At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 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. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
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. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:2-11
As I was praying, this morning, about what God might want to speak through today’s message – I was met with silence. This used to frustrate me. But I have learned that when God is quiet, it is an opportunity to press in to Him and actually “seek” Him. This always reminds me of one of my favorite verses: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. Proverbs 25:2
So, I picked up the book that I am currently studying and read part of a chapter. It had some great things in it, but I wasn’t feeling like it was something that I was supposed to write about. I went to the Word and read through both Hannah’s (1 Samuel 2:1-10) and Mary’s (Luke 1:46-55) prayers of praise to God. They were beautiful, but I still wasn’t led to write.
Then I remembered that I still hadn’t listened to a sermon that I wanted to hear from last Sunday so, that’s where I went.
And THAT is what I felt led to share.
I have listened to this message, twice. Both times it made me think about all the women I know who do not know Jesus. Not the perceived “organized, woman-oppressing religion” of Christianity…
…but Jesus, Himself.
Jesus is not an institution – unable to interact or love. Nor is He a set of rules, regulations or doctrines that, those who do not know Him, tend to associate Him with. And He isn’t a Pharisee – the religious leaders of Jesus’ day who knew God’s law, but did not know His love.
He is also NOT the embodiment of any man we know. I spent years projecting the characteristics of men who had mistreated, hurt and abandoned me onto this Lord I claimed to believe in – but didn’t entirely trust. Until I encountered my Savior (not religion), face-to-face. In my own encounters with Jesus, He has brought healing to, and has redeemed, those painful moments of mistreatment, hurt and abandonment.
He has also shown me just how He sees me – and rarely does it ever match up with how I see myself. Each encounter that I have with Him draws me to an even deeper understanding of who He is…and how much I mean to Him.
This message, preached by Pastor Moe Diggs of Healing Place Church in Waldorf, MD, echoes the encounters that I have had with Jesus, over and over. Encounters that I long for the women (and men) in my life, who only see Christ through the filter of our broken and fallen world, to experience. The love, joy, peace, worth and empowerment that they seek is just one word away. And that word is simply – Jesus.
He convicts us of our sin…but never condemns.
He covers us.
He calls us out of our sin (because He loves us too much to leave us in our dirt) and He calls us to become who He created us to be.
I encourage you to listen to Encounters with the Christ (just click on the title) with a reflective and open heart.
And that letter that you are struggling with? Surrender it to Jesus and, I promise, He can and will redeem it. I know, because He has done it time and time and time again, for me. And He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34)
Grace and peace to you!
See you, tomorrow!