Two major ideas I got from the sermon today:
First is the religion of condemnation. And I don’t mean a church with a set of religious services but a bunch of people who seem to make it their personal mission to condemn others. The Pharisees dragged a woman who was caught in the act of adultery and presented her to Jesus. They wanted Him to pronounce judgment on her: any judgment, good, bad, whatever. She was a pawn in their endless lust to catch Jesus doing wrong.
They didn’t care if she was deeply humiliated. They didn’t even bother to bring the man along in compliance with the Mosaic law. They just paraded her in public to prove a religious point. They condemned her to incite a controversial comment from Jesus. What is wrong with these people?
And what is wrong with us? When we jump to ridiculous conclusions without checking the facts, we are doing what the Pharisees did to this woman. Do you know that it is the job of the devil to accuse? When you point your finger in accusation, you are helping the devil do his work. In case you haven’t heard, one of the names of Satan is translated as the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12: 10). Stop helping the devil.
Second major idea I learned today is the immeasurable magnitude of the mercy of God. I call this the religion of grace (in stark contrast with the religion of condemnation). Every time I read the story of this adulterous woman, I am always amazed at the eloquent silence of Jesus. I could almost feel the drama of the question, “Woman, where are your accusers?”
Let me tell you one very basic truth: where grace is present, condemnation takes flight. Condemnation could never stand in the face of grace. Never. Not in a million eternities. If there was one person who had every right to accuse the woman, it was Jesus. But He let her go, set her free, and charged her to use her freedom to stop sinning.
When was the last time you let go of a fight even when you were so convinced you were right? Jesus’ challenge that those who had no sin should cast the first stone silenced everyone. I don’t know about you guys but as for me, I’m absolutely sure that I’m out of the stone-throwing business.