John, we read of some Greeks who went to Philip with the request to meet Jesus. That is certainly not surprising considering that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead and miracles of healings followed him wherever He went. Today, although there are many miracles, people scoff and are very skeptical. But in Africa, many are coming to know and meet Christ because of Heidi Baker, a Christian missionary since the 1980s, who proclaims God's Word to the poorest of the poor in dusty villages in Africa. 100 % of the deaf in Chiure have been healed, food has multiplied, sight has been restored, and yes, there have been people who were dead and came alive again. It is no wonder that God's Word has spread in that remote forgotten region of the world. Forgotten by men but not by God. He sent Heidi and her husband there so the people of Mozambique could meet and see Him.
The couple began with nothing when they started their ministry to the poor, homeless children in Mozambique. Now they are able to provide water, feeding programs, livelihood, schools. There are now more than 5000 churches in Mozambique.
She introduces Jesus to many because Heidi Baker met Jesus. She heard about Him and was convicted through a Navajo preacher's sharing while on an Indian reservation. Do we really know Jesus? If we do, we should be eager to introduce Him to others!
"For to you I have entrusted my cause!" Jeremiah 11:20
Jeremiah the prophet lived about a hundred years after the prophet Isaiah. Jeremiah's ministry was very frustrating as he was prophesying to a people who did not listen and there did not seem to be any fruit. He was known as the weeping prophet for he was always mourning, mourning for a people who did not heed the words of God. Jeremiah lived very much in a time like ours, where men sought to remove God from the equation of their lives.
It seemed as if God was calling the people back to Him with warnings, cajoling, but people still worshiped idols of their own making! There is corruption everywhere, even in religion. Moral corruption even in the way women dressed or the way men spoke. Dishonesty. Rejection of scripture and God's moral law. "They have gone after other gods to serve them. My chosen people refuse to hear My words." (Jer. 11:9-13)
During Jeremiah's time, people burned incense at the altar of Baal and other idols, and today many of us burn incense at the altar of money, or influence, beauty or other worthless things. We are Christians in name, or on Sundays, or during our meetings at church or service or prayer gatherings.
Let us pray like Jeremiah: "We and our ancestors are guilty of rebelling against you. Don’t forget that you promised to rescue us. Idols can’t send rain, Only you control the rain, so we put our trust in you, the Lord our God." (Jeremiah 14:20-22)
And the Lord will respond to us, as He reassured Jeremiah: "If you return, then will I restore You. And if you extract the precious from the worthless, You will become My spokesman...for I am with you to save you and deliver you." (Jeremiah 15:19-21)
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